Saturday, December 21, 2013

Small Autumn.

It has been a pretty dismal autumn this year.  A lot of making the best of nothing.  It can be tough.  Around here you get used to the season turning on during October or November and pretty much being assured of head high waves in town, and bigger on the open coast, pretty much 5 to 6 days a week.  And that odd day out will typically be shoulder high.  I know a lot of folks who just don't usually bother unless the swell is at least 6 feet and the period 14 seconds.    Well, that has been a very rare thing this fall.  But this past week, and the upcoming weeks look more typical.  And more fun.  Let's just hope that the season has turned on and we can start focusing on carving out some surf time from life, and get into some overhead surf.  

Making the most of nothing can actually turn out to be a lot of fun.  

Knee high plus is all you need to get your head wrapped up.

Surf in town has been fairly meager, but there have still been quite a few small fun days.

And it is still stunningly beautiful.

And we have had a handful of head high days, too.

Conditions have been fairly clean, so you can't complain too much.

Now, having grown up surfing in New England, I'm not about to call the last month flat.  Just dismal.  If you are lucky enough to have a flexible schedule, and disciplined enough to stay on top of it, and know where to go when, then there has actually been a fair amount of fun enough surf.  It just has not been going off.  Ocean Beach actually had a lot of fun small days.  But a small, fun day at OB is basically a long board day here in town.  Facing south has a huge advantage in summer, and handles the big winter swells  and makes them more manageable, but when all you have in the water is small mid period northwest swell, not much energy wraps in.  And that is what we have had lately.  On the good days.  Until last week.  Things started up nicely again.

Middle Peak has been fairly soft and crowded.  Still looked fun.

The lefts are a popular choice at this size.  At least it is a little something different.

And it is hard to complain when waves start breaking along the entire point.

And while we never got any big surf this fall, it was not all small surf.

And it was often glassy.  And there were tons of birds.  And anchovies.

Okay, so it is not like there has been no surf since the start of autumn.  There has.  There has even been a handful of really fun days.  I can recall a Monday in October that we pretty damn fun.  And overhead.  But it was only one day, and it was only a moderate swell.  Nothing to right a blog about.  But it was sure nice to get a little bit of swell to fill nicely into town this week, with another one lining up for this weekend and another behind that.  It finally feels like home around here.  Just in time for Christmas.

And when it did get fun, there was talent in the water.

I'm pretty sure this is a text book maneuver.  

Done shredded.

Even the shoulders get shredded to bits by this guy.  He should be a pro.

Of course, there has still been quite a few placid days out there.

But you just need to make the most of what you got.

This guy always seems to.

Anyway, during this last round of waves I started to think about how much more crowded the open coastline has been this fall, as compared to years past.  At first, I thought it was just more folks braving the cold sharky waters north of town.  And there were.  But then I realized that it real must have more to do with the near total lack of waves in town this year.  Surfers will go out and search when in need.  And this has been one of those seasons.  At times it has even looked as flat as a flat day in summer.  So, they migrate.

Working the little bit of moving water in town.

He is in there, some where.

Waiting for it.

Again, that left, can be a load of fun.

So, yeah, more crowds and less surf this year.  One could easily start complaining about things.  Like how there were 40 or 50 heads bobbing out at Swift Street on Monday.  Or two weeks with nothing but small wind swell.  Or a beach (and point break) closure during one of the better swells due to a drug smugglers boat getting wrecked ashore.  Or, one could just appreciate that they live and surf here, in Santa Cruz, where a bad day, is a pretty decent day is so many other places around the world.  My buddy is looking at the surf right now.  He is calling it and going back to work.  His report?  Not very good.  About head high, and a bit mixed up.  Not worth it he says.

But when the sun comes out, and the surf is running chest high plus, that is really all you need.

If you can't make it happen at this size, you might just be getting old.

You just need to work the sections, and have patience.

And sooner or later, a lip will show itself.

Or you can just grab the log and take it easy.

But it really is more fun being on the short board and becoming one with the lip.

Or just sit by and mind surf the empty waves as they roll by the cliffs.

So, before you call it quits and buy a plane ticket to some were with warmth and waves, just consider this.  Fall was a disappointment, so you are probably not expecting much out of winter.  That means, it can only get better.  And it is only just getting started.

Nah, screw that.  Go out and get wet.