Monday, August 14, 2006

New swell in town

The National Weather Service said that there was a low probability of a SSW swell arriving last night. It didn't. It arrived this morning.

I awoke early this morning, as I do most mornings, to back pain. Nothing much I can do about it except get up, take some ibuprophen, start the coffee brewing, and check the surf. The surf looked okay, but there was a pretty good-sized crowd out for 6am. I had my coffee and read the news, but I kept coming back to the window to stare. That's usually I sign that I should paddle out.

Finally around 8am I could no longer resist the salmon urge. I waxed the board, kissed Sue goodbye, and went on out. My subconcious must be pretty good at reading these things, because when I got out to the break there were only two other people out. The dawn patrol had paddled in to get ready for work, and it was time for what Carpenter Rick refered to as "The Gentleman's Hour".

I caught a few nice waves and then there was a lull. The two other fellows paddled in and were replaced by a young couple. Back in the day, when I surfed here more regularly, Tongs had a definite local-vibe. People knew each other and outsiders, while not explicitly shunned, were not given the best waves. That seems to have changed quite a bit. Every time I've paddled out here this trip, there have been a number of tourists, usually couples, as well as quite a few women surfers. In fact, this morning was the first time I had been out when there were more men than women. It's a nice change.

The young couple arrived mere moments too late for the set that wandered in. It was aiming for the outer reef and I was paddling for the horizon as I heard behind me "Paddle, honey. Paddle! PADDLE HARD!!!" I didn't see them again for a half hour.

The set was 4' and punchy. The waves would ledge up such that the take-offs were an easy glide into the top of the wave, followed by an elevator drop as it turned concave. I caught as many waves as I could until my arms began to protest. My final wave took me far inside, where I passed the earlier-mentioned couple. They had found a location that was right for them.

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