Where Did Everybody Go?

16 05 2015

Today was one of those days.  Eery, but I’m not complaining.

When I pulled up to the parking lot awhile after dawn, it was raining and cold for the middle of May.  There were very few cars , and even fewer people, in the parking lot.  I turned off the radio and was debating as to whether to just doze off for awhile, wrapped in a beach towel, or sneak between rain drops down to the beach.  But, I resisted the urge to snooze.

Somehow, I convinced myself to pull on my wetsuit while crammed in the driver’s seat of my Honda Civic to avoid the rain.  It took a few minutes of contortions, but I did it.  I hesitantly opened the door and crawled over to the trunk to unfurl my portable folding bike.  Everything got soaked.  The second thoughts were pouring in, but I got it all snapped into place and inserted the seat post, which has my board rack permanently attached.  Then, I had to work my way over to the passenger seat and get my board out of its bag without letting the sky flush into the car.

When I got done with this little exercise, I looked up to see a couple other surfers who had done the same thing.  We traded comments about how silly all the other regulars were for not “braving the elements” this morning.  But we also acknowledged the irony of our own petty thoughts of having to get wet to go surfing.  Hmmm.

What I am getting to is the fact that despite the classic overhead waves and offshore wind, almost nobody from the Crowd showed up this morning.  There were only five people in the water for about an hour after daybreak.  By the time I pedaled down the trail, there were still only ten.  There were so many great waves it was like our own private surf resort.  Very unusual.  But, it wasn’t just the rain.

Yesterday, predicted to be the best day of the swell, it blew out severely by 7:00 am.  And, Surfline predicted even worse conditions today.  Fortunately, the low pressure system that dumped rain on us suddenly swung south of Trestles instead of north.  So, instead of heavy onshore winds, we got light offshore winds for most of the day.  It caught most of the Crowd by surprise.  Very unusual.

I don’t even have any photos to show what it was like because it was too rainy for cameras and everyone would rather be bagging barrels instead of shooting photos.  So, you’ll just have to take our word for it.

Pure luck.  It doesn’t happen often, but this time it was in my favor.  Keep your eye on those wind models this time of year.  Your turn can be next.





Summer 2015 Is Here — Or At The Wedge, That Is

4 05 2015

Ok, all you Wedgees out there. Yes, summer has hit early this year.   And, it’s only May 4th!

You can see by this screenshot from Surfline that the Wedge in Newport Beach has some real waves. Maybe not Puerto Escondido’s 25 to 35 feet, but real all the same.

Clear the beach. Set at the Wedge!

Clear the beach. Set at the Wedge!

Everyone under the age of 30 should surf it big on a short board once in his/her life just to remind you that you are alive, at least til you hit the bottom. The cross wave that sweeps across the screen (not shown) from left to right, has a habit of sucking the bottom right out of the wave and wedging the top into the sky an extra 30%. Thus, the name the wedge. Making it down the face on your feet is glorious!  Not making it, not so much. Usually it involves some sort of back breaking arch or pile driving header.  There is nothing like peeking over the lip, thinking you’re in, then realizing you needed much more board speed.  It’s not just normal rolling wave action.  The surging wedge action actually increases the water surface speed up the wave’s face under your board faster than you can accelerate, leaving you behind.

Makes the 6′ to 10′ waves at our favorite Uppers look like child’s play. But, at least we don’t put the local lifeguards in danger.

Spencer Purdy and all your friends at the Wedge–you show us what real surfing spills and thrills are all about. Rock on!

[Written from Tokyo–first Uppers action I’ve missed in person in a long time–so, take a couple for me.  Enjoy!]