Sun 27 Aug 06

Surf Report # 15

Location: Devil’s Punch Bowl State Park – 8 miles N of Newport, OR
Time: 1:00 pm- 3:00 pm
Air Temp: 59° F
Water Temp: 52° F
Wind: From N 17 mph
Waves: Salty
Gear: 5/3 wetsuit, 5 mm boots, 3 mm gloves, .5 mm hood

We drove by Devil’s Punch Bowl State park last night on our way to look for a campground along the coastal highway, but only stopped long enough to wander around the cliffs above the beach, watch the throngs of surfers below, and eat some seafood at Mo’s at Otter Crest.

After camping at Beverly Beach State Park last night, waking leisurely and cooking breakfast over the campfire, I decided to give the salt water a shot. The waves lined up gorgeously in the deepest part of the bay and seemed to gain some size and messiness as you wandered down the beach. Most of the surfers (and there were lots, probably at least thirty at any given time) congregated near the smaller cleaner waves, so I wandered down the beach to avoid bumping anyone’s elbows.

It felt so good to pull on a wetsuit again after a couple of months away and I literally ran into the water with my board under my arm. The first few shots of saltwater to the face and eyes were a little startling even as I was mentally bracing for the sting, but everything normalized after the first half hour or so (save for the occasional gulp of salt down the throat).

I quickly discovered that I had no need to feel self conscious about my surfing skill level and surfing near other surfers turned out to be pretty much a non-issue. Sure, there were a few guys pulling off long graceful rides down the lines, but for the most part people were obviously very recreational surfers. Old ladies, old men, kids, lots of guys in their twenties. Nothing fancy, but I easily caught more than my share.

Waves were good sized and way more predictable than in Lake Michigan. Much easier to navigate your way back outside, though I have a lot of work to do to smoothly pop through the breakers. I had a couple of spectacular wipeouts, cartwheeling under water, board bouncing off my head, legs and arms akimbo, laughing as I burst back to the surface. And a couple memorable rides, caught outside and ridden all the way to shore with a few pseudo bottom turns thrown in for good measure.

Lots of sunshine, hours of waves, and good friendly vibes throughout the water. This was a nice site to stumble onto.