New WSL Format — the Scrum

14 09 2016

In what can only be seen as a wink and nod to its fiercest critics, the World Surfer League (WSL) has adopted a new contest format for its cadre of professional wave riders.  It’s called the “scrum” format.

For years critics, who are also, oddly enough, usually also fans of professional surf contests, have complained (or whined) of organized events that only test participants in a rarefied environment.  Two to three contestants surf against each other in perfect waves (sometimes) while the beach is completely closed to any other surfers.  The critics wonder how well these contestants would fare if they had to surf in crowded, competitive conditions “like the rest of us.”

So, here is how the scrum works.

At 4:30 am, all 34 pro contestants simultaneously receive a text message on their phones telling them the scrum is on, along with the wind and buoy reports.  They must then race to the Cristianitos parking lot, drop their bikes, and ride like crazy down the trail to the beach.  Those who happen to live closeby can ride their bikes directly to the beach.  But, no headlights allowed for anyone.

There is only a single 3-hour heat, all in.  Last man (this is the men’s contest) standing wins.  They can bring their best game faces, but the rules are the local rules.  No such thing as priority.  You’ve gotta earn it through tactics learned through years of experience.  Mad-dogging, blocking, shoulder hopping, back paddling, rail bumping; it’s all legal, if you can get away with it.

Some of the new contestants will try to work  their way to the peak by giving a few set waves to the veterans, hoping for some scraps or nuggets.  They may even try chatting it up with the vets, but there is not much hope for the nice guy approach in the scrum.

In some cases, disputes over priority may have to be settled on the beach by individuals or “teams.”

Longboards are allowed, but are generally discouraged.

That is the scrum.  Sound familiar?  Here is a photo, courtesy of the Surfline Lower Trestles live stream. Scrum in progress.  Anybody keeping score?

scrum

We hope you enjoyed this fictional story about a zany idea that has no basis in fact or any relationship to any real surf industry persons or organizations.





We Gotta Represent — Trestles

22 07 2015

Vote now!  That is, vote for your favorite Trestles photos in the California Coastal Commission’s photo contest.

Vote by July 31, 2015!

To make it easy, here are three photos to vote for.  They were taken/submitted by your own TrestlesSurfCrowd.com author, Norris Brandt.  Just click on the link below each photo to go to the voting page of mycoastalphoto.com, the Coastal Commission photo contest site.

 

Trestleglyphs

Trestleglyphs

Click this link to vote:  Trestleglyphs

Secret Spot -- Trestles

Secret Spot — Trestles

Click this link to vote:  Secret Spot — Trestles

Lagunita de Trestles

Lagunita de Trestles

Click this link to vote:  Lagunita de Trestles

 

To see the rest of the photos submitted statewide, click on Coastal Commission photo contest.

Remember that more public recognition ofTrestles as the best beach on the coast can ultimately lead to more protection for our favorite surf spot.  So, go vote with the Crowd!





Ironman 70.3 Oceanside — Access to Trestles Impaired

27 03 2015
Sign at the Top of the Trestles Trail

Sign at the Top of the Trestles Trail

Sign, sign, everywhere a sign.  Hope you saw this one.

The Ironman 70.3 California Oceanside is being run on Saturday, March 28, 2015.  The course includes our Trestles Bike Trail.  The Ironman cyclists will be riding south to north and will turn east at Cristianitos.  It doesn’t seem imaginable that they would close down all access to Trestles for this 7:00 am to noon event.  Click on the .pdf map below.

oceanside70 3 bike 2015 tbt 1-1

Indeed they must at least allow access down the dirt path on the east side of the freeway and across the bike path where they cross at the bottom of the hill.  We’ll see.

There could be an insurrection if they block all access with a south swell expected to peak on Saturday.  But, then again, for those with the fortitude to get there some other way, it could be the most uncrowded day of the season.  We’ll see.

Let’s put on our most cooperative demeanors.  Remember we may need their help the next time the Tollroad comes up.





Lowers at Its Worst

23 03 2015

Need I say more?

Take a close look.  Surfline has gone, at least temporarily, to a live HD camera for Lower Trestles.  Note the rolling time stamp below the video frame when you pull it up yourself.

I’m not sure if this is good or bad.  Will it mean more surfers see an uncrowded morning, load up their bikes and race down the trail to load up the “slot” on the point.  Or, will it result in a sort of “self-correcting” whereby surfers see it is already crowded and head to a different beach,  preventing an over-saturated “super crowd.”  Regardless, it feels like a bit of sanctity may be gone with a live feed.

