Tuesday, July 9, 2013

The Good Days. Or maybe this should be called The Rare Days.

It is hard to define what makes a good day exactly.  It is mostly something you know of after the fact.  Hell, if you start a day with the expectation that is is going to be one of the good days, you may just ruin it for yourself.  Sometimes the best days are the ones that take us by surprise.  One of those days when the swell, tide and wind seem less than perfect, but when you pull up to your spot, no one is on it, and the waves are reeling through like they were made by a machine.  Or, it is not the wave that makes it a good day, but the fact that you are in tune with its every aspect, warble, nook and cranny.  But generally speaking, some of the good days happen to occur when the stars align and that rare swell arrives at your door steps to turn on that rare spot that you have been eyeing for years.  In these parts we tend to get plenty of solid energy hitting us from the north west.  Those big swells of winter that work their way well into town and turn spots up the coast into hell-man arenas.  Sure, those are fun, but they are too common to get too excited about.  So, those rarely count.

Mid summer juice not too far south of where I lay.

Not an easy wave to master, more than a few go through with no takers.

An insider peels through, while the pack heads toward the horizon.

The small ones are less intimidating, but still require commitment.

Lining up the bowl properly is imperative to not taking a beating.

Bingo.  Well, almost.

The west swell is a rare beast indeed.  Especially a big one.  And they can light up quite a few spots, including a handful that seem to only work with a direct west.  But those tend to arrive in fall, and it is summer right now.  A pretty decent one, wave and weather wise, so far.  I think I've surfed maybe 18 days in the last three weeks.  So, I 'm thinking about a south swell we had here a few weeks ago.  It was solid.  I don't really recall the last time I saw so much energy coming out of the south west.  While I didn't get in the water on the day of its arrival, I was playing on the beach with my son and watching some solid waves peeling along Pleasure Point.  The next day we drove on south a bit to see if we could find some solid juice.  And we did score and evening session on a slab of rock that will only light up when the conditions are right.  Sure, there was a tad bit too much north west swell in the water to make it perfect, but it was peeling.  One of those spots you only really get to surf properly once every few years.  I've had better days there for sure.  And bigger.  But with the super long periods of this thing, the beasts were thick and furious and ready to deliver a handful of beatings.  And dish out a wave or two if you were diligent, and lucky.  And if you got one that did its thing, that was all it took to make the entire trip worth while.

Mid June, three feet overhead, while in trim.  With the wave about to set up on the reef.  Could be worse.

This spot is tricky, and not really all that good of a wave.  Unless you happen to get one of the good ones.  A few try to find an entry.

Also, a difficult wave to ride well, as staying close to the bowl is as it races is crucial.  Digging in.

The thing about rare breaks is that even when they are breaking, a perfect one is rare.  Racing into the section in hopes it stays open.

Um, yeah.  'Nuff said.  Kind of makes me wish I had a better lens for this stuff.

For the next day, it was back to town.  I stayed away from the crowd and perfection that is Drainpipes, and ventured to a point not too far from those.  It is no secret spot.  And it is rarely a good wave.  Mostly it is a lopping, rolling, flat peeler.  But when a nice solid long period south west hits it, the place lights up.  And the crowd reflected it.  More people there on this particular day that I had ever seen.  Used to be I had a hard time getting anyone out there to play with me.  Not anymore.  About 35 of my buddies in the water.  Actually, many faces were familiar, so it was not horrible.  And the waves just kept lining up.  One after the other.  Small ones were just a bit overhead, and the bombs were pushing ten feet on the face.  Surprisingly fun.  And so many waves with a backhand bowl to vertical wall that would stay up for well more than 100 yards.  Even found a few lips to duck under and get out of the sun.  Did I mention how perfect the weather was.  Warm, sunny and no wind.  Yup, it was a good day.  So much so that I ended up taking a double session, just to get a few more.

The first two guys on it ended up mostly riding the corner bowl.  On the big ones the wave would clip there.  On the small ones, though, it was pretty stellar from south bowl.

Grabbing the corner, and turning back, to line up the inside section.

When a place only properly breaks maybe once every few years, usually only a few locals seem to surf it.  This guy was from Delaware and just happened to see waves.

A mid sized sets fires across the main bowl catching the deer in the head lights.  

The funny thing about good days is that they may not last the entire day.  Somewhere in the middle of my second session, the point reverted back to its old, average self.  What was lined up 200 yard walls with several shack section turned into weird, kind of closing out, kind of peeling, sort of waves.  You know, the way it typically acts.  As if it kind of wanted to be a wave, but not really.  And the next day, while there was swell in the water, was nothing extraordinary.  Just waves.  And it has been pretty much fun sized since then.  Might be a few years before we see a southwest like that again.  Or it might be just around the corner.  I mean, this summer has been pretty decent so far.

Different day, different swell, and around the corner, another regional gem lights up.