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12-05-2004, 08:32 PM #1
Eastside, Santa Cruz, 12/05/04 (Do you like o-head dredging barrels?)
Well, yes I do like double over-head barrells, but they fucking scare the crap out of me too.
The winter that Tuffy has been complaining about has finally arrived in Santa Cruz. And that's not just because it's been 38' degrees with water temps around 50' degrees. It's the fact that the first BIG north-west swell of the season showed today.
Without checking it, I jumped in my suit at 9 am and ran out to the point. I expected a pick up in swell but nothing as big as it was. I immediately paddled out to Sewer peak to a very small pack of about 6 people. For all you skiers, when it gets big the packs tend to thin out very very quickly. The moment I get out to the bowl, I see the first lines of a big set starting rolling in. I and the rest of the pack start scrambling for the horizon. I managed to duckdive through the lip of a top-to-bottom breaking 12 foot face.
Going through that first wave, I knew that today was not a good day to be caught inside.
On my first wave of the day I realize I was severly under-gunned and on the wrong material board. My 6'4" rounded pin epoxy was more skiddish than a chiuhaua on amphetamines. But, seeing how I've broke all my other boards, I had to go with it.
The sesh pretty much consisted of sitting slightly inside waiting for the sucking up bowls, and then scrambling out to either barely get through a set or make a quick turn around and grab it.
I'll say to non-surfers that surfing big waves is nearly the scariest and most exhilirating thing you can do. Period. It's like standing on top of a 3 story building, stading on the very edge as the thing is collapsing and trying to ride it out to the bottom. So if dropping in is that exhilirating imagin what it is like to get barrelled. It's like standing under that 3 story building trusting that the whole thing won't crash on you but curl up over you and let you through a incredibly fast moving tube.
Today I got one barrel like that. As I paddelled for around a 10 foot bowl, I could see the wave started to back off, but not enough for me not to catch the wave. So I pop up, and start to witness the bottom dropping out of the wave. I push forward, get down the vertical sucking up thick bowl, straighten up down the line and realize that a second bowl is about to throw in front of me. And that's where the desicion point is. Do you 1. Straighten out down the face of the wave and ride it till you won't get beatings. 2. Kick out the top. 3. Punch through the face or 4. Point it down the line, and aim your nose to the hole, praying the lip doesn't take your head off. Well on big waves, I'll admit, lots of the time 1-3 sound like great options. But today I felt like I was surfing good. So I opted for option 4. I pulled high and felt the rush of wind as the lip crested my head. I looked out the hole and it slow motion scoped to the two guys paddling over the wave looking down the barrel right at me. That moment is what us surfers live for. The slow-motion of a barrell. It's almost like my head takes pictures of the view out of a barrell and from that moment on that image is engraved on my brain. On the peticular wave, the lip pinched off on me, but I managed to keep my balance and coming arcing off the top of the wave.
Today was sick, I got barrells, got big beat downs, big hold downs and hell uv a lot of fun.
This picture is of a medium sized set. Notice the dredging left on the right side of the picture. And the dude taking off on the wave and the relation of his height compared to the height of the wave.
This is the inside section of Sewer peak, called Pangies. Good wall, no barrells though.
12-06-2004, 09:59 AM #2
finally getting some size down here (not nearly as big as SC, as you'd expect), but it showed with a storm, rain and runoff.
12-06-2004, 11:51 AM #3
Looking pretty meager down here in Santa Barbara, Just got back checking it and it was kinda stormy and about waist high plus. Oh well.. so the waiting continues. At least someones getting some somewhere.... Nice write-up Alka. Surfing big cold surf is no joke and when its on, it can't be beat. For me the pucker factor of surfing Santa Cruz was also dependent on the weather. For some reason when it was sunny and glassy the thought of getting drilled etc got pushed farther back on the burner. It was those cold grey days where you see a wave start to feather on the horizon and you're sitting in the usual line-up, and begin scraping so you don't die that I remember most about Satna Cruz surf.