Monday, November 5, 2012

Lonely Surf.

Missed opportunities.

I know I have already mentioned how awesome October is around here.  But some times things can get a little lonely.  This season started off pretty nicely, but instead of improving on that, things settled down for a few weeks.  People started to focus on other things, and with reason.  But then the surf started to come back.  Nothing spectacular, but with great weather and off shore winds, there was some fun surf to be had.  But where were all the people?  I guess when the internet forecast sites are not telling folks that it is really good, then it must not have been that good.  But, man, sitting in sharky waters for two hours, while scoring shoulder high to two foot over head rifling rights sure fells good.  Except for the shark part.  And it would have been nice if at least one other surfer had showed up to split the sets.  But I am guessing those days are over.  With the ASP in town, everyone is amped back up again and in the water.  I guess, at least, I won't be so lonely any more.

Point of anticipation.

This is what it looks like when every thing is about to go right.

Coming off the top, bringing it back to the curl and setting up the next section.  Basically, a turn.

Almost.  And he already knows it.

I just loved the focus on this one.  Steely blue.

Looking at the peak from behind the corner.  

Ducking under the the guy who is ripping the top off the wave is always interesting.

Of course, after two hours of bobbing and getting waves, I started to get tired.  And I though more about how I had already ridden so many waves, and did not get bit, that maybe I should call it a morning.  So I climb the cliff, run across the shelf, get back to my truck, and change.  Then a buddy rolls up and asks how it was.  Excellent.  Just wished you had showed up 15 minutes ago and kept me in the water a bit longer.

October in Santa Cruz.  Often sunny, glassy and head high.  Even on your knees.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

More Combo. More October.

Seriously, the waves during the first two weeks of October were fun.  Surfing five days a week in good surf, even when your only window may be in the afternoon.  Well, that is just fun.  It is also nice to be able to go on a morning stroll with your son, hang out, watch some surf, and takes some pictures.

Ya think this guy got a few good shots on his camera?


Clean, lined up, rippable chest high surf, with not too many folks in the water.  Mid morning at its finest.

What's SUP?  

This is really enticing looking.  Just another October morning of combo swell.


Sometime you get a good ride, and as you pull out, at the end, you look back out to see and see the real good ones come in.

Things have started to turn though.  While SoCal was getting nothing but South, we slowly started to see more of the Northwest.  That combo energy stuck around, but late summer turned to fall.  Hell, the weather got great.  You can look back at the post for a year ago.  October is an awesome month.  While November and beyond we can hope for big swell, for now, we pretty much have waves daily.  Sure, it can turn off, as it has the past few days.  But really, there are kind of waves out there daily.  Surfed tonight.  And it was fun.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Hooray for the Combo Swells of October.

Earlier this month, I strolled up to the Lane to let my son run around on the grass, play with dogs and greet everyone who walks by.  I was pleasantly surprised by the surf.  It was pretty much going off.  Super clean, lined up, head high plus surf was rocking the Slot.  Not too crowded, but everyone was surfing.  No buoys as far as I could tell.  Had I not  boy to wrangle, there was some great surfing to shot.  Still, I got a few.  What made the surf truly amazing is that the swells in the water were not really all that big.  There was one that was just about two feet, and another that was just a bit bigger.  And a third, tiny one.  Thing is, they were coming in and comboing up just perfectly.  It was on.

I'd say this spot seems to like a combo swell.  October in Santa Cruz.  Sun and surf.

It is always nice to roll up for a surf check and to see that things are working through the inside.

But it was the outside that was the real surprise.  The bouy reading was about three feet.

While small, there were two or more swells running in the water.  A small SW and a small NW, plus just a touch of another NW.

I like how the Slot is about to pen wide right here.  Nice three footer.

This guy was the most stoked of all.  Just showed up from North Carolina.  

He was awed by the waves.  Nothing like back home.  He was hootin and hollerin.  Pure stoke.

What a great morning of surf.  Super clean and lined up.  Head high plus.  Sunshine.  Warm.  No wind.  Sick.

I have a spot I like to surf.  It is not very good, but it is good enough.  It has barrels.  And ramps.  But it is not perfect.  Not by a long shot.  It is not a big fan of the south swell.  I mean, you can ride an egg on it on those days, but it ain't the same.  Yeah, it really prefers the northwest wind swells.  The bigger ones, up above six feet.  Fun little wave when it's working.  Thing is, some times we get these small wnw ground swells.  By themselves, they are okay, but just too small to make this spot light up.  It is kind of tucked, so not really exposed all that well to the northerly swells.  But if you get one of those running at the same time there is some small long period south swell in the water, things begin to turn on.  Funny how that works.

Lots of way to enjoy the ocean.  Some are a bit more kinetic than others.

When the waves are pumping, it is good to have a decent duck dive.

Or not.

It is fun to slide that tail around from time to time.

