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.

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Tropical Cyclones – Then and Now

3 09 2016

History does repeat itself.

Even though 2015 was in El Nino mode and 2016 is in La Nina mode, there seems to be an eery similarity in the tropic cyclone pattern in the northeastern Pacific.  Late August/early September 2016  is looking a lot like the same period in 2015.  Check out this map of just a couple storms being tracked by Surfline’s HurricaneTrak.

090216 hurricanetrak 2

What isn’t shown is the disturbance west of Acapulco that may just be enough to jack up the waves for the 2016 Hurley Pro at Trestles and Swatch Women’s Pro.  Here is the National Weather Service advisory from the National Hurricane Center.

090216 nws hurricanes

Could be some fun contests in 2016, much like the contests in 2015.





Hurley Pro — The Wave Magnet

3 09 2016

It never fails.  When the Hurley Pro shows up at Lowers, so do the waves.  Last year, Mick Fanning walked away with the win.  The waves weren’t perfect, but there were waves.  In fact, they were some of the best waves of the summer.

Here is the link to the Surfline forecast for the contest as it appeared on the WSL website last year (2015).

Lully, but Fun, SW Swell Fri for the Hurley Pro / Swatch Women’s Pro

This year, the 2016 summer can only be called the “forgettable summer” of waves.  But, as it turns out, the waves seem to be on the way for the 2016 Hurley Pro at Trestles and the Swatch Women’s Pro, with a waiting period of September 7 through 18, 2016.  Of course!

Lowers is expected to be a magnet for fun size waves during the first few days of the waiting period.  A sizeable storm in the South Pacific is generating a groundswell while some late cyclones are potentially forming off Mexico.

So, get your cameras ready to shoot and collect your favorite keepsake poster for signatures by the pro’s.  It’s gonna be another fun celebrity party at Lowers over the next couple weeks as the pro’s roll into town.

And, there will be waves.  There always are. Because, like the pro’s, the Hurley Pro has a magnetic personality.

 





Trestles Surf Report — September 7, 2015

8 09 2015

Wow!  What a day!

It started with a full parking lot by 5:45 am.  Followed by full Cristianitos Road street parking by 6:00 am.

Everyone’s expectations were mostly kept pretty low for getting waves to oneself on this likely the most crowded surf day of the year.  Fortunately, there was a substantial swell that provided some size.  Unfortunately, at most tides there were lulls that allowed everyone to reload,

Bike Traffic on the Busiest Day of the Year -- Uppers

Bike Traffic on the Busiest Day of the Year — Uppers

meaning the crowd was not spread out temporally (ie, the surfers who caught the previous set of waves have enough time to paddle back out to the lineup before the next set).

First stop:  Lowers.

There were at least 100 people in the “slot” at Lowers, from the guys acting as “indicators” on the outside to the groms on the inside.  It was possible to get some boomers to yourself, but you had to paddle for a lot of party waves first.  Warm water, mens and womens pros sprinkled through the crowd, and lots of competitive juice flowing through everyone.  Got about 10 waves, then paddle, paddle, paddle to  . . .

Second stop:  Uppers

Even more people, though they were spread out from Barbed Wires to the Bay.  Definitely some sneakers coming through.  Swing, stab, and go.  It was also a little more consistent than Lowers this time.  Lots of waves, but lots of surfers.  Nice long rights, with lots of speed and energy.  Sometimes the walls would gobble you up.

That’s the Trestles report in a nutshell.  But, there were waves everywhere along the coast.  I  thought Kayo was crazy peddling back to his car at 6:00 am, mumbling something about checking out Doho.  Looking at the Doheny camera this evening, now I see what he was talking about.  Check out this report from Surfline; only “good” rating on the coast.  Hmmmm.

Source: Surfline Doheny Beach camera/report

Source: Surfline Doheny Beach camera/report

Everyone is getting pumped up for the 2015 Hurley Pro at Trestles, with its window being from Wednesday, September 9 through September 20.

