Well, I guess the Thanks we all gave on Thursday really paid off.
As I mentioned in an earlier post, Friday was large but looked doable for me. I took out a borrowed 8’6″, which made me feel like a real man. I say that with a bit of sarcasm, since there is nothing manly about drowning. I got looks from people as I ran across the Great Hwy…and felt a little self conscious cause it was probably a foot bigger than what most guys were riding that day. On top of that I usually don’t ride boards over 6ft most of the time. Coming over the dunes I recognized it was sizey, there were only a couple guys out, and so was happy I had some extra length and girth under me.
I started my paddle at Noriega and was in front of the Beach Chalet in about ten minutes of duckdiving. I finally broke through and got to the somewhat lumpy section where the sets clean you up…and, well, I got cleaned up. Rode a small one in to shore and gave it another go not wanting to give up after a single try. The second attempt wasn’t much better and I was in front of the Windmill in about 5 minutes this time.
I felt a little kooky since I couldn’t snag one of the bombs…need more practice in heavy surf. More confidence is all it is, cause I could have gotten out. I got spooked after I had to toss my board three times and swim down to Davey Jones’s locker. Thought that if it got much bigger, my board snapped or I got in a bad spot I would be in over my head. The 8’6″ has about a dozen stress cracks that run down the bottom of the board probably from some serious throttling somewhere nearby.
There were a couple other guys out snagging some good ones though. It seemed to get funkier as I came in and saw two out of the four remaining surfers walking back to where they had come out. I’m sure it was quite the spectacle for the onlookers which speckled the beach.
I felt a certain sense of pride in the fact that I gave it a couple good shots and it was the largest beach break I’d ever attempted to surf. There would be other days and so I packed it in as the sun started to fall.
It only got bigger over the weekend with the big finale on Sunday. Saturday was still rideable and somewhat glassy on the outside. There was a maelstrom of whitewater to navigate as always.
Ocean Beach is always challenging, but on days like this it really tests you. There were only a handful of surfers along the entire 7 mile stretch…like 4 or so, but some nice rides had by all of them. No bad wipeouts, good positioning, and very carefully chosen waves.
The pictures don’t do it justice. The waves are moving so quickly, they close out, can be lumpy…you can see what I mean by the lines these guys draw. Straight ahead…no cutbacks.
I got a couple good sequences of guys dropping in, picking a line and shooting for the shoulder. They all pulled each and every ride off flawlessly.
I awoke on Sunday and ran out to check the scene. It was easily triple to five times overhead with stiff offshore winds and bombies way out the back on the outer reefs about a mile out.
You could also see scattered peaks way up in Marin going off. There were no ships around. I sat and wondered how friggen scary it would be if you were in a boat way out to sea thinking you were out far enough when one of these behemoth sets came through on the outer reef and just steam rolled you.
I tried to capture some of the wild in this swell. You would see some of the waves just do some weird things.
I watched a view of the videos posted on YouTube from farther down the coast at Mavericks. It was pretty amazing and inspiring.
Stormsurf was calling it 12-13ft at 22-25 seconds, which created some pretty sizey waves on the face.
There was a young girl playing in the foam castles that had washed up from the big surf and playing a game of chase and be chased as the push and pull of the ocean became her best friend. The cold wasn’t even an issue. With no one in the water she was having the most fun of anyone that day. Watching her made me feel good and reflect on all there is to be thankful for.
What a great weekend! Happy Thanksgiving!