The surf has been up and down all month, but has been hanging in the fun range.

The sun was out a good part of the time, and the Slot was doing its thing.

This is what October is all about.  It is not the large surf that we get in the winter months, but it is not summer.  And while we can see some sort of smaller combo swells in spring time, the wind too often are an issue.  Not only do the small swells show up more often this time of year, but the winds are pretty mild.  There are some great spots right here in town, but the nice thing about this time of year is how much you can spread out.  Lots of breaks working all up and down the county.  The past few weeks have been fun.

A few days were good enough to get the big guns out.
Commanding the Slot, this guy got his share of waves.

Seriously, does it get much more fun than this.

Crowds can be a factor when the waves get good.

Unless you never look around to see them.

I mean, you can be having such a great time enjoying a shoulder, that your mood is not ruined by the guy behind you.

Ripping it up.

Did you get that on film?

Up the coast a ways, the reefs were enjoying the taste of October.

kjMore pics soon.  The waves just keep on coming.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Fall Opener brings a nice end to summer.

Sure, summers are great.  In other parts of the world.  But around here, most folks are waiting for fall.  Even if you do not surf, it is hard to not pine for the sunny mornings, offshore breezes and hot afternoons that is October weather.  But, for those of us who do enjoy splashing around the ocean, there is no better thing than the beginning of fall.  The north Pacific stirs, storms form, and consistent, powerful swells start to pound our coast.  The days of summer, waiting for the south swell that never really shows, and chasing up and down the coast to find a spot that will turn that tiny, weak, wind swell into something worth riding are over.  For at least a few months.  For now, many of us start to look for swells with heights greater than five foot and periods more than 13 seconds.  Any less, and we might be busy.  I mean, we all need a hair cut sooner or later.

You know fall has arrived when Middle Peak starts to show at Steamers Lane.

Bottom turn.

Top turn

While Middle Peak was far from large, it had plenty of wave action.

Even the lefts were working on Monday morning.

And just up West Cliff a little bit, Swift Street started to show.  Now we just need a swell twice as big to make it rip.

Its not that we can't enjoy the lower quality waves.  It is we don't have to.  But the Opener is more than that.  It is a reminder of what we love to do.  Some ditch their bikes or their kites for the first time in months.  Others finally put away that longboard or groveler that has made summer bearable.  And others finally come home.  I call the season opener this past Monday, the last Monday in September.  Not just because it is in the first few days of lunar autumn (so, like, officially autumn) and not just because there was a swell out of the north Pacific.  Hell, there was a fun little northwest a few weekends back.  But it was not enough.  Now, this past swell was far from being a big swell.  But it was enough.  Enough for town to have overhead waves.  Enough for Indicators to start to run a bit on the lower tides.  Enough for Swift to show for a few hours.  Enough to make Scotts start squaring up on the outside.  Enough for a few boards to snap.  Enough for many of us to paddle out, and have something happen that makes us go, oh.  I had a fin box get dislodged.  Others had worse.  But that was all okay.  Because it was surf season again.

Tuesday morning had too much tide and a bit of sickness at Middles.  It did not lack in size.

Warning:  While surf may be wonky, it is still fun.  And can deliver a punishing.

Just up the coast a ways, Tuesday afternoon delivered.

Some sections were slower than others, but every surfer came to the beach with a smile.

Strong bottom turn.

Strong top turn.

This is were my little guy wanted to play.  So today, we bought him his own board.

Monday night and Tuesday morning were the best of it.  A light seabreeze in the afternoon made for light texture up north of town.  But not too bad.  A high tide plagued a lot of spots in the morning.  It was not epic, or all time.  But it was damn fucking fun.  Did not here a complaint form a single one.  Folks up on the cliff, watching the Lane.  Stoke level high.  In the water all smiles.  On the walk back from 4-Mile nearly every surfer stopped to say hello to my 16 month old son.  Not just because he is super charming, but because of the simple fact that the wait is over.  Fall surf has arrived.

A sign that the swell was fun sized.  The Slot had good form.  

Another sign it was fun sized.  2 out of 3 surfers don't even bother to look at a nice shoulder high wave.



Low light on Tuesday made the weather feel like Summer.  Middles was looking more like Fall.

All in all, we got a two day swell, with left overs, followed by a little south swell, and then another weekend plus of northwest.  Now we are waiting to see what happens next in the Gulf as another good late season south keeps us paddling.  This week looks good, and the forecast is not grim.  It is not a non stop flow of waves for the foreseeable future, but it is a far cry from drought.  Small NW energy gets a boost this week, as does the south.  And in the mid term, it looks like things could perk up again.  Regardless, it has started.  And today, as I right this, it is 88F over on Pleasure Point.  And there is surf. Welcome Fall.

Riding all the way to the end.  The nice thing about ground swell is how long you can ride a single wave.


Did I mention Fall weather showed up.  More to come:  How Awesome are Combo Swell?