Wed 19 Oct 05

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.