Monday, June 8, 2015

Remembering the dog days of winter.

This has been an odd year.  Of course, most everyone has heard about the drought.  It sucks.  The skiing sure took a hit this year.  And our water reserves are low.  Yet, there were some really awesome things about this past winter.  One was the swell.  While it was not an all time winter, especially for the spots in town, it was a damn fun winter.  The lack of storm systems diving south kept us mostly under a calm, warm high pressure system, that kept conditions on the north coast prime.  And while a six foot long period northwest swell barely registers at head high most places in town, once you get up the coast you can find waves and breaks that are pushing double overhead.  So it is sure nice when the weather cooperates to allow you to head out and explore.  And get away from the crowds.  If you know where to go.

This wave rarely ever works.  It is just a long, crappy, lumbering close out.  Until it is not.

On the other hand, this wave seems to always work.

Sure, it can be a burger, but a burger with some zesty hot sauce on it.

Being a lumbering not wave, the SUP world has discovered their place.  Nothing like a paddle to get through a flat section.

Except for when the swell gets big, and deep, enough to connect the parts of the reef.  

The other nice thing about fine winter weather is when after a morning surf charging double overhead bombs up at the creek, you can go home, retrieve the family and spend the afternoon chilling on the beach.  It is hard to complain about a 70F day at the water's edge in mid February.  Hanging out in board shorts, building sand castles, exploring the reefs and feeding the anemones.  If I had wanted to to do any of that this past first weekend of June, I would have had to have on a beanie and a hoody, just to stay warm.  And it is even better when you have an overhead swell hitting a reef to your left,  and a point to your right.  To give an idea of how good this day was, these pics were taken over a random half hour, while playing and running around with a three year old.  Those with real cameras, and actually paying attention, would have scored some killer pics all day.

When the left is good, it is good.  Waves like this just draw up onto the reef and go forever.

How many of those guys on the inside are hoping for a wipeout?

On the better sets, you can ride all the way to the shore pound.

The rights are kind of hard to see, as they break so far out on the point.

But you can still see the tops peeling for ever.

What this winter lacked in size, it more than made up for in consistency and conditions.  Hell, it seems like it has been good around here since last autumn.  Sure, we have had a few flatter periods, but it has rarely gone super flat for more than a day or two.  And if we needed to survive on wind swell for a week here or there, ground swell was sure to show up the following week.  In fact, the brief periods that lacked swell I found most welcoming.  It allowed for me to actually get some work down around the house instead of having me heading for the waves every chance I got.  Sure, it is not quite like winter out there right now, but we have had swell for most of May, and June is starting out just fine.

Connecting it all the way through the inside allows for a short paddle in.

North Point was having a very good day.

Even with a crowd in the water, some peaks just seems to always sneak through.

Sitting on the beach, you are looking right into the lefts.  Kind of a fun angle.

Not much of a barrel on this wave, but plenty of drawing walls to play around on.

Some people pine for summer.  I guess if I lived in Boston, I might as well.  But I pine for those fine days in winter.  Usually, those are the days in between the rain systems, when everything lines up, and we get a long enough period of high pressure for things to warm up along the coast.  In a drought year, that is most of the winter.  Sure, drought sucks, and we really, really need rain.  But if it is not to come, we should just then enjoy things as they are, and get down to the beach in our sandals and take some selfies and send them to our friends who live in Boston.  Where there are still piles of (very dirty) snow in random parking lots where they piled it up all winter just to clear the roads.  

This wave is not for everyone, but it sure looked fun this day.

Looking like a classic high liner.

Even the smaller ones were setting up nicely.

Just a magical winter's day.