three days of miracles

Surfing (and Kayaking) 04-07

Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, July 10th through 12th. The wind has been down, and when it has been blowing, it’s been coming from the south. It’s brought moist warm air and warm surface waters to the North Coast. The hard, regional WNW swell that was kicking up so much sand during the last two weeks fell off completely, leaving only a 15-18 second period groundswell from the S and SSW and SW.

The National Weather Service predicted an upper level trough over the pacific northwest and small waves all week. As predicted, wind waves were down and combined swell heights were rarely above 3 feet around the region. Winds stayed down until Tuesday afternoon. The groundswell swell started off small on Sunday morning, at about 1.6 feet, but had climbed to 3.3 feet by today (Tuesday the 12th). The tide was lined up so that the highest tide of the day was occurring at or just after sunset all three of these days.

Surfing 04. The wind took Sunday off; it was a real day of rest. The surface of the sea glassed over and the water turned green in the sun and clear gray in the clouds. Small rolling waves lapped at every shore from Indian Beach to the Nehalem Bay. If you wanted to take a longboard out you had your pick of 15 miles of beaches and rocks. It was 65 degrees, sunny, and absolutely calm right into the evening. My dad and I started out Sunday morning early, just after low tide, with a trip to Short Sands. We were two of about 8 people there at 6:30 am. There was not a lot happening. The sheltered cove was pretty tame. Well, we had our walk and our cold water paddle out and splash about. There was one really bad downside: I bumped my cheaply made and lightweight Doyle’s nose into the sand on a stupid, shallow take off, and cracked it real good. That’s gonna cost me.

All day Sunday, playing on the beach (with a perfect, sunny, afternoon low tide, where the kids had tons of fun in the wet sand and we rode our skimboards a bit) I marveled at the light breezes and general absence of wind.

Kayaking 05. As the evening approached I checked all the buoys from Tillamook to Astoria and everywhere it was 60 degree water and dead calm, with small local wind waves and knee high groundswell from the SW. I declared that evening was going to be a second session, right in Arch Cape, on Kayak. And so it was. I went out after the kids were down, about 8:30 pm, and stayed out into the darkening evening, only finishing up about 9:30. So many fun rides. Bob Cerelli came out (I knew he would). He taught me a thing or two. Awesome tips thank you Bob. My dad shot some video for about 30 minutes, then finally suited up and brought out his boogie board too. The waters were that irresistible. Totally priceless sunset surf. (It was so calm that I bet it would probably even have been awesome way up at Sunset Beach, too. Oh, someday.)

Surfing 06. Sitting in the calm waters that night, I could tell that Monday night was going to happen too. The morning low tide wasn’t going to be interesting, but the evening calm high tide surely would. Winds were again absent or very light, and by Monday evening they just died completely at Arch Cape. (It was funny too, because this delighted me, yet frustrated my daughter, who kept asking me if we could fly a kite; no, thank God! we cannot fly a kite right now, but the winds will surely return). The surface glassed over. Those SW rollers come in and mostly break left towards Hug Point. I did suit up after kid bedtime again, and this time took out my Super Ugly longboard. I started about 8:30, and didn’t stay long. Maybe a half hour. I got several sloppy rides. It is much more difficult to position yourself amongst these waves on a surfboard than it is in a Kayak. Although the seas were again calm, they biggest waves in the pattern were bigger than the night before. The beach break was a rough paddle or wade. I had one or two fun wild rides, and finally, after I almost got washed into the rocky berm north of Leech, I walked it home.

Surfing 07. Tuesday was rainy, and gray. The wind was again dead calm in the morning, but came up stiffly mid day. Yet, on this gray evening the wind died again. The light grew mystical. The seas cleaned up. The rollers became more visible and stable. About 8:30 I took my longboard out. Stayed out until about 9:!5. It was difficult to wade or paddle through the break with my big heavy board, but worth it for a bunch of really fun rides. The winds were dead calm on shore, but picked up out past the rocks of Arch Cape itself. In the rock’s wind shadow the seas were glassy, and the waves, were now mostly about 3 feet. Occasionally waves a full foot higher would break further out, come through and impart their mayhem to my position and to the inside. I got a few kind, glassy rides, and had my good end of day fun.

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