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Posts Tagged ‘Boodle’

Even in over crowded California there are empty line ups for the intrepid.

Even in over crowded California there are empty line ups for the intrepid.

This blog was originally published on November 22 2009 on myspace.com.  About a week ago or so Kooky Kyle dug it up from my archives and recommended I reblog it here on SurfingRuinedMyLife.net.  Its funny cause its only four years ago and my life has changed in so many ways, yet in other ways certain things never change.  At the time my professional surfing career (or lack there of) was teetering on the cusp of extinction being paid  more  for my life style then surfing ability.  To supplement my meager income I worked a dead end job as the night attendant at a gas station in Goleta where I pretty much got paid to sit around read books, write my blog, listen to the same 50 tired hip hop songs all day on 103.3 The Vibe and be rude to customers.  Ever see clerks?  I was that guy.

Adrienne and I were just in the honeymoon stages of our to become tragic romance.  Two years down the drain.  “Better to have loved and lost then to not have loved at all”?  You can read Bowing Out if you want to rehash my misery cause that’s the only place your going to get lamentations about her.  I’m over it and can honestly say I have completely moved on with my life.  I think a year of mental and emotional torture on the subject was enough thank you.
Garden of Eden Parody

The 2009-2010 Season was an El Nino year and some of the best surf I have ever had the privilege to surf in the 805.  It might have been the best season of surfing for me personally in my entire life.  I was in the prime of my game, had curbed my drinking  and thanks to my easy schedule was always on it.  I met this dude Mark who stowed away with three of my boys from New Jersey on a trip from San Francisco to San Diego.  My old friend Alex was in medical school up in SF and was moving to SD for his residency.  Two of my other boys Sweet Charles and Dave, the Spring Lake crew, met up with him for an adventure down the coast.  

Mark another Spring Lake kid had just recently moved to Santa Cruz to loosely attend college but mostly surf and thus ultimately stopped going to class altogether.  The boys met up with him in SC then worked their way down to Santa Barbara where all of us scored some great sessions.  I should dig up that blog too for a blast from the past at some point.  The boys hung around for a few days till the swell backed off.  Mark offered his couch to me anytime I wanted to come up and surf Santa Cruz.  

After a lack luster week of surf and bad winds I browsed the forecast for Santa Cruz and sure enough it looked like a decent run of surf.  I called my boy Malone another Jersey guy who came out for the season and was living with Cory at the Palace.  He had wanted to come on one of  my crazy surfing jaunts for a while.  Just like that the stage was set for another imbecilic Chris Lisanti endeavor.  I apologize ahead of time for all the crazy different text size and fonts.  It pasted over from myspace all fucked up and I was too lazy to deal with the coding issues.  Any notes in “red” were added as hindsight notes.
North County Santa Cruz

November 22 2009

I woke up Bundled in all the clothes I was wearing the night before under a comforter and two blankets and was absolutely freezing starring face to face with Mark’s roommate’s tiny little cat Boodle sort of thinking maybe I should have stayed in the Barb.  Mark was already up boiling some water for tea and coffee psyched to be going on a mission up north since town was still pretty small and bogged with the tide.  I had driven the PCH up that stretch between Santa Cruz and Pacifica before and knew the raw potential of that coastline, just bursting with reefs, points and beachies, not to mention plenty of sharks.

Mark and Boodle

Mark and Boodle

 We got Malone up, warmed our insides with some tea and hit the road.  As expected the Lane was super high and completely un-ride-able.  We gave a check from the road on 4-mile (another tiny reefy point outside of town).  It was better there but had a few guys on it and was nothing special.  With 50 miles plus coastline to explore it seemed a waste to go for a paddle there.  Once out of town we checked a spot just North of Davenport, which was decent but had a few long boarders on it and was a bit fat looking. On a later trip Mauriello, Mark and I would score that place pretty fun.

Past there we drove for another ten miles or so before coming to a dip in the cliffs exposing a beach break and outer reef break with a handful of guys on it. There was plenty more size there, overhead at least. We drove on another mile or so and pulled off at this look out point on top of bluffs a solid 150 feet high. Below we spied out a series of reef breaks each having something to offer. The closest one to the previous break we passed had like three or four guys on it and was a somewhat fun looking right reef that we determined was well overhead after a watching someone get a wave.

