A record cold weather in this past week. There is already a report of billion dollar damage to California orange and strawberry crops. But I am proud to say that I did not skip the beat, and we all surfed on. Actually, it is not the water that I am afraid of being cold. With wetsuits, booties, squid-head hood, gloves and ear plugs, I am completely bundled and surf pretty much any time of the year around this area, and in fact, with the water temperature still at 51 to 52 F, once I am in the water it isn't any colder than any other days this time of the year. In fact, I have surfed at the Jetty in late April or May amidst spring up-welling when it was 48 F, so I know it can get even colder in the water.
However, I am not saying that there is no toucher. Winter surfing means we need to work with longer period swells, more tidal water movements (as we are actually closer to the Sun than in the summer) and once I am out of the water taking off the wetsuits can be punishingly cold.
After having got sick of fighting the crowd, I've decided to pick a local and less frequented spot this morning. As far as that goes it was a tremendous success, since beside myself there were total of 2, or may be 3 more surfer in the entire mile stretch of the beach. But catching the waves were really tricky this morning. Either the waves backed off, or closed out, seemingly nothing in between. And when I got caught in one of the big closeouts, I thought I was going to die. Then I caught one wave which was decent to start with and built up to be a fun wave but then the next moment it transfromed into a huge shorebreak this location if famous for. I did an emergency jump off and saved my board, life or both.
I paddled back a few more times, and when the chill set inside the suit, I paddled hard in one direction or another just keep my body to generate more heat, that works, and if anything it was a great opportunity to burn more calories. And at the same time my body is tightening up squeezing more water out of the system and you know what happens next.
But when I get up tomorrow morning, I would feel the urge to get out and do it all over again.