South swell 5 ft 17 seconds was what I surfed in this early evening. I was glad that this kind of the swell was not hitting square into Half Moon Bay. When I arrived at a local beach there were two guys checking out the waves. One did not go in and another did. The one that went in said "get what you can get." For me, it was going to be a bit of a hefty wave to deal with. Once again, all I ask for is a nice clean gentle overhead beach break and I will be happy with a boy with a cream puff in his hand. The set waves were just about above my head and rapidly closing-out, leaving a very little shoulder that is also rapidly closing out. The challenge here was to paddle up to where the next shoulder would pop, paddle like hell to get over there and paddle like hell to get in to the pocket. If I've done that then the wave would be mine, not to mention getting out there.
In contrast to yesterday, the ocean surface looked smooth and easy out, but for me, it posed a moderate challenge since at 17 seconds period, the water movement has been much more, making the duck through a much more effort than the "normal" wind swell stuff I have started to become at ease with in this season. The main issue for me to get through these types of waves is that there is so much turbulence under the water while I am going through it that I feel like the big wave just swishing me out of it. I do get through but I am barely hanging on to my board on the way up, and I would just ask the board to just shoot up though the turbulent water. Sometimes, instead of popping out on the other side, I would be in the middle of a huge close out and get deflect away and back to where I came from.
Since there was this guy I don't know and myself, I did not try very hard to get further out, which as usual, I really should, and I will tell you why. After about an hour of trying surfing, and I did catch some decent waves, but it was not that satisfactory, I got out and started to get ready to head home.
Then, as I was ready to unzip my suit, Ed, who is the chair of the San Mateo Surfrider Chapter showed up. I was happy and not happy at the same time. I was happy to see him, but I was not that happy that now I'd have to paddle out, and when I do, I would need to paddle further out on a rip current. And that's exactly what he was stoked about. He went on to tell me a spot that there is a rip, and he would demonstrate me how to take advantage of it. In my mind, I'd rather not want to be taken advantage of by the rip (as you know by now, trapped in the rip is one of the biggest fear I have when I am on a short board) But on the other hands, he would be a kind of a bro who'd watch out for me, so I told him "Yeah, I'd surf a couple of other waves".
At that very moment something I was really afraid of happened.
The cord that pulls the zipper up broke as I pulled it up again. I knew some day this would come some day because the metal part of the pull was getting pretty corroded to start with. And the inevitable did happen, and I was lucky that Ed was there to get me out of the suit if I had to. But now that it is zipped up (I thought it was) I went in and paddled out to the "out side" with him.
Turned out, and it also never fails, that when I surf with experts I also tend to be more confident and do better, and I caught like 3 more waves on bigger sets, and I was making rather aggressive moves (for my standard of course), and I ended up having a few quite nice long rides. If I remember, I have not really had this kind of long ride on my short boards so it was somewhat of a remarkable experience. And as much as there was a lot of water in the waves, it was soft enough that I did not bother me too much about the chance of messing up the take offs, and I did not mess up on take offs so I was really happy about that. It really is a good thing for me to have so many local bros, and just be in the water with them gives me so much comfort and confidence. If I stayed there by myself, I would have had that much fun; especially it was kind of drab and foggy day too. When bros like Ed shows up, and we paddle out together on a rip, I know how easy it is to get out and catch these bigger outside sets, and as a result of it, I would do better too.
So even though, sometimes, they would challenge my abilities, I really appreciate the fact that they are happy to be in the water with me, and I think that is really the true broism there is in surfing. I was also thinking about another time with my regular buddy who is really an excellent competitive surfer and he and I would go on a knee high day at the Jetty and share the waves and still he'd shred the hell out of the puny waves, and I also have fun catching ton on the waves too, totally having a blast. So I am so very fortunate to have found these two of my local buddies.