At least we don’t yet have a live feed at our favorite Uppers — yet.

By the way, note in the photo that there is absolutely nobody in the water or on the beach at the moment of the screenshot–at 8:23 in the morning.  It proves my assumption wrong that Trestles always has people in the water even when there are no waves.

At least the honey dipper driver gets the beach to him/herself.  I guess that’s why they are No. 1 in the No. 2 business.

UPDATE:  The Lowers camera seems to be a permanent feature.  And, now Uppers has its own live feed.  To be honest, it can be of some help.  The other day,  I noticed Uppers was sheet glass through the noon hour.  I hopped on my bike and caught some clean, head high, buttery waves for a couple hours, with only about eight people out. Then, the wind picked up.  Not sure I would have caught it without the camera.





Hurley Pro 2014 Results

16 09 2014

Got your attention!

What a great contest this year–the Hurley Pro men’s surf contest at Lower Trestles, California.  A rich mix of local talent, all the greatest professional surfers in the world, and a diverse mix of surfers from countries not represented in the past.  Well done!

But the results that are tough on the local crew are the extra people, cars and trash that come with such a top-notch, well-attended event.

People and cars jam the road to Lowers.

People and cars jam the road to Lowers.

Trash from a disrupted  camper.

Trash from a disrupted camper.

Visiting surfers at Uppers

Visiting surfers at Uppers

Now you know we love crowds here at TrestlesSurfCrowd.com, but we’re not sure how much more Uppers can handle.  Surfrider Foundation and so many more won the big fight (at least for now) to protect our jewel of the coast from a new concrete toll road, but we all need to do our part to show how  much we each value it by minimizing our footprint when we visit.

There’s not a lot we can do to minimize visitors, nor should we.  Uppers is for the people.  But,  let’s leave it cleaner than we found it.  And,  respect each other’s enjoyment  of the surf.  It’s all about the stoke after all.

So, let’s keep the Hurley Pro results focused on the stellar professionals, not impacts on the environment or our brothers and sisters pushing over the lip next to us.

Surf  on and enjoy The Crowd!





What is the Surfline Effect?

18 07 2014
This is the Surfline Effect!

This is the Surfline Effect!

It is that relatively new phenomenon whereby on the peak day of any clean swell the Upper Trestles Surf Crowd blossoms.  Can you say Party Wave?

Now understand that as a scientist/engineer who got the top A in his biometerology class, I love Surfline’s wave and weather models.  My wife has to ask why I spend so much time with a model named LOLA.  I would venture to say that LOLA is the most significant breakthrough that has come along in wave forecasting for surfers over the last few decades.  As a model, it filters out most of the extraneous computer garbage to give us clean, simple forecasts weeks in advance of approaching swells.  And, it is mostly dead on accurate.

However, there is LOLA’s relative from the dark side, LOWLIFE.  It is the simultaneous rise in surfer population at Upper Trestles whenever a swell’s peak is predicted.  If Surfline says the swell peak overnight on Tuesday, you can bet the parking lot will be full by daybreak on Wednesday morning.

Reading my posts, you know that I welcome all surfers to join the Crowd, but there is this phenomenon we have to deal with nowadays — “The Surfline Effect.”  Today, I counted 12 surfers taking off on the same wave.  That is probably not a sustainable or safe situation.

A good surfing ethics question came up in the water.  It seems to have a simple answer, but it does make you think.  The question is:  “Is it okay to take off on someone who took off on someone else (who in today’s crowd actually took off on someone else and so on and son on)?”

I’ll just say “Let’s be careful out there.”

And, let’s stick to the Surfing Rules for Upper Trestles, which I posted the other day.

By the way, there are some measures that can be taken to counteract the Surfline Effect, but like the Central Coast secret spot location, I’m not talkin’.

And, to all our favorite forecasters at Surfline, don’t let the Surfline Effect change your good work.  We are now hooked and can’t go through the withdrawals if you decided to shut down.  We just can’t go back to the old days of showing up at the beach each morning to see if we are going to surf that day.





Tribute To A Hero

13 07 2014

On July 6, 2014, Southern California lost Ben Carlson, one of its heroes to the churning waters off 16th Street in Newport Beach.

Today, the community thanked Ben with what has to be one of the largest “paddle outs” ever.

