Windansea 1 (SD) -- 6/3/04

Closeout set!

Date: June 3, 2004
Time: 1600 -- 1830
Spot(s): Windansea, La Jolla
Conditions: Ultralight sideshores, typical busy, diverse crowd
Swell: A little inconsistent from the ssw
Surf: 8-12'+ California scale (faces)

Words: Found my way back to San Diego on a last minute jaunt for work. Had a light schedule so decided to get some water time.

First stop was the swell forecast. puts out a fairly tight synopsis of upcoming swell and saw some decent surf rolling in Thursday and Friday. The government swell models confirmed this. Stoked!

Next was to connect with friends. I didn't want to make anyone feel obligated so I put out a quiet comment to my alt.surfing compadres. A couple of them did email, so we planned to hook up.

Caught the redeye Wednesday night, did my work obligations to the mid-afternoon, then cut myself loose. I had decided to dispense with bringing a board and just rent one. Also, it was time to buy a new wetsuit, so (with thanks to Bill Andrews) I headed over to Mitch's Surf Shop in La Jolla (link). The very generous Mitch decked me out with new suit and a sweet 8'6" longboard rental, along with a bodyboard just in case. I was styling.

Drove over to Windansea to find it somewhat crowded, but firing. When the sets came, it was pretty impressive. Both directions were working with long, softer, peakier rights and more pitching lefts. I could not get my suit on quick enough.

Bill Andrews, the unofficial mayor of the spot, was in the parking lot badgering everyone within earshot. Due to a certain circumstance, he could not join me in the water immediately. I wasn't waiting.

Entering the water is usually not a big deal, but I made it a little harder than it should have been. I was waiting for a set to subside when Bill signaled me, making wild gesticulations. Figured he wanted me to head out, so I did.

Just a few yards from shore, a small whitewater headed towards me. As I prepared to turtle under it, the reef in front suddenly went dry. What the? I bailed and took the wave on the head. Gurgling to the surface, I found that I was only a couple of yards away from the shoreline rocks (Simmons). I motored out without incident. Bill later told me he wanted me to angle left, then right. How was I to know?

In the lineup, I tried to gauge all the players. Decided to initially focus more on the rights which seemed to be ridden less, I assume because the occasional closeouts didn't leave as much of a channel. Stayed in between the two general groups, not on the outside, but well away from the inside peak.

On my first few waves, I had to re-acclimate myself to the little nuances of the wave. Every spot has its own idiosyncrasies, and this wave was no exception. It pays to know where the wave backs off, where it jacks, where it closes out.

I also had to measure the crowd. On this session, people were surprisingly cordial. Think it had to do with the high number of waves coming through and the occasional large sets that kept people spread out and honest.

As for the board, well I had to get used to that it. On the first few waves, I couldn't turn the darned thing. Realized that I was trying to do things from the middle of the board, like I was on my shortboard. Also, the board seemed to chatter a little at speed--just had to learn how to control it.

I cannot complain one bit about the session. I got my fair share of waves, both lefts and rights. I enjoyed running to the nose on the rights, just cruising through the soft sections. The lefts were bowling more and required (on occasion) some speed lines.

Don't get me wrong though, I blew it as much (or more) than anyone out there. Got caught inside several times, just tumbling around in the whitewater. And I wiped out big time on a late drop. But having the opportunity to partake in such beautiful conditions more than made up for it. And it seemed the stoke was infectious as everyone seemed to be in a positive mood.

Came in to find Andrews still puttering around in the parking lot (one of his adoring fans actually had interviewed him for a school report). Bill constantly introduced me with all the locals, all while taking photos of the action.

As the sun set, it started to cool off. Definitely wasn't in Hawaii. But the aloha was still there.

Aloha from Paradise,