Thursday September 15th
The South has not given up yet. A few weeks earlier in the South Pole region were some strong relentless wind blowing for several days continuously. Some, if not all, of this enormous energy started to propagate in the form of long period swells.
In the meantime here in Nor Cal, and more specifically to my body and the immediate vicinity, my sinus problem has started to clear away, and I was definitely enjoying food and wine last night with the full dimension of senses. You never appreciate all the senses you have until you lose even just one. And when this afternoon at the beach I was able to get the sense of the bad ocean smell due to blossoming red tides.
Long period swells give different kind of breaks even when the swell height is very small. They come up as if from nowhere and the mound of water start to build up and before you know it, the breaks are already overhead and when they close out, there is just a massive amount of white water that forms.
When I arrived at the beach, the wind was almost negligible and so the surface of the water was rather calm, but when the waves broke there was more of the thunderous quality to it. This is no longer for casual surfer's realm, but only the best and most experienced can really take advantage of it. While I knew clearly that some pounding and hold downs are inevitable, I had to go, because I was just curious if this is going to be my limit or not, and it almost was.
Getting out was different from the usual short period and wind blown breaks that I am accustomed to. Instead of one after another of waist high soup, this time, I had to contend with 3-4 seconds apart of chest to shoulder high soups. My usual shallow duck diving are no longer working, instead, I have to really put a lot of weight over the shoulder, submerge the front completely and then really move fast to the back and push really hard to submerge the tail. If I screw up and go too shallow, then "bang!" I will be thrown backwards and then jostled in the huge mess of white water, which of course, throw me back good 10-15 feet back, requiring me to get back out to where I just was. As I thought I was "outside enough" bigger set would come sometimes, and I'd screw up getting through those, but if they close out just right in front of me, then I'd be treated with additional burden of being held under a bit. All of which, at my current level of confidence, I can handle no problem, but still are very unpleasant experience, as I try to swim up, it almost feels like a long time before I reach the surface. These are kind of things you only hear about from big wave surfers, and what I am experiencing is a miniature scale episode, like when I started to surf, all the waves were huge!
I had one really good and fun ride on a huge reform. But the rest of the times, I was waiting either for a "huge" reform or small ridable waves; none of which came as I waited for waves in a safe outside zone.
In the meantime, there were a select few people who were really catching a lot of waves. So again, it has been a very humbling experience, and I am glad that I came back in one piece, so to speak.
Surfing continues to be a long journey for me.