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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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.





Nike 6.0 Lowers Pro This Week–A Different Expression Session

1 05 2010

Some bad news and some good news.

The contest moves in on Tuesday.   (http://nike6lowerspro.com/)  That’s the bad news–not too bad.  Just means the Lowers Crowd will need to share some water time.  Shouldn’t be too bad for Uppers; just some out-of-town visitors.  As Tim Elsner says, surf early!

The good news is that Nike 6.0’s Safe Trestles contestants get to unveil their design submissions.  So, even if the surf doesn’t show, it’s still a great opportunity to let your mind wander a bit, following some of the creativity that is sure to spark some great ideas.  Here’s an example:  http://openarchitecturenetwork.org/projects/trestles_template-8096.

Check out the incredible jury (http://openarchitecturenetwork.org/node/6417/jury).  Some I know personally; others only by reputation.  I think we can trust their judgment to protect our sacred place.

The other good news is that Nike 6.0 is trying to be sensitive to the special nature of Trestles.  Nice to know they aren’t just air-dropping in, closing the beach, leaving their trash, and posting the results.  Thanks Nike 6.0.

Read the rest of this entry »





Was That Tom Curren at Trestles Today?

22 02 2010

In that last few yards of the bike ride this morning, slowing down to go under the trestle, I looked over to see a guy walking and sipping his cup of jo.  We traded “good mornings.”  I thought “Man, that guy looks like Tom Curren.”  Looking down the beach, I saw the event tents and realized I probably wasn’t just seeing things.

WSA Event Tents -- February 21, 2010

The way I figure it, Tom had dropped off his youngest son Patrick, then went to park the car.  This was a WSA event.  I didn’t find Patrick on the ratings chart, but that’s my best guess.

Tom–welcome back to join the Crowd!  You’re always welcome to jump in with us.

As for you WSA chargers–sorry the waves were a little disappointing, but hopefully you snagged a couple of these rare waves.

Rare peak shows for the WSA event