Monday, October 22, 2007

Smoke and barrels

Yesterday's long awaited giant swell happened to coincide with a Santa Anna event where the winds were gusting up to 40 MPH. I managed to get a front row parking spot, stepped out of the black Beam and watched as various hard core surfers braved the extreme conditions. Many were actually somehow managing to catch and ride these bizarre waves. "Oh well" I think to myself, "drove all the way here, might as well paddle out."

So there I go, paddling in the giant washing machine. Managing to get outside wihtout too much punishment, I sit on my board that is like sitting on a randy horse, surveying the chaos. I notice my eyes and lungs are burning. I realize the fog is actually smoke from the Malibu fires. The swell is the biggest since last winter but the winds are flattening and squishing the mega ripples into quite unusual constructions. The waves seem to try to rebound back into shape and so the shoulder keeps shifting and it turns into this Jedi Zen exercise cartoon because the peak is continually and eratically moving both horizontally and forward. Somehow, my timing puts me in place and a big crazy wave looms towards me, jacks up and so I paddle and kick and pop up just as it goes verticle, and flicks me like I flick ants off my finger. I land on the board and then the wave, flying down the face and the wave's shape morphs with a powerful gust of wind and it is like I am riding over a giant speed bump. I slow down and the wave jacks up again crashes on me and I lose my balance and plunge into the brine. Next second I am paddling back outside feeling a bit jazzed.

"That was gnarly!" I look thru the spray and am able to recognize Rob Robe.

"Yo Rob! yeah, this is nuts!"

That was yesterday. Today I get out in the ocean once again. Winds are only around 10-12 MPH and the swell is less crazy. Alot of it is closing out but when it doesn't it is giving fast overhead walls. I spend nearly 2 hours out in the 55 degree water before luck finally smiled on me. A wave came along that did not seem like much. It was on the inside and I easily caught it and made the head hight drop. It started to flatten so I cut to the left and rode the white froth until it started to wall up like a mofo and then I'm in this quick little overhead barrel which kisses me on the head like a big dog. I can't help but scream out after that one. I end up paddling around for another thirty minutes but lightening does not strike again. Oh well, I got mine.

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