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Session: Rifle barrel

Written by DrC123 show DrC123 profile

Friday February 9 2007 09:00:00 AM

Surf spot: Ray Bay, United States of America

Surf Trip: The Endless Summer 63-73 ( 15 November 1963 - 07 June 2007)

Session's Rate:

Wind direction: Offshore

Wind Strength: Light

Nb waves ridden: Lots ...

Length of the surf session: 120 min

Surfboard ridden: Long Board

Fins: 2+1

Waves height: 2m-2.5m / 6ft-8ft

Waves Quality:
- Powerful
- Fast
- Hollow

Waves Shape:
- Walls
- Multipeaks
- Bowl



A clear, crisp “Indian Summer” morning in December 2003 ... light NE Santa Anna offshore wind blowing off the desert.  Ray Bay ... the San Gabriel river mouth sand bar, Seal Beach, California. A big WNW ground swell rolling down from a massive low pressure storm system in the gulf of Alaska. 


 Naval Weapons Break,+California&ie=UTF8&t=k&om=1&z=15&ll=33.740864,-118.102169&spn=0.017415,0.043001

There are three lineups in the river mouth depending on the sand bars and the tide. Barracudas, way out at the end of the northern breakwater, Middles in the center and Crabs out in front of the southern breakwater see the Google map. Once in a blue moon it is possible to catch a set out at Cuda’s and ride it all the way past Crabs ... over a mile.

On this morning giant peaks were rolling in Middles and peeling all the way across Crabs.  Due to the “Surfline” swell report everyone and their dog was there including a local TV Channel and the entire Huntington Beach crew (HB was closing out). Water temp in the river was a chilly 60F a few degrees warmer than up or down the coast due to the warm water discharge from upriver power stations ... hence the summer breeding ground for the largest population of Stingrays in California and the name Ray Bay.  

Peeled on my O’Neil 3/2 watching local “River Bob” in cheater five mode scooting across a long glass wall and paddled out quickly during a lull.  Sat just a little inside of the outside pack and outside the inside group ... watched a couple of sets roll in noting that the outside waves did not connect with the center peak.

Then the horizon lit up with peaks ... everyone started scratching seaward.  Realized the outside bunch were too far out and too far inside to catch the set I took off on the second wave ... a monster at least three feet overhead.


I like to drive deep then come off the bottom hard, out and up, so when I hit the lip I can stall , cut back or drive for speed to make a critical section. On this wave I dropped forever ... screamed at a shortboarder trying to drop in and suddenly saw two guys right in front of me frantically paddling for the shoulder!  I could go high in front of them but would probably get nailed ... so I faded back into the peak around them.


Sometimes incidents like this set you up for perfect position ... as I came off the bottom I ducked as the lip came over my head and I was rocketed down the barrel ... the wave eased up for a second and I came up from my crouch and trimmed forward ... then it was on again ... the wave accelerating my board so fast that it began to vibrate and the tail started to slip ... on and on ... felt like a shell coming out of a cannon ... all the way across the rocks at Crabs ... you could hear the wave grinding until I was out into the beach break ... ran up to the nose and ... promptly pearled!


That was pretty much it ... paddled back out and caught a couple more nice ones climbing and dropping but the crowd was getting insane ... still it one of the best waves I have ever ridden!



Created: Friday December 22 2006 07:15:03 PM

Modified: Thursday June 7 2007 09:20:18 PM

Hits: 1999

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