62nd session in 2008
Sailed at Cole Park, TX
Wind from the NE (mph)
Board: Logosz 67L
Sail: 2.5 North Wave
Fin: yellow tuttle wave
Suit: rash guard
I started out with high hopes of sailing Port A but had to realize that was unrealistic. The waves wash so far up the beach there, flooding everything, and any fall would probably get me stuck in the current and impaled on a bollard or the pier. So I got some stuff done at home, laid low, and waited for the lightning to play out. I was dozing to the weather channel when Tamay called around 3 saying that Jason and Jerry had rigged and were going to try sailing at the seawall, so I headed out to watch. We stood on the seawall, sometimes having to lean a bit into the wind in the gusts, and I watched them try and try to get out, barely making it past the third or fourth wave. I mean it was BIG. They came in saying they were overpowered, and Jerry rerigged, but as he did the clouds returned and brought even more wind. All that trip did was satisfy my curiosity that the gulf was NOT the place for me to sail today. Seriously, there was no end in sight to the shore break--it was breaking out as far as we could see, even from the elevation from the seawall. For someone of my level, sailing the gulf today would have been masochistic at best and suicidal at worst.
So we headed to the bay. The session started out a bit ominously, as I pulled up to discover Chad's car broken into. I called the police and asked them to be more vigilant, which they actually did (although the officer also called Tamay and I crazy for rigging up in a hurricane. Whatever, it wasn't hurricane force winds here.). We rigged and had to use teamwork to carry our stuff across the park and down the cliff. The session itself was pretty much just hanging on, for me. The shore break was bigger than even some days at Luby's. The waves would peak and break within seconds, without warning, and while trying to jump one right in the beginning it broke hard and I got mashed, sailing with a stiff neck the rest of the session (only several advils and beers later would it stop bothering me so much). I actually made most jibes, but I had to consciously remind myself to keep the clew really close or it would get very tough to carve with any level of control. Sometimes I was not used to the narrow board and would stomp down on what turned out to be water, not board, which would usually throw me in.
By a few runs in I'd gotten tuned in and was actually surfing down decent sized waves, which I could not believe could form right here in the bay. This is seriously a couple blocks from my house and I'm riding sometimes chest high waves?!? Tamay was hard to see with her white sail, but we had a few runs sort of together, which was fun. (Matt showed up and did one run but was having sail problems and went in. Chad was off dealing with break-in issues.) Riding waves on the way in I was not strong enough to hold the clew, so I'd be riding one-handed and really haphazardly, but I'd drag the back hand along the wave behind me just for the heck of it, and that was fun. Inside jibes were great and outside pretty hit or miss...I'd sail until I hit a big set and just pray it would block the wind enough for me to jibe. I tried ZERO freestyle and only a few hand drags/one handed jumps. Other than that it was pure business.
Like yesterday, the toughest part was getting out of the water. And I had an audience. Luckily no news crew, but Tamay and Matt and some families. I was alternately slipping, getting flattened, and getting tossed a couple feet off the shore and I could not get a good footing on the loose rocks just to walk out of that washing machine. Luckily I didn't break any gear, because I definitely got tossed onto it hard at times. And amazingly my only carnage this hurricane so far is a dime-sized bruise on my calf and a chipped nail. Oh yeah and the stiff neck. The wind meters were showing mostly in the high 30s this afternoon but I am logging this as 40 b/c I've sailed 40 a time or two before and this was at least as much. Some of those gusts were just ripping, and the rain pelting on my helmet sounded like hail on a windshield.
Tomorrow it's back to work but I'm considering either dawn patrol in the bay or possibly lunch patrol in SPac. Gulf would surely be my preference. What a fun storm this has been. I also had a great run in the rain early this a.m. We should get more non-destructive hurricanes like this.
Below, photos of me, Tamay and Chad, at Cole Park, Jason trying to get out at the seawall, and Jerry trying to get out at the seawall