Re:the stories - 2007/03/26 14:57Okay, I promised a pic of this spot and here it is. Like I said, you can barely see it thanks to the damage to the film and camera. My friend took this shot of me on the inside section. This was about the standard size, but it was about 1/4 times bigger on the outside. It doesn't look like too much until you remeber that this is the Gulf Coast of Florida.
| | The topic has been locked.
Re:the stories - 2007/03/26 18:59hahaha farkin yew!!thats insane..better than what i been get round here lately..pitty the pick got ruined...woulda been a sick pic too..
| | The topic has been locked.
Re:the stories - 2007/03/26 23:19Yeah, I was a little cheesed when I saw how crappy the ONE pic left was. For one thing it's barely viewable, and for another, I swear that must have been the worst section of the worst wave that day. If you check my album, you'll see that I know my shacks from my dribblers. The picture looks like a weak left-handed shoulder with no barrel, but that day had grinding PITS. The picture is just of a softer section.
| | The topic has been locked.
Re:the stories - 2007/03/27 13:19Yeah, thanks man. That was entertaining as hell!
| | The topic has been locked.
the stories - 2007/03/28 01:01hello
great story but when you believe this story you will believe there are wave's from 10 feet in holland now way!!!! but for sure good story
Re:the stories - 2007/04/25 14:34Okay, I've got another one. This one's not so spectacular, but it's from my days of working and living on the coastline before I stupidly moved inland. But that's another story. I'll be moving back to the coast soon anyway.
So I used to live nestled up against a refinery, a few blocks from the beach, and about 5 miles from work. That's 3 miles if I went straight to work, but 5 miles if I stopped to check the surf first. So, 5 miles from work. As long as it wasn't raining, I'd be up at 6:00, out the door at 6:30, down to the water by 7:00, surf for an hour or so, and then get to work by 9:00 with time to hit the beach shower and change into some more respectable clothes.
This was back before I needed the 'net to check the surf. Since I'd ride past my homebreak every morning, I'd surf when it looked good, and go to work early when it didn't. To heck with forecasts.
This particular warm early fall morning, the Santa Anna's were blowing strongly. I got up, had some toast and a bananna, rolled up my work clothes and dumped 'em in my boardbag, grabbed my bike, shifted the bag onto my shoulder and pedaled off down the street a few minutes before sunrise. I had caught it pretty good the morning before and expected to get some leftovers today. Mondays were good with light crowds, but Tuesdays tended to be the emptiest.
The refinery stink was blowing into the neighborhood, but I didn't mind since it helped push me up the hill I had to climb. I hit the top and then coasted down, stopping at the light before the big hill down to the water. As I came over the top, the sight that greeted me was electrifying! The sky was a pale yellow-pink and the ocean was a deep inky blue. Lines were stacking up all the way out as far as the eye could see. Yesterday's NW had built during the day and overnight! Still, I was used to good swells back then, so I coasted nonchalantly down the hill and zoomed onto the beachfront bikepath, hooking a right toward work. The parking lot was surprisingly busy for a Tuesday with a lot of guys watching the boomers coming in. Spray was blowing off the backs in classic offshore style, but the beach was a huge mess of closeouts and shoulders were hard to spot. There were a few black dots in the whitewash, but I already could tell that the sets were running DOH+ from how far out it was breaking. I saw one guy hang up on a lip as I rode north. He scratched and scratched trying to get his gun (or at least a semi-gun) down the face, but the wind stuck him on the lip like a fly on flypaper. I laughed as he got pitched off a 14' face and then got hammered by another set wave before I was past him and headed north.
Finally, I got to the jetty and locked my bike to the chain link fence there. Oh man, did it look hot! A little closed out, but I was just planning on hunting down some closeout barrels anyway. So I hauled my stuff halfway down to the water where I could keep an eye on it and suited up. The air was vibrating from the cracking and booming of the surf. I eschewed my maneuverable Kicks for the more powerful Vipers, figureing I'd need the extra push to get into the big ones. I watched huge tube spits blow out from sculpted outsiders while I stretched out. It was tough to keep from just sprinting for the water, but it looked big and I needed to be sure I was warmed up and ready to go. I took care to loosen up my neck as well, because a lot of those wally inside dredgers were pulling up sand. There was a lot of whitewash moving around, but it looked like the jetty rip was working and there was a lot less power in the whitewash grinding around next to the rocks.
