Monday, April 17, 2006

Death Traps 2


SW WIND 10 KT. WIND WAVES 1 FOOT.
W SWELL 11 FT AT 12 SECONDS.
TONIGHT SW WIND 5 TO 10 KT.
WIND WAVES 2 FT.
NW SWELL 10 FT AT 11 SECONDS SUBSIDING TO 8 FT LATE.

Crossing the pass was a relief as the 90 degree weather of the past week gave way to fog and drizzle. Pulling up to the water disappointed, as little, if any, swell was showing despite the forecast. Tourists milled about, hoods pulled up against the mist...shivering in shorts donned in the valley.

A few locals sat in their cars, boards that would remain dry that day propped up behind them. They smirked as he walked past with pack and board down the cobbles. They looked away as he rounded the point and drove off.

The tide dropped steadily as the waves, still small, began to find new bars to break upon. Rounding a rocky headland, a small cove revealed a waist high wave peeling right off a rocky shelf. Suiting up, he paddled out to check it.

The water was shallow and rocky. Taking off on a small boil required dodging two exposed boulders on the inside, but once past them the reward was a clean, fast ride that passed over only a few uncomfortably shallow spots. Gaining confidence with each ride, he slide past closer to the rocks until they were hardly noticed at all. In fact, almost imperceptibly, they disappeared altogether with the rising tide.

The surf built with the tide, topping out at about chest high and providing a long rippable wall through the inside. The long single fin that worked so well when the waves were smaller, was now a bit of a liability as the waves hollowed out through the inside sections. Catching an edge on one wave, he was dumped and grimaced in anticipation of an impact with the rocky bottom, only to find chest deep water and sand.

Paddling back out to mechanical rights, he surfed until he was able to connect with a wave that ended only 20 yards from the cliff face. Looking at the much reduced beach, a glance to the north revealed that entrance and exit had been removed by the rising tide. Low tide was hours away, scaling the cliff one-handed, with pack and surfboard, seemed unwise. A water exit seemed the only option. The cove echoed as a head high wave exploded outside.

Packing clothes tightly in the pack, he strapped it on tightly and waded past the shorebreak carefully, jumping waves and trying to stay as dry as possible. As he approached the takeoff point, he mindsurfed rights as the reeled towards him, actually pondering taking off and doing it all over again. But, instead, paddling well to the outside, against a persistent current that resisted efforts to head north, he slowly passed the lineup and headland.

Rounding the point, the next cove to the north was firing. A peak showed to the south and he raced to be far enough in to pick it off. It began to rise and paddling hard, the board begin to lift and speed up. Standing before the wave began to crest, smoothly gliding on open water, the wave jacked as it felt bottom. Angling left, staying well ahead of the lip. He rode into the shallows, stepping hard on the tail, grabbing the board with both hands and drifting in on the waves back.

Scrambling up the beach, he sat on the rocks and watched as fun lefts cracked on the rock shelf. Dressing, he found his clothing mostly dry. He packed his gear and headed back up the beach. Rounding the point, he saw that the swell was firing here as well, but the angle was wrong, hitting the beach in a mass unrideable closeout. Further north, the cove's water was too deep and waves backed off beneath the few that were haflheartedly trying to catch them.

The tourists took no notice of him, nor the locals, as he loaded his board and pack and drove home...smiling.

2 comments:

foul pete said...

Good story Doc. Sneaking past the SS locals to score some waves. However, it is not healthy to talk about oneself in the third person.

Doc said...

All fictitious of course!