With a lot of NW swells pumping, I have decided to escape to Santa Cruz (SC) this Sunday, and as it turned out to be, it was an excellent choice. As we drove further South from Half Moon Bay (HMB) on The Highway 1, the better the waves looked. Initially around Pescadero, the things looked like at least 2 x overhead and really messy. It is a kind of waves that if I was to venture out, it would be difficult to get out, and then only to be held down under the water if I pearl into it or something.
As usual Pigeon Point usually gives you the preview of SC waves, and the area looked really great so I became very stoked, as we passed by there.
This afternoon, I stayed at the Sharks and a bit W of the Privates. This is usually the area in the summer it does not fire up as well unless there is good S - SW swells, but today, it was easy paddle out with nice shoulder to head size well formed sets. Of course at the hook people were competing for even a bit bigger waves. But why bother?
It was a really nice time riding the rights. Around here I tend to pick the lefts so riding the rights were really interesting and a bit challenging. But seeing and keeping the hook almost right in front of my eyes, were really "eye opening" experience. Ups and downs are becoming much better.
It is really now becoming "my style" to use the bottom turn to get back up on to the wave. I have seen other good surfers just staying on the lip of the wave, but my initial take off is usually more straighter down then with the bottom turn I climb back up. I enjoy the speed of the turn that way. As an added bonus, you'd be challenged to do a full cut back towards the end of the ride as finally the right side shoulder starts to close out faster than the left. If that works out then you'd be treated for another 5 - 10 seconds of a ride almost to the shore.
One problem area with the staged down is that if the wave closes out a faster, then I'd pearl. But this is another skill that coming into my repetoire, I can now take off at an angle if I wanted to. Only thing with this is that I need to read the wave a bit better to see if I am going to go down straight or turn. Often I judge too late because I am not looking at the oncoming waves enough times. I am still too focused on just taking off.