There was nobody out, but one guy showed up, jogging down from the parking lot with a 7'-ish hybrid something tucked under his arm. Whatever it was, it looked thin and pointy. He glanced at my board--all 41.75 squishy polypro inches of it and asked if I was going out. I said "Every day", (which was kinda true--I skipped weekend crowds back then unless I had nothing else going on) and he said he was glad somebody else was crazy enough to paddle out.
So I hit the water running and skimmed over a body-whomping shorey, bogging down alongside the jetty. I started paddling and duckdiving through the inside whitewash. I got to the notch in the jetty, where a little eddy usually forms, with relative ease and floated there, reassesing the situation. Semi-gun was picking his way out along the rocks. From the eddy, the outside look consistant as f--k. Every time I thought there was a lull, another set would come sweeping in. Finally, I nutted up and left my little protected alcove. I powered under 5 walls of head-high whitewash and got a little reprieve. Looking back, I saw that I had cleared 20 yards past the end of the jetty and a big rip was forming around me as all that water from the sets rushed back out to sea. I didn't complain, I just rode that foamy rip out as far as it wanted to go, figuring it'd be safer to approach these bombers from the outside. Boy was I wrong.
I lost track of semi-gunner. I think he might have gotten washed off the rocks and given up. The rip deposited me way on the outside only a few yards short of the pipeline marker bouy. It was pure luck to have such an easy paddle out. Floating where--I thought I was--waaay outside, I started checking for a good place to try to hook into a shoulder, but I kept watching for sets. Just in case. The water moved restlessly, you could feel that there was a lot of power moving around.
Then a set came through and I realized I had badly misjudged the size of the swell. I turned and scratched for the outside as a moster wall of blue lumbered in. I went over the feathering top and was immersed in a deluge of spray. There was no time to waste, though, because bigger waves were stacking up out back. I scratched with everything I had and barely made it under the next 3 waves. The last one, I pushed a shallow duck-dive halfway up the face, afraid I'd get pitched. I broke through the back and ditched my board, swimming as hard as I could to break through and not go over the falls. I barely avoided getting sucked back over that monster.
It felt like I was miles to the outside now, and my attention was fixed on the horizon, watching for another set. I forced myself to take long deep breaths and really oxygenate my blood. To be honest, I was thinking about just turning tail and calling it quits. Being out alone in those blue-backed monsters was pretty unnerving and getting rolled to shore by the whitewash and maybe catching a small insider was looking better and better. But, stupid me, my ego wouldn't let me go without at least trying for one.
A new set appeared, and I let the first two go by, they looked walled. They lifted up up up, and I felt my stomach drop as I descended the backside in a downpour from the spray blowing off the lip. The third one was a true macker, but it looked peakier than the first two. I didn't have any experience with waves this big, so I had no real clue as to how long it would hold up or where I could get into a bomb like this thing. I took a wild guess at where it would break, paused, then started scratching for it with everything I had. I kept looking back the whole time as this thing swept up behind me like a ocean liner, blocking out the morning sun and then lifting, lifting, lifting me. I could feel the massive push of the bomb, and it was moving FAST, shoving me forward. The wind came screaming up the face, fighting against my pitiful attempt to paddle up to speed. The wave was going vertical and all I could think of was that I was going to get glued to the lip, just like the surfer I had laughed at. And then I looked forward.
OH SH_T! I had drifted directly out from the jetty! The wave was peaking on the submerged pipeline! I wasn't just going to get tossed, I was going to get tossed and ground to hamburger on the jetty rocks! Of more immediate concern, the pipeline bouy was right in front of me! The bouy came up the face and I could see my life flashing before my eyes. But at the last second, the bouy hit the end of it's mooring chain and submerged with a "PLOOSH!" only a foot or two infront of me.
