Surf Report # 4
Location: Grand Haven, MI – South Pier
Time: 10:00 am – 1:00 pm
Air Temp: 56 F
Water Temp: 54 F
Wind: From S 13-19 mph
Waves: 3-6 feet
Gear: 5/3 wetsuit, .5 mm hood (first 30 minutes), 5 mm boots (first 30 minutes)
Surfing on exactly zero sleep after getting off of a third shift at work. No worries. Awfully fun day. Had a wind from the South for a change, so battling the rip off of the South pier was much easier. Waves were super choppy, but still plenty catchable, especially given the lower energy expendature from shore to waves.
First time the water has really felt cold to me. Jumped in with just a wetsuit at first, sans accessories. Shock to the feet, shock to the skull. Just piercing. Jumped right back out and strapped on some boots and a hood. Probably something to do with the air being warmer than the water for a change. Went with this getup until I got too warm, then peeled off the extra gear.
Surfed until I was too hungry to keep going, then nearly fell asleep repeatedly on the ride back to GR. Probably a good thing I wasn’t driving.
I am a computer gamer at heart. As much as I like to think of myself as literate and book smart and all that, my leisure time will probably always be dominated by mouse twitching over page turning. I grew up with all the true originals, the true forerunners to all the sequels we have today: Sim City 2000, Doom, Myst, Colonization, Warcraft. Doom, of course, was the one that hooked me, the one that I’d play long into the night, the one that opened up pixelated gore, individual level design, and multiplayer glory. I kind of bypassed Quake when it came out, loyally sticking to Doom 2 and putting in long hours with Hellmaker goofing around with map-making. I only finally moved on when I discovered Quake 2 in college (probably the best multiplayer experienece I’ve still had to this day) and, shortly after that, Half-Life (the only game to ever make me jump out of my shoes). And then Unreal Tournament. Then I did the whole Counter-strike thing which effectively reduced my study time to zero my junior year of college. And then Quake 3. And more recently Half-Life 2 and Far Cry. Maybe someday I’ll write about this all in depth. Really I’m just mentioning this as an excuse to say that I’m pretty excited about the deluge of games being released in the past few weeks. F.E.A.R. is simply stunning and I’ve actually gotten chills while playing through the first hour. Battlefield 2 is ridiculously fun. And Civilization IV I almost don’t dare buy because I know I’ll be hooked forever (I’ve been played Civ 3 as a warmup for the past week or so). Nerd.
Sometimes I hear Taylor drinking out of the toilet. Then two minutes later I forget and she comes sauntering up full of extra cold, extra slobbery licks to the face. And then I remember. So gross.
Surf Report # 3
Location: Grand Haven, MI – South Pier, PJ Hoffmaster State Park
Time: 10:00 am – 1:30 pm
Air Temp: 55 F
Water Temp: 58 F
Wind: From NNW 17-22 mph
Waves: 6-9 feet
Gear: 5/3 wetsuit
Yup, nine feet. No joke. The waves were crashing over the north pier when we pulled up this morning. There were legitimate barrels not too far from shore. Insane!
Got beat up and frustrated today. I had two quality rides in three and a half hours. Two. Spent of the rest of the time getting bowled over. Everything was way bigger and way faster than anything I’ve seen yet and I just don’t have the skills yet to play in waves of this caliber. Even when I tried to stay near shore it seemed like the smaller waves were rocketing by me. When I tried to paddle out to the big stuff, I just got stranded in between the break zones.
I also probably wasn’t quite in the right frame of mind for the session either. I think I expected this to be like the first two times, catching waves at will, only this time catching bigger waves. Mary came along today (curled up in the back of my car, surfboard riding shotgun) and hung out on the beach and I wanted to show off for her too. So when nothing was working it was extra annoying. And I just couldn’t switch over to “oh well, let’s make the best of it” mode.
Actaully, my first paddle out seemed really promising. We started out in Grand Haven and I paddled out closer to the pier than usually, trying to avoid some of the rip. I was able to hop up on the first wave I went for, easily the biggest wave of my short career, rode for about a second then tumbled off. I knew it was a different day when I caught it. Felt like I was riding on a jet engine, felt the energy of the wave rumbling through the board. The power level today was magnitudes higher than the other days. That was the only thing I caught for the next hour or so though.
After two hours we packed up and went to PJ Hoffmaster (no rangers on duty) and tried my luck there. No dice. Same problems. Just couldn’t get my bearings. Couldn’t figure out which waves to go for, so I’d go for the wrong ones at the wrong times and end up having to paddle back out for the next ten minutes with nothing to show for my efforts. I even tossed my board around in the water out of frustration a couple times. No surfer spirit today.
In hindsight I maybe should’ve just ditched the board for a little while and spent some time diving through waves and getting tossed around on purpose. Weather was perfect though. Sunny and clear. Felt warmer than 55 and I was sweating in my wetsuit even when in the water. Ate lunch at Sam’s Joint on the way home.
One of the best things about Autumn is watching the leaves flutter down the street as cars drive over and through them. They dance and lurch. I love it.
Tomorrow’s surf forecast looks marvelous. And it’s a day off. Oh yes!