Paddle Out for Ben Carlson -- 7/13/14

Waiting in Line for the Paddle Out for Ben Carlson — 7/13/14 — note the Crowd on the pier

Most people involved probably never met Ben, but they respect, admire and deeply appreciate his dedication that drew him into the “washing machine” that day to save a body surfer’s life.

Without going on, trying to act like I know more than I do about Ben or the situation, I just want to say thank you to Ben, his family, and all the lifeguards that serve day in and day out with little thanks.  Thank you!

Surfers and lifeguards (many of whom are surfers) have always had an interesting relationship, swimming side by side in heavy surf at times.  We as surfers need to say thank you to lifeguards each time we see them.  We never know when they will be dragging us to shore to give us another chance at life.





San Onofre’s Trestles — The Countdown to Closure?

12 06 2014

There may not be a crowd at Trestles after 2021.

Many times we forget that Trestles, even Uppers, is part of the larger San Onofre State Beach, which is mistakenly believed by many to be in Orange County (actually it is in San Diego County).

The 2,900-plus-acre State Beach was created in 1971 through a 50-year lease from Camp Pendleton to the State of California. Verbal history says that President Nixon, who spent his holidays at the Cotton mansion at Cotton’s Point (referred to as the Western White House), actually lobbied the Department of the Navy to allow the arrangement. More can be found at this link.

Prior to 1971, surfers traveled beyond the barbed wire at Cotton’s (now called “Barbed Wires”) at their own risk. There are the stories of Marines firing in the air to convince trespassing surfers to come to the beach to turn themselves in. Others will tell you of the times they lost their boards (pre-leash days) only to have them picked up by the MP’s as they washed up on shore. When you went in to claim your board, you were automatically arrested, driven to the Provost’s office at Church, and fined. If you were under 18, your parents got a call. It depended on the officer as to whether you would be taking your board home with you.

In 1970, as an experiment, the Marines allowed the State to open the long bluffs portion of the beach (commonly referred to as “Trails”) to the public, but just for a few weeks in the summer. Fortunately, everyone behaved and the arrangement was made permanent. Interesting side story, during that short temporary opening, fishermen on the beach pulled a lot of great fish from the shallow reef, because the area had not been fished in decades. The following year, the lease was approved and the gates were opened to the public.

Today, we mostly don’t think Trestles could ever be closed to surfers again. But, the lease is up in 2021. It should be interesting to watch the Navy’s maneuvers over the next few years. Will the Crowd thin?





Trestleglyphs — It’s All Art

16 10 2011

"The Southbound Wall" Under the Freeway

Who says the State is out of money?

Caltrans cleaned their canvas this summer.  They spent multiple days with multiple graffiti control crews (painters) with truck-mounted compressors spraying the concrete support walls under Interstate 5 with cement gray paint.  They probably thought their show of force finally silenced the voice of surfdom.

Not so.  It just provided clearer voices in the form of spray paint, as evidenced on the wall under the southbound lanes.  Pretty classy artwork.

The Northbound Wall Support

More recently, multiple people added some layers to the northbound wall.  Not as artistic; more of a message than art.

The walk into Trestles continues to be the canvas forum for writings of all sorts.  Just don’t spread the paint to the natural environment, please.  The art is much more enjoyable on flat surfaces.  And, it’s probably more effective getting out your message than Occupy Trestles would be.





Red by Day; Blue by Night

29 09 2011

Sounds like some new breed of shape-shifting politician.  But that is not the subject here.

Red Tide by Day -- Source: http://www.signonsandiego.com

Have you noticed all the red tide that showed up about a month ago?  It’s all those pesky little dinoflagellates that hang out in the surf zone and sometimes a little further out.  We won’t be going into a microbiology lesson in this post.  We are really here to marvel at what happens at night.

The San Diego Union-Tribune published some photos that show what happens.  At night,  the protists all turn left in unison and explode in a bioluminescent cloud of blue light.  Check out this photo from Torrey Pines the other night.

Blue by Night -- Source: http://www.signonsandiego.com

For more dazzling pic’s, here is the link to the Union-Tribune article.

Just enough light to open up night surfing to the masses.  We may need to start up Trestles Surf Crowd at Night.

I just realized this may be just what we need in Sacramento and DC.  The dinoflagellates can show our stuck-in-reverse ideologues how to change colors from time to time to get some real work done.