I met SurfSis on the mid-week July 4th holiday in Bolsa because there was a south swell and a lot of low-tide: a combination that causes close-outs up and down SaMo and Venice. Even at 6:30am, I was met with a LINE going into the state beach. Fathers had packed up the hibachis, the charcoal, the boards, and the kids and thrown them in giant vehicles. All up and down the beach (I REPEAT, AT 6:30AM!!!) families were digging in, entrenching themselves as if the British were invading again.
Got some nice waves, a baby backside kick-out, and a really long walk back to the car. As Sister and I got out of the water, she jokingly said it would take us 30 minutes to walk back. After I started chaffing in unmentionable places because of the walk, I realized her joking was going to be our reality.
All in all, a good holiday surf.
Saturday, I stayed local because of time commitments on my day. But I was up at 4am and, after loitering and reading and getting to the beach at 7am, I realized I should not have listened to all the reports of "smaller size" and I should have driven my lazy butt out to take a gander. I arrived at home break to see head-high close-outs and I kicked myself because I probably could have done a DP run to some better break.
Instead, I got a coffee and watched the show. A surf school was out and newbies provided cringe-worthy entertainment. But there were some stars, too. Sir Richard was getting his share of one second rides down-and-up. And Sensei J was pulling into every barrel he could find. I'd see the dark shadow of his form behind the curtain of water before the whole wave exploded on top of him.
I called Sister to give her the grim report and she breathlessly told me that it was big at Bolsa. I was resolute in joining her on Sunday. I invited Sensei J along and we carpooled down. Faced with head-high A-frames he ran out into the ocean ahead of us.
I had some good waves. Nothing terribly spectacular because I realized I was barely in control on these larger waves. There's a mind-shift that has to happen and I wasn't really jump-starting the brain. Not a moment of panic because, I realized, surfing OP and its close-outs regularly makes head-high waves with shape a piece of cake to take-off on. My problem is finding the sweet spot fast enough and making my brain work fast enough. I had a really nice left that I probably could have managed to make the closing section, but I saw the lip feathering and I instinctually went low and grabbed the rail to pop over the wave. I kicked myself when I realized I should have done a top-turn and come down PROBABLY to find more shoulder on the other side.
I lost both Sensei J and SurfSister in the drift. We all had different thresholds of paddling to stay in place. Since memories of chaffing were too fresh in my mind, I vowed not to walk more than 2 lifeguard towers.
The worst thing today was facing a rogue outside wave coming right at me. I turtled, knowing full well that this beast was going to take my board and flip me into a cartwheel with it. At least I can say I didn't let go. Unfortunately, the amount of water that ran across my face also forced out my right contact. The next thirty minutes was spent having absolutely no depth perception and getting a little dizzy.
For those who understand the numbers, I am nearsighted and have a prescription for something around -13 and -14. They don't even make soft contacts strong enough to correct me to 20/20 vision. So losing the contact in my dominant eye REALLY put a kink in my ability to catch a wave. To make matters worse, there was a little lull because NO ONE around me was catching waves.
Finally, I got a little right in and walked about five minutes to the car, hoping that, if I had a spare set of contacts, I'd be able to go in for another 30 minutes. Oh well. I was just glad I didn't drive.