What really interested us was this other reef about 100 yards north from the one being surfed.  From the looks of the set up it was a perfect A-frame reef with a short slabby left that appeared from our vantage point to end in a bit of dry reef.  The right meanwhile set up a heaving thirty yard barrel section before opening up to allow some turns.  This wave looked unreal, but the real tricky problem was figuring out how to get to the thing.  After about the first forty yards or so there was nothing but sheer cliff easily 100 feet down.  We gave it about ten minutes of deliberation on ways to get to the slab before deciding it too much work. Time was wasting and Malone was getting antsy. Every time I am up there I check this wave and have never seen it as good as that day.  I still have yet to surf it.

So perfect and yet so hard to reach.

So perfect and yet so hard to reach.

The vote was to move on.  Mark claimed he knew of a pretty decent beach break a bit further north near a lumber mill that he scoped out a few weeks back on a school excursion.   It was worth a shot.  Sure enough we pulled up to this beach break that looked about head high (in reality it was solid overhead) from the cliffs and there were peaks up and down this 500 yard stretch of beach.  It was rather breath taking.  All around us were these pine tree covered hills, on top of one was this lumber mill permeating the air with that saw dusty/pine smell. The beach was surrounded by cliffs except for a small section where there was a small river mouth that forced a break in the cliffs allowing easy access.

One of the reefs near the lumber mill.

One of the reefs near the lumber mill.

 I could tell right away that this was a beach/reef break mix by the way the waves were breaking.  On the southern most corner of the beach there was this right hander that was from the cliff anyway peeling off for a solid 50 yards or so bowling around itself the whole way down the line.  It kind of looked a bit soft, but certainly the best wave with accessibility we had seen.  At this point all three of us were bugging to get some surf and the decision was made to give the reef a go.

Some of the scenery at the spot.

Some of the scenery at the spot.

We suited up and walked down the refreshingly gradual trail to the break.  As we got closer the wave just kept looking more and more fun.  There was one guy on it and he was going left most of the time.  The left although much shorter was certainly punchy, worth a turn and a rampy close out section.  I paddled out and snagged a left off the bat, went for a hit under the lip and got destroyed and then proceeded to get caught inside for an eight wave set.  This is not very fun when the water is hovering in the low 50’s. 

 I got back out there and picked off a decent right, got tubed off the drop then hit it four times before the wave petered out in the channel.  After that I had a few more decent rides.  Both Mark and Malone were getting their share as well, Malone opting for the outside bombs, while Mark hung on the inside for the racy double ups.  The reef was pretty sick.  The wave would come in and go square off the drop, then it would bowl around itself for like another 30 yards or so giving a decent section to get at least two turns in.  The bigger ones were a bit mushy off the drop but then rolled into the slab and threw out super wide.

The beach break/river mouth combo

The beach break/river mouth combo

 After about thirty minutes of having the place to ourselves five other surfers paddled out, it was no big deal , there were still plenty of waves.  I was sitting pretty deep on the reef when this sizable set, probably the biggest yet popped up in front of me.  I took off on the second one a little deep.  I got to my feet, dropped in and next thing I know Im flying through the air upside down waiting to get destroyed by the lip.  The fucking thing hit me hard and sent me real deep.  I cant remember the last time I got hit by a wave that hard and held down that long.  Turns out according to Mark who had front row seats to the whole endeavor I dropped into a lip on top of a slabby double up causing me to eat shit. Come to think of it I got worked pretty hard the entire session only ridding a 5’10 when I should have had something more substantial. This has become one of my favorite spots in Northern California and I make it a point to surf there if its fun whenever I am in the area. 

We ended up surfing the place for a solid three and a half hours till it started to turn off a little with the lower tide, although it was still pretty decent.  From there we headed further north down the windy PCH as it followed the cagily coastline.  We passed numerous setups and spots that had potential.  There were just waves everywhere.  We pulled over and checked this beach break called Gazo Creek that just looked like there were perfect right peelers breaking off this river mouth reef thing.  Still cold and tired from our last session we decided to keep on the search.

What we were greeted with in the lot at Gazo.  As we would later find out that wave was more then double overhead and heavy.

What we were greeted with in the lot at Gazo. As we would later find out that wave was more then double overhead and heavy.

The boys and I ended up going all the way up to Pacifica and at that point I found it prudent to take Malone and Mark to Mavericks, which would not be breaking but at the very least they could get a look at the famous set up.  We got to the parking lot and some dude was suiting up to charge it.  Sure enough when we got in front of the cliff it was tiny (by Mav’s standards) maybe only 15 foot or so and just barely clearing the rocks, but strong enough that one could really get an understanding of how serious of a wave it is.

