There are days, like yesterday, when the sun is shining, the water is blue, but the wind, though embracing, simply dominates the surf into chaos and chop. Surfers, up and down the beach, seemed oblivious to the horrid conditions. Their gills were sufficiently dry to warrant a collective charge to the waves. And they found them. They road them.
I walked to the creek where a tiny wave broke in multiple peaks on small 2 foot faces. I tried to imagine getting wet; getting through the incessant sloppy surf, then trying to stay vertical on the SUP while the ocean moved out of rhythm. A wave smoothed out a frothy stretch and washed the chop right out, leaving a slick surface for the next wave. In the blink of an eye it was gone.
Click to enlarge image
You remember the post about Golden Rules. Well, one of them is to learn from those with more experience. Like the other day, it was sunny and warm in Pacifica. The surf was mushy and quite crowded. I saw a standup paddle boarder in board shorts out at Round House. I hurried to the water and walked along the beach with my long lens, a 70-200 f2.8 on my Canon 5DMII. The guy I’d seen earlier was paddling back. Fortunately he paused at each peak and caught a few waves. After each ride he paddled south to the next peak. He was paddling faster than I was walking. It was impressive.
After he’d ridden a maybe three waves he got out of the water just south of Taco Bell. I chatted him up and learned that he’d been paddling a few years. I told him that he paddled much faster than I could and how did he do it. He asked if I’d taken any lessons, which I had not, other than watch others and watch YouTube videos. He gave me a few tips and said we’d have to get together for a session some time.
Here’s a short photo montage of two waves.
Some days we paddle and others we pedal. Saturday we paddled into a stiff Santa Cruz west wind from New Brighton toward Capitola. Well, to be clear, which the water and the sky were, Donna paddled all the way to the Capitola pier. It’s simply work paddling into that wind. I sat on my F-One Manawa and paddled like a kayak. I even bent forward at the waist, stuck my paddle in the water, and used my stomach to pull back.
I was more out of the wind than Donna and got to my destination more quickly, but I wanted to save energy to ride some waves at a little reef between New Brighton and Capitola. A place where I could lose my board and not worry about it hitting anyone. The tide was on the rise so I knew my time was limited.
It took maybe 20 minutes of pretty steady paddling to get out to the reef, and another 15 or so to catch the first wave. It was hard to know where the wave was going to break, so I guessed. Another friendly SUPer paddled out. While chatting it up I discovered that he and his wife had just had a baby; a nine week old girl named Lucy.
Donna was returning from the pier at a pretty good pace. I bid Lucy’s father farewell and headed in. That’s when the beauty of down-wind paddling got to me. It was a different ocean, no work, just stroke and cruise. It seemed that the wind kind of disappeared. We saw Otters and Harbor Seals on the easy ride back to New Brighton.
Sunday we stopped into Mavericks Paddlesports to check out some gear, and to try out my new GoPro Hero 4 Silver on a short bike trip with Donna. We saw humpback whales, thousands of Shearwaters, and a fair number of folks out enjoying the warm sunny coastside. Check it out.
First GoPro-HD 720p from Tom Adams on Vimeo.