Amelia the Tropicat: A Swell Companion
By Liz Clark, captain of Swell I’ve had a few pets on Swell over the last nine years—most of them made their way aboard on their own. I don’t mind the geckos...
N WIND 10 TO 15 KT WITH GUSTS TO 20 KT. WIND WAVES 3 FT. NW SWELL 3 FT AT 8 SECONDS.
After a deep, deep Central Willamette Valley mode morning meeting on Tuesday I scrambled for the Central Oregon Coast in hopes of finding some sunshine to go along with the forecast 3 foot swell. I wasn't overly optimistic due to the 25 knot gusts, the 5 foot wind swell and the 3 foot swell that had dropped to 1 foot.
Then my low hopes were dashed upon arrival at Newport as I sighted the whitecaps frothing on the horizon. Cursory checks of north wind protected headlands up the coast yielded sub-miniature dribblers that offered little chance of propulsion despite proper preparation of bringing a 10' 6" single fin log.
Spot after spot checked with windswept bays and beach breaks continued to crush spirits as darkened coastal taverns beckoned and looked increasingly tempting. At Tillamook, I bagged and headed east on Highway 6 resigned to my valley fate. As the dairy farm stench wisped about me I rebelled...hung an illegal u-turn and resumed my northward trek up Highway 1.
At the last ditch spot I pondered just hiking in with survival supplies [beer] and hydrating in the sun. But, being sensible, I lugged the heavy longboard down the trail knowing failure to do so meant surrender on my part and I could not stomach it.
Upon arrival on the sand, I was greeted by an empty lineup...empty of surfers and empty of waves. After a few moments, as I battled the steady wind to trudge forward, I saw a mysto peak break about 20 feet from shore in about 10 inches of water...solid shin to knee high and perfect.
Making it to 3rd creek I deposited my Kings of Beer in the frigid waters and watched the north end. Sure enough, a peak showed and a right reeled off in deeper water that looked small but surfable. I suited up and paddled out. The waves were tiny but perfect little offshore peelers with a fun little noseride section.
After about an hour and a half of fun in the sun and surf by my lonesome, the switch was thrown and the little peaks turned off. I paddled south in hopes that a new wave would materialize but no such luck. Once I entered the wind tunnel unprotected 2nd creek area, I opted to head in and consume my beers on the beach.
All in all, coulda been better but it was almost much, much worse.