Great White Sharks at Trestles — Again

6 08 2015

Today’s surf session was mostly forgettable, except . . .

About 9:00 am, we were all looking outside for that infrequent set wave when several of us got a good, fairly closeup view of this:

Yep, an  8′ great white shark breaching about 25 yards outside the lineup.  The author was lucky enough to be the person closest to the event.  It appeared to be jumping for one of those large warm water fish that have been hanging out on the Southern California coast for the last year or so.

This photo was clipped from a travel site.  Nobody got a photo of our shark.  But, we got pretty much the same view as this photo, except the shark was completely out of the water,  with its spine perfectly vertical.  It was definitely a shark, not a dolphin.

According to some articles, sharks breach, completely jumping out of the water, to surprise their prey with a speedy ascent from the bottom.  We were all just glad we weren’t the prey in this case.

Our first reaction was “Was that what I think it was?” followed by “Yeah, let’s get out of here quick!”  As it turned out, one of the bigger sets of the morning was just rolling through.  So, several of us seemed to reach the beach simultaneously.  We all looked at each other quizzically and decided it was definitely not time to go in.  After all, we are always surrounded by sharks of some variety.  We just got to see this one up close and personal.

This one may, or may not, have been the same 8′ shark that got hooked and released at San Clemente Pier a few weekends ago.  And, the media have been filled with So Cal sharks stories over the last year.  Trestles was even closed a couple months ago when the lifeguards thought the shark(s) were potentially aggressive.  Still, nothing more than a nose bump for a couple surfers.  The experts say these juveniles are more afraid of us than we are of them.  Some of us are just wondering what we will think when they are no longer juveniles and take us for sea lions.

Sweet dreams tonight.  Supposedly more swell on the way tomorrow.  You might want to wear less black wetsuit and stop imitating seals.

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.

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.

San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS)

16 03 2011

Trestles and SONGS

First it was the earthquake.  Then, it was a tsunami.  Now it’s nuclear disaster.  How much more can our Pacific take?  Not to mention the deep pain for our poor friends and family in Northern Japan?

The Trestles Surf Crowd is entwined with all these issues, especially the tsunami and nuclear parts.

Looking at this aerial photo (courtesy of Google Earth), you can see what Trestles surfers live with everyday.  Sure our best neighbor, SONGS,  is taking center stage again in the seemingly never-ending nuclear energy controversy.  Sure we want to make sure Edison and SDG&E are doing all they can to protect us and our home away from home.

But, if you ask most Trestles surfers what they think of surfing next to a major nuclear plant, you’ll likely get the same response.  No big deal.  Life is all about managing the risks.  If we were afraid of every risk, we would never get to enjoy that epic triple overhead day or that shallow grinding barrel.  Just deal with the risks.

We’re not cavalier, just not willing to stop living; let’s take it one day at a time.

Can somebody pass me the iodine?

And, don’t forget to contribute what you can where you can toward the Japan relief work.  What goes around comes around — the earth that is, literally.

Tsunami Damage in Newport Beach?

11 03 2011

Got your attention!  No damage to report here.

It seems like every year we all learn a little more about tsunami’s and what they can do to low lying beach areas.

Inspiration Point, Corona del Mar, 8:45 am, 3/11/11

So, always in the pursuit of learning, I thought I’d stop by my local tsunami-watching area after the 8.9 earthquake in Japan today — Inspiration Point in Corona del Mar (Newport Beach, California).  I was there when the first surge hit the beach (or so it seemed).  I obviously wasn’t the only one there.   There had to be at least 100 fellow gawkers.  We had the all-girl (30 somethings) running club, the homeless guy with the guitar, all sorts of tourists, dogs, and construction workers.

So, what happened?

If you read my posting on tsunami physics, you know the answer.

Over a few minutes, you could see the water advance up the beach a foot or so (vertically).  The tide was supposed to be at its lowest point, so the rise would not be expected.  The second photo shows the high tide markings from overnight.  The water advanced to about 8 to 10 feet (horizontally) from that high mark.  So, yes we all got to see a tsunami, but none of the rest of the crowd seemed to notice.  I guess they all need to check out next time an earthquake happens.

Tide/tsunami levels at Corona del Mar

So, the real show wasn’t the tsunami.  It was the tsunami watchers.  We had the typical silicone-enhanced coffee-sippers, the retired engineers waiting for their next cruise ship, the construction workers stopping by on the way to Home Depot, the spoiled 2-year-olds tugging on their mother’s sweaters while the mothers gab away on their iPhones, and the rest of us faceless people watchers.

I left after the first surge, having seen what I came for.  The rest will probably be waiting out there through lunch waiting for the Hawaii Five-O grinder to take out the houses on the cliff.

Can’t wait til the next earthquake.  Fascinating stuff, huh?

Shark Sightings in Southern California

8 11 2010

Source: Shark Research Committee

Just in case you haven’t lost enough sleep, having nightmares about being dragged under by a great white.

Check out this list of reports maintained by the Shark Research Committee.  Fascinating website.  It’s also a little spooky to read all the recent, ongoing accounts of sharks just kind of hanging out in the surf zone.

The photo on the right was taken on August 24, 2010.  Go to the report link above to get the details.  The shark evidently had a plan.

Maybe we ought to change the color of our wetsuits.  Seems like there is more risk of being confused with our penniped friends than we thought.

Is Summer 2010 Over?

8 08 2010

When is cool not cool?  When it’s supposed to be hot.

Okay, so all the “weathercasters” (a new term for blond cuties and guys in $3,000 suits standing in front of weather charts on TV) agree, this has been the coolest summer on record for Southern California.  And, somehow everyone seems to be whining about it.  All while the southeast is suffering in 126-degree stifling heat (effective temp, when humidity is taken into account).

So, wazzup with the weather?

We can blame La Nina — the cooling of sea surface temperatures in the Pacific Ocean along the equator and the opposite global wind pattern of El Nino.  Check out this map from the El Nino/Southern Oscillation discussion group of the NOAA.  It shows water temperature “anomalies,” that is departures from average temperatures.

Australia is the white shape at the lower left corner.  Central America is at the upper right.  The line marked EQ is the equator.  This is a moderate to strong La Nina.  In a moderate to strong El Nino, the blue is replaced with red and orange, and vice versa.  Go to the NOAA ENSO site for more info.

Then, here is an SST (sea surface temperature) map from Surfline’s Hurricanetrak.  The only warm water is off Central America.  The water even gets cooler toward the equator.  Guess we won’t be seeing any hurricane surf this year.  Usually, the entire ocean west of Central America is a dark red this time of year.   Also, notice all the red in the Gulf of Mexico, where they are predicting an unusually heavy hurricane season this year.

Source: Surfline Hurricanetrak - August 3, 2010

The other day, out at Uppers, it even felt like Fall.  The water was cool, the wind was offshore and dry.  The only thing that told us it was still summer was the crowd.

Better start looking for those 5/4’s, booties, gloves, and hoods.  Summer is over!