To this day, I'm fairly sure that bouy saved my life. The bouy created a little warble in the macker and some whitewash tumbled down the face. It tagged me and I broke free, bombing down the face one or two degrees shy of a totally vertical air-drop. That was the biggest drop of my life. It was about as far as standing on the roof of a 2-story house, so I'd guess the face height between 18 and 24 feet. It was a good thing the offshores had groomed everything perfectly smooth, because I had almost no control.
I went screaming down that face and I hauled back on the board as hard as I could, gouging out a 2-g bottom turn to the left. My dual-stringer MS folded like a wet tortilla. I don't know if it was my imagination, but I thought I heard the descending lip whistling as the lip fell behind me. The moster wall to my left seemed a mile high, and it bent in the fashion that perfect glistening bow that appears right before a barrel. Even running for the shoulder faster than I've ever gone before, the lip caught up with me and passed me. I dared to edge a little closer to the wave so as not to get lipped as I dropped into the biggest tube I've ever seen. No joke, I think you could've fit the Pacific Surfliner engine inside that massive barrel. For about three perfect seconds (seemed like a million years) I was deep in a highway tunnel of blue-green water. Things seemed to go quiet and the water was like glass under my board. It got very dark. Then it got lighter. For a crazy second, I thought I was going to come out of that immense tube like a f-cking superhero and maybe throw a little 360 for style. Then Kona read my thoughts and said "WRONG you stoopid little booger!" The tube made a sound like a giant lung inhaling. I'd heard that sound before. A split-second later, a hurricane of spray blew past me in a giant tube spit. Unfortunately, before I could follow the spray to freedom, the wave hit the outside sandbar, jacked and closed out for probably a half-mile.
I was riding the high-line trying to make it out clean, which was a big mistake, because high on the face is the worst place to be on a massive closeout that's still a healthy near-TOH. I went up the darkening spray-filled tube like a fly on the inside of a cement mixer. At this point, I finally bailed. I let go of the board and curled into a tight little ball as I came unglued from the ceiling of the collapsing tube. It was a loooooooong trip over the falls. I had time to think: I haven't hit YET?! I HAVEN'T HIT YET!?!? three times before I hit. It felt like I hit my board (or maybe a chunk of cement) that water was HARD! I kept my senses enough to feel myself go around again at least once more before I lost all sense of direction. I felt my leash wrap around my legs for an instant and worried about getting hogtied (happened to me before) before it snapped and was gone. My fins got snatched away, my wetsuit unzipped and pulled halfway down. I stayed very calm though, trying to relax and conserve air without uncurling. I finally stopped spinning deep in darkness. Luckily I had hit bottom a few times and came to rest with my head being pressed into the sand. I turned around, kicked off the bottom, and swam for the surface. It got lighter and lighter. My ears popped, I came up so far. It was like swimming up from the bottom of the pool below a high-dive and I was really low on air, despite everything I had done. I panicked a little bit at the end, swimming up all-out, f_ck calm. I broke the surface critically low on air, gasping, choking, and gagging.
Got two big whooping breaths before getting slammed by the whitewash from the next wave. That wasn't so bad, though. I stayed near the surface and let it roll me inside. Got a breath in the middle by being recirculated to the top. Got my suit zipped up partway before the next wall of whitewash and half-bodysurfed toward the inside. I didn't know where my fins or board were, and I didn't much care. I just wanted to get out. Finally I bodysurfed one in to shore and dragged my half-drowned ass up on the beach. I was sitting there when who should show up but semi-gun guy with newly-creased board. He said "Holy sh_t, dude." I said. "Yeah."
I looked for my fins for a little while but eventually gave up and went to shower off and get to work. I got in around 8:45 and my hands had stopped shaking by about 10. Later that day, one of our office's "hardcore" desk jockeys came by and invited me to go indoor rock-climbing. "It's gonna be INTENSE!" He said. "I bet." I said as I politely declined.
Sorry, no pictures this time. What I wouldn't give to have a photo of that ride, though!