Mark Foo was a world class big wave rider who lost his life at Mavericks back in the early 90's.  This rock stands at the foot of the break in his memory.

Mark Foo was a world class big wave rider who lost his life at Mavericks back in the early 90’s. This rock stands at the foot of the break in his memory.

With waning light we decided our best bet was to truck it back to Gazo Creek and try our luck at the beach break.  We got there a little after four and by now some thick ominous gray clouds had moved in obscuring the sun set session we were hoping to relish.  The surf still looked really sick though and I had a feeling it was way bigger then the 4-6 feet we thought.  Malone opted out claiming it looked like a lot of work to put on a cold wet 4/3 to only get a few waves before dark and added he did not want to feel like fish food either.

Pacifica Peir

Pacifica Pier

 Mark and I were still up for the challenge and suited up.  Keep in mind this is a big open beach in the middle of nowhere in the wake of this old lighthouse not too far up the coast from it.  With every passing minute it was getting darker.  I handed Malone the camera so he could document our potential attack and subsequent death and we gave it a paddle.  As soon as Mark and I got down to beach level we knew we may have bit off more then we could chew (no pun intended).

Still looking somewhat inviting although a bit on the creepy side.

Still looking somewhat inviting although a bit on the creepy side.

 The shore break was solid head high and the white water on the inside was overhead.  There was a lot of water moving around and the sets were with out a doubt double overhead if not bigger.  We jumped in and immediately were fighting a current and thrashing our way out through the immense white water.  At first I was not sure if we were going to even make it to the lineup.  Finally after a few minutes of cold heavy ducking diving and paddling in place a channel opened up. Before we knew it we were out there.

Just to the north of Gazo is  Pigeon Pt and its subsequent self named light.  Pigeon Pt is also one of the biggest seal rookeries in California.

Just to the north of Gazo is Pigeon Pt and its subsequent self named light. Pigeon Pt is also one of the biggest seal rookeries in California.

 Im not going to lie at that point the surreal setting of the place began to get to me and I realized how small and insignificant I was in the food chain.  I had no way to judge the lineup not knowing if I was too far out or in.  I panicked and brought down Mark with me.  We decided to get one and go in quitting while we were ahead.  This break was in the middle of nowhere, it was sketchy as hell, we were in the heart of shark country during feeding time and the nearest hospital was easily a 45-minute drive away.  All of this was in my opinion a really bad combination for disaster.  Yeah these were all entities I should have considered before the actual paddle out, but when have I ever been one to sufficiently think anything I do through.  

There was not too much time to think about it thanks to a set that sneaked up on us out the back. To our dismay we took it on the head as a result of being out of position too far inside.  After the set passed I snagged an overhead in between wave that I got a hit and a floater out of.  Mark was right behind me on a smaller one that peeled all the way to beach giving him three solid turns.  We debating going back for more but ultimately chose to call it a day so we could live to surf tomorrow.  Both of us thought about those waves all night and the next day.  It did not help that as we walked up the beach we watched set after set of perfect double overhead rights peel down the beach.  On a pair of 5’9’s there was no way we could tackle it.  This spot would have to be conquered some other time.  We never conquered and I still have yet to surf there again.  As a matter of fact we were in a surf shop in town later in the trip and when we told the surf shop employee where we surfed he freaked “You have to be a nut to surf there.  There are more sharks then fish in the ocean at that spot.  You two were lucky to get out with your lives.”

The small non-set wave I caught to make my escape.

The small non-set wave I caught to make my escape.

That night Mark took us to this killer Mexican restaurant after which we went back to his place.  There we warmed ourselves with a cup of tea huddled around a lit stove burner. Over tea we excitingly conversed on  the day’s events and what the swell would bring in the morning. With that kind of sensory overload the three of us passed out in complete and utter exhaustion.  I cant remember the last time I slept on the floor so well.

There are nothing like little adventures like this that are relatively unplanned and enjoyed by the seat of one’s pants.  These days I am so locked in it seems I have less and less opportunity for adventure.  Every time I am in Santa Cruz I stop and eat a meal that Mexican joint.  I hope you enjoyed this reading this re-post as much as I had reliving it in my head when I edited it.

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