Saturday, July 29, 2006

Wave of the Day, the Trip, My Life


Three days ago, after the hurricane passed, we discovered La Bocana, a rivermouth break only 10 minutes from our house. We read in the Surfer's Guide to Baja that the beachbreak only works after summer hurricanes pass through, causing San Jose Del Cabo's estuary to overflow into the sea. The influx of water and dirt (mud) causes sandbars to form that catch the hurricane swell. The book described the break as beefy, peaky, and hollow.

When we parked at the Presidente Hotel and walked to the beach at around 8:30 AM, we passed some surfers who had just finished their dawn patrol. We asked how it was, and the first guy told us that it sucked. A second guy told us it was firing and that we'd "love it." In fifteen minutes, we'd find who was lying.

As we approached the break, sparkling like crumpled tin foil in the morning light, a set bowled in, as if on cue. There were four surfers silhouetted in against the bright water and one slipped right into the pocket, the offshore mist creating a backlight contrast for his black crouched form. This was a perfect A-frame peak, shoulder high, by far the most powerful and perfect we had seen on our adventure. We paddled out quickly and barely avoided a set wave that would have tested the depth of my duckdiving skills (or the strength of my thin "performance" leash). The second surfer had told the truth.

My first wave was The One. Two surfers exited the water as we got to the lineup, and I parked on the left side of the peak, wanting to go frontside on my first few. No sooner had I caught my breath than another big swell rose from the horizon line and approached quickly. I was right in the perfect place - maybe a little deep - but OS hooted at me and I spun and went. Two strokes and the bottom half of the wave was already dropping out. I was totally committed, starting my speedy descent, and there was no way to go but down. I popped up and turned left, seeing a big section of the wall already bending out in front of me. I instinctively faced the wave and set my line as high as I could, skeptical that I would make the section at all. It looked like a big closeout to me...

But then my board took off like a bullet and I just hung on, clearing the critical section. I had no idea a surfboard could fly that fast. When I reached the softer-sloping shoulder, I was high on the wave and I banked back down to the bottom, repeating the drop and bracing myself for another walled section inside. Again, my yellow fish bolted and I absorbed the chatter with my knees. By this time, I was dangerously close to the shorepound and I skipped off the back of the turbulent lip, my arms extended like a bird. I was dumbstruck as I finally slowed down and the surfboard sunk under me. I lowered myself to my belly and started paddling back out to where the guys were. Smiling, OS asked how the wave was. He had seen the first half of the ride.

"Oh. My. God," was all I could muster.

Having that much of nature's power under my feet was a new experience for me. I was buzzing from adrenaline and dizzy with a combination stoke and fear. I even considered leaving the water and calling it a session right there, but came to my senses and caught several more when I realized that I only had two more days left in paradise.

Grooverider - Rainbows of Colour

5 comments:

G-hod said...

I just looked at my bulky 5/3 and almost shed a tear. It's going to be a painful re-entry into wetsuit life. I just have to remember La Bocana only goes off a few times a year and we just happened to be there - for three days straight.

Diane said...

Were these the muddy looking waves you showed us pictures of on your computer? My admiration for you only grows each day.

Chum said...

We're going to get it good this week up here, I can feel it. I know we struck gold for three days at the estuary - the last day was the muddy one.

Speaking of mud, the skies are gray gray gray up here today. Rain would be a real pisser, but appropriate. Remember last year when I came back from Mex? It was so flat that we surfed North of Guanos... then it rained on the walk back up the trail... AND I stepped in dog shit.

Slim said...

Sack up and suit up, pussies. Boyscouts' meeting is looking to be scheduled for the weekend.....

Chum said...

Name the time and place. I'll be there, Scout's honor.