Saturday, February 23, 2008

Sunset Cliffs Loop: Garbage to Kellogg Beach

This was a bonus day. Supposedly we've got a bit of nasty weather bearing down on us which, of course, was preceded by two days of wind, rain and ugliness. So sandwiched right between all of this cold and gray was our bonus day, a nice, relatively windless day here in beautiful San Diego.

I was determined to take advantage of this little break in the weather and had no problem finding a rabid SUP surfer to join me. Tex is always up for a bit of adventure so we acted on a plan hatched a couple of days ago and decided to paddle around Point Loma from Sunset Cliffs into the harbor. I don't know how many miles we covered but my arms, back, legs, gut and every other piece of flesh thinks it was at least ten, probably more.

It was a really nice run but some lessons were learned:

1. High tide paddling along Sunset Cliffs with even a small swell in the water is tough. It's not the surf that's challenging, it's the backwash off the rocks. The rebounded waves bang into the incoming swell to produce what is technically known as "disorganized seas", it's pretty much a paddling nightmare. If you do this run, leave at low tide.

2. If possible time your return into the harbor to coincide with an incoming tide. Battling even a slight ebb is tough when your paddling right through the constricted mouth of the harbor, it may not seem like much at first but sum your effort over the hour it take to get back to the landing point and it becomes significant. Translation: It sucks fighting the tide.

3. Bring water and a back up paddle isn't a bad idea either. This paddle will take about three hours of continuous work, don't let yourself get dehydrated. I also think that it'd be a good idea to carry a two piece back up paddle. A broken paddle on this trip would result in a serious (five plus mile) laydown paddle to get out of the water. Be prepared.

We had a great time cruising the Cliffs, scoping out the strange military buildings and scoring some fun surf. Tex caught more waves than I did, I was preoccupied with completing the paddle before the wind came up. I did grab a couple of gems, a left at Dolphin Tank and a sweet waist high right at Ralphs.

This would be a great run for an intermediate to advanced paddler on a glassy, low tide day. I'd definitely do it again- you should too!


Anonymous said...

john sounds like fun.just got back from san miguel. small surf but on sat surfed out front.i think iam the first sup to catch on the point.paddled down to 3ms on sunday no rain and sheet glass.ense. has a lot of surf spots that are not surfable on a sit down.but ridable on a sup.captneg9.

John Ashley said...

That's the paddle I want to do! Let me know on the next weekend run, I'm in. Looks like you missed the missed the major swell by one day- starting to show big time down here. Good job on pioneering the point- how'd the local boys feel about the Neg9 attack?

Anonymous said...

the good thing is after surfing sm for 20yrs+ i know my way around the fellas they tolerate me.surfed 3ms have not surfed in about 5yrs.perfect place for break over would be stacks.about 15min paddle from mmm nice rolling left.comes out of deep water. perfect for someone with a paddle.there are so many spots that i would have never consider on a sit down.but on that standup i can catch that dam wave and have a great more waiting for the tides.then when the tide is right here comes that darn wind.cant wait to get to the war zone.surfed about 1hour at mmm next time shorten my stay dont want the stink eye.lets hook up J.A.DO THE ENSE. RUN THE HARDEST THE LAUNCH VERY ROCKY.,CAPTNEG9. CAN U IMAGINE SM TODAY

Anonymous said...

Early this fall on a sheet glass, no swell late afternoon, I paddled from Bessemer Street beach to Ralph's and was a good run but I was pretty beat by the time I got back.