Thursday, September 22, 2005

A Wall of Green Stained Glass

Finally! We got a late jump on our evening session Wednesday night, but Nash drove like Jehu and we made it to Squaw's in 1.5 hours. The conditions were almost identical to the last time I surfed there with Slim, (see my entry, "Uncomfortably Numb") but it was actually a little better.

Speeding down Sunset Highway, Nash and I said to eachother, "We're gonna get some waves today," but in our hearts we knew that the surf report we studied all day was less than ideal. I think the swell was 7 ft, with an 11-second interval. The x-factor was the wind, which should have been gusting at 25 kts.

But when we arrived at our destination, jubilation! Grinding 4-foot lefts were going unridden at the middle of the beach. There were only four guys out, and they were laying flat on their Bics on the north side. The wind had a slight effect on the outside waves, but a wind shadow cast by the rocks at the north side kept things relatively smooth at the take-off spot.

I realized with a north wind the lefts were harder to catch, after paddling like an Alcatraz escapee for several waves and being spray-blinded and blown back before I could drop. It almost felt offshore!

My first wave was my best: I dropped in late and at an angle, which afforded me a view of the peak that will forever be recorded in my mind for easy playback. As I descended the wave, heading left, I glanced up and saw the triangular shape of the face illuminated from behind like green stained glass. I had been staring into the sun at the horizon for the previous 20 minutes, so dropping behind the swell was a relief to my eyes. The surface of the water was slightly textured by ripples of wind, creating a mosaic effect on the surface where the the darker green wrinkles on the face made a net-like pattern over the slab of water that seemed to glow yellow-green from the inside. It must have been a second or two before the wedge folded over, but I was already down the line on a shoulder that was presenting a long ride. The wave went from vibrant green to dark blue, and I carved up and down the convexed sea. As the wave flattened a little, I had to transfer my weight forward and pump a few times, but it was steep again a second later. Now the water was brown and I knew I was seeing sand that was sucked off the bottom. I could see the wave begining to close out and I knew the ride was coming to an end. I thought I should try some kind of maneuver on the whitewater that was rapidly approaching, so I faded down, did a quick bottom-turn, came back up and tried to hit the foam hard. I ended up flying off my board and over the back of the wave.

I paddle back out and Nash was smiling. He said it was the longest wave he'd ever seen me get. We both proceeded to pick off a few more before the conditions deteriorated and our fingers felt like popsicles. I actually shoved my hands in my mouth to try to warm them up, which really didn't work.

Despite the cold (again) it was the best session I've had in a while - one which I really needed to rekindle the stoke!

Mark Kozelek - Find Me, Ruben Olivares

2 comments:

TedZSurfer said...

Nice.... funny how some waves can stick with you forever. I still remember a crisp fall NorCal morning about 10 years ago where the sunrise made the water texture you describe look like someone had thrown thousands of gold beads all over the wave in front of me.

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