Parking will be interesting.  For those planning to attend the event, you likely won’t be able to find parking at the Trestles lot near Carl’s Jr.  It will be full by about 6:30 am at the latest due to the swell.  So, just follow the event signage to the official parking area.  That will work best for everyone, surfers and spectators alike.

With that said, do plan on attending the event.  The lineup is incredible this year for both men and women.  And, it looks like there will be waves throughout the entire window, though they may vary in height a bit.  Weather is perfect as well.  What an idyllic place to enjoy some of the best surf and surfers in the world.

Welcome to the Crowd, where respect is mutual and expected.

That’s the report for this week.  Surf’s up!





September to Remember

4 09 2015

That’s what we are all hoping for.

Since June when we called it in our “June Gloom” post, the Summer of 2015 was not much to talk about.  A lot of low energy, small surf with a few single-day, mid-sized tropical swells.

The last week has been nothing but chaotic at Trestles. Multi-directional simultaneous fat swells, with heavy south wind most of the day, has at least made for some fun skateboard ramps.  The other day at Lowers there were three very distinct swells in the water.  Every wave was different from the last.  WNW, SSW, SSE.  We weren’t complaining because it was head high, but it was just odd.

Here is the overview from Surfline’s HurricaneTrak today.  Note the multiple tropical and extra-tropical swells in the northern Pacific, along with a lot of swell activity emanating from the southern Pacific.  We are supposed to get a fairly good run of swell over the next week, but it all looks a bit chaotic, to say the least.  Superimpose water in the high seventies (F) and it is just a bit odd.

Source: Surfline HurricaneTrak; September 3, 2015

Source: Surfline HurricaneTrak; September 3, 2015

One surfer said he surfed 56th Street in Newport on Monday.  One minute, the WNW waves were washing from north to south across the groin, the next minute the SSW dropped a bomb of a wall across the entire Echo Bay.  The WNW felt like a full-on winter swell, but nobody in the water had a wetsuit on.  Odd!

Everyone is talking about the “Godzilla El Nino” that is predicted by some forecasters.  Surfers are pulling out their “step ups” and watching the buoy’s.

Will it be a “Phantom El Nino” instead?

Maybe El Nino is already having its effect — chaos, warm water, and unpredictability.  Or, maybe that is just the climate change that some say doesn’t exist.

Regardless of whether (or weather) the big surf shows up, this is still likely to be a “September to Remember.”

Oh, and as always, some fun waves show up just in time for the pro’s as they fly in for the Hurley Pro at Lowers.  Unfortunately, it looks like it then flattens out when the competition window opens up from September 9 thru 20.  Hopefully, they can get in the water earlier as opposed to later.

Source: Surfline South Orange County Regional Forecast; September 3, 2015

Source: Surfline South Orange County Regional Forecast; September 3, 2015

With that said, the National Weather Service has predicted a busy tropical storm season for the northern Pacific.  So, maybe something significant will pop onto the radar in the next couple weeks.  Last year, Hurricane Marie created Big Wednesday on August 27, 2014.  This year, we are still on the K’s, with Tropical Storm Kevin sending some of the waves next week.  It’s not inconceivable for us to roll into the M’s by September 15 or so.  Could there be a Hurricane Maria waiting in the wings to provide some drone fodder on our So Cal shorelines for the contest?

Laird, how’s the Malibu Pier look from underneath at 20 knots?  Got some SUP’s to share with some pro friends?

Anyway, make sure you stop by the Hurley Lowers Pro and welcome all those world travelers to the Crowd.

Let’s make this a September to Remember.





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.





Kelly Is Swell at the 2010 Hurley Pro

19 09 2010

Kelly Slater pulled off a huge win at the 2010 Hurley Pro.

Looks like he is on his way to the first-ever tenth world title by a professional surfer.

Not only did Kelly win it, the competition was tight among the 36 competitors.  Here are the results as reported by Surfline.  A lot of great scores in a lot of great waves.

Now back to a little peace and quiet on Sunday morning.  Hopefully, the Crowd can get back to normal.