Yawn Patrol (Linda Mar)

Posted by: on June 18th, 2011

Yesterday afternoon I had to drive down to westside Santa Cruz to pick up my 7’0″ after Ward Coffey fixed a few dings. I was hoping to get in a surf after, but only the main peak and occasionally the adjacent one were working at Steamer Lane; everywhere else was flat, and the sea was whitecapping around the corner. The Lane was oh so crowded, mostly with really good shortboarders, and while I find them entertaining to watch, I didn’t want to do so from the water while relegated to the shoulder with nary an unclaimed wave for me to surf. Nor did I want to fight rush hour traffic across town to the eastside, where similar crowds likely awaited.

Surfers and spectators at Steamer Lane yesterday
Free, snails included

Instead, this morning I left the house before 5 am, heading to Half Moon Bay in the dark. The tide was negative low and the forecast lackluster so I wasn’t expecting much, but when I arrived, the dimness of pre-sunrise revealed only tiny waves breaking on the sand at the Jetty. Oddly, someone had left a couple of surfboards in the parking lot with a “free” sign on them.

A south wind was kicking up, and it blew me north to Linda Mar with further lowered expectations. It looked meh from the parking lot, but I was getting wet regardless. Once in the water, I was pleasantly surprised. That’s the good thing about low expectations: hard to disappoint, easy to please.

I walked to Boat Docks at the far south end of the beach, past many closeouts that were bigger than I’d realized from the lot. I watched a longboarder try to paddle out through them; he got tumbled back to the beach and started walking south too. I found a little rip near the creek and made it to the outside with little difficulty. It was also surprisingly uncrowded for Linda Mar, with only two guys on my peak to start. Perhaps the early hour had something to do with that.

Low tide at Linda Mar

The wind was offshore and continuing to rise. I got in some good practice forcing my board down the wave face against the breeze, and wasn’t blown off the back too often. Lots of rides, mostly rights, with fun chest- to shoulder-high drops and shoulders that held up for a bit. Woo-hoo! It’d been far too long since a wave made me hoot.

Linda Mar is frequented by beginners, so it’s not unusual to see surfers sitting too far outside. They haven’t learned where to line up to catch the waves, or they drift around without noticing. But the guys on my peak seemed to know what they were doing, and I as paddled back out after a ride, I was a bit puzzled to see they’d moved well outside of my lined-up point, triangulated on a red beach house and a hill house with red trim. They’d seen on the horizon what I couldn’t from my prone position: incoming bombs. Both surfers caught the first wave, which was slightly over their heads, riding in opposite directions. I turtled-rolled the roiling whitewater of that wave and of the second big one that followed, before the surf returned to fun-sized once again.

Sunshine, blue water, and fun waves. Sweet sweet stoke! All this before 7 o’clock in the morning.

Surfline: 3-4 ft, occ. 5 ft. Fair conditions. Clean, sectiony, walled up lines with a few short, pick and choose corners. More tide helps. Mainly short period NW windswell is in the water today with chest-head high surf at exposures while some modest size. South groundswell provides 3-4’+ sets at the better southerly exposed spots. Buoy 46012: (Wave) SWELL: 9.5 ft at 10.0 s NW 47 / WIND WAVE: 4.9 ft at 6.7 s NW / WVHT: 10.8 ft / APD: 7.4 s / MWD: 320° (Met) WSPD: 17 kts / GST: 23 kts / WVHT: 9.8 ft / DPD: 9.0 s / WDIR: 320° / ATMP: 51.8° F / WTMP: 54.0° F. Tide: Bottoming out at -1.3′.

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