Wednesday, December 5, 2007

A Universal Truth: All Bets Off When Surf is On

Surf in town means plans change. Our surgical strike to the SK Factory had to be postponed because, guess what? All those guys are rabid, foaming at the mouth, surf dogs- and if there's surf to be had, they're on it. So you go with the flow, surf and don't worry about it; and that's what we did.

Here's a couple of photos of my little brother surfing in Santa Cruz. Mike was the first guy out at Privates, had to punch through a couple of head high walls of whitewash, had an asthma attack just outside the lineup and then felt like puking once he got worked a bunch of times. He lucked into a tweener, rode it for as long as he could and then had to wash in down by the Capitola Pier.

This part of Santa Cruz is just a giant series of right points so the southerly current was cranking. According to Mike, everybody was getting washed down and a few got stuck in high tide coves with no way out. Those guys were the lucky ones. In Monterey, a surfer lost his life swimming in for his lost board in big surf.

Stand up boards can get you in trouble real fast. At spots with channels, and with our extra mobility, I can foresee unprepared surfers getting into bad situations. Imagine losing your board to a swing-wide set at some heavy water offshore reef. If you can't free swim the distance, you shouldn't paddle it. With our ability to cover miles of water you might be looking at a mile or more of open water swimming. How many of us have been putting in the pool time to crank out a couple of hours of that kind of activity? Just something to consider when it gets big out there.


srfnff said...

Somebody say amen! The water here in the Cruz was littered with rescuers and rescuees who through complete ignorance either had NO CLUE, or were in way over their heads (literally).

The ancient Greeks postulated the wisdom to, "Know thyself." To that I would add..."Know thy limitations."

John Ashley said...

Agreed! Heard some pretty harrowing stories from some of my friends who got way "out the back" down here. Spots throwing out top to bottom that usually just mushball through- heavy water. Easy to feel insignificant out there. Hope you get better soon.

Anonymous said...


Funny that you would post about doing some lab swims for training. Wednesday mid day after getting beaten up for 2 hours at tables, I stopped by the solana beach boy and girls club to join the master swimmiing program to do during morning or lunch. I can knock out 2 to 3 mile cove swims without a great deal of training but I was really pissed how out of breath I was. THere was one stretch when I was caught inside after a wave for 20 minutes and go sucked off the reef into more of a beach break zone and there were waves breaking in areas I had never seen and I was being sucked south. Prone surfing in these waves is a different fitness levels and I think that I need to put the paddle board away some to prepare more for this. Most times I have been out in this size surf, I had a clear channel to count on. Not yesterday.

I always believe that you have to at least one - over skilled or over fitnessed. Yesterday, I was below on both counts.