Saturday, March 20, 2010

A change of venue

Wanted to let everyone know about the changes occurring on the dc surfing blog.  We have been moved to

I'll be feeding links back over time.

I hope you enjoy the new site.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

2010 March 6th & 7th

This has taken me a while to write, but the Mid-Atlantic had some great surf last weekend, 2010-March-6th & 7th.  After some bad conditions on Friday and Saturday morning the swell was beginning to cleaning up.  So I decide to hit the surf Saturday evening, during the falling tide.

Saturday Evening

Given the conditions, I figured 48th street would offer the best options for waves and wind protection.  I wasn’t the only one who had that thought.  There were about 25 total people spread out among the peaks, North and South, of the 48th street jetty.  It was obvious from standing on the beach that the current was strong and south.  So, I walk a few blocks north of the crowd.  I finally found a rip and paddled out.  Despite the soupy conditions and the disorganized swell, it was an easy paddle out.  Once out there the disorganized waves made it a bit difficult to find a decent setup and the south current made it painstaking to hold the lineup.  The first wave I took was a thick, over head left.  It was fast!  My 6’4” mod-fish had difficulty holding the edge through the bottom turn and I got walloped.

Surfer North of the OC Jetty.

After I recovered, I paddled back out.  The south current was so strong it carried me farther south then I realized and lineup was a few yards farther out then before.  This is one of the perils of drifting though multiple sections.  After another thumping, I final got to a more consistent part of the 48th street breaks.  This lead to a few great rights.  Eventually, I couldn’t fight the current anymore and decided to continue drifting south. 
I was now south of the Jetty and the tide was beginning to back off, which cleaned the waves up tremendously.  However, the next wave I took looked about head high before the take off, but it jacked up to overhead and sucked out the bottom.  I was now flying down a thick, grinding face.  I dug in and shot through the steep section.  Having made it clear of certain shallow doom, I straighten out to avoid the close out.  That was a fun adrenaline pumping wave, the kind that makes you feel alive.  As I ventured farther down the beach the waves were a bit smaller, but definitely a lot fun.  I was able to take a bunch of fun lefts and rights to close the session. 

48th Street

As night began to set in and I walked north I could see some clean line breaking around the jetty.  The wind had calmed and the swell was definitely cleaning up.  Tomorrow would be fun.


It was an early tide in the morning, but I didn’t manage to paddle out until around 10.   The swell still looked fun and there were a ton people.  The two main peaks were mobbed at least 15-20 per peak. 
I met up with Perry, Scott, and Xavier for a fun morning session.  We sat just south of the North peak, which closed out mostly, but if you were patience a nice left would sneak in and could be caught uncontested.  I had some great rides. 

After a fun session, I debated whether to stay and hit it again in the afternoon.  I was fatigued and my muscles were screaming.  This was after the 3 hours Saturday night, 3 hours Sunday morning, and hard upper-body workout Friday evening. 

Saturday Evening

I sucked it out and with a smile on face I suited up and headed out again.  This time Harry joined me.  We hit a fun empty spot I found on my drift the previous night.  Because of the tide the waves closed out a bit, but some nice peaks would popup and bestow you with a fun charging left.   As night began to set in, so did fatigue.  Harry and I decide to get out, but not before I got out, I was able to sneak in and out of a quick barrel to end the weekend.

The sunset Saturday evening looking east.

As I crossed the route 90 bridge, the sunset draped the sky in magnificent reds and oranges, which were reflected by the bay as it raced by my windows.  As the gallon of serotonin pumped through my body and a sense of euphoria set in, I began to realize that life is the search for those truly perfect moment.  Yeasayer’s “Madder Red” and Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros’ “40 Day Dream” assure me that this was one of those moments.  

The sunset Saturday evening looking west.

What did I think of Saturday?

Wave Height: Chest to Head +.
Wave Face Conditions: Soupy and disorganized early, cleaned up as the tide dropped
Overall Conditions: Semi-clean.
Weather: 45. 
Wind: 10 mph NW
Water Temp: 45 full winter gear (Could push a 4/3).
Surfing level: Intermediate +.
Wave Type: Fun a bit disorganized

What did I think of Sunday?

Wave Height: Chest to Head in the morning and waist to chest+ in the evening.
Wave Face Conditions: Clean.
Overall Conditions: Clean with close out.
Weather: 45. 
Wind: 10 mph WNW
Water Temp: 45 full winter gear (Could push a 4/3).
Surfing level: Beginner +.
Wave Type: Clean.

Additional photos are available

Sunday, February 28, 2010

A long wait for great day of surf.

It’s been a while since I’ve been out and it was definitely starting to show in my attitude and demeanor.  Unfortunately this is the plight of the surfer.  After the incredible Christmas swell, we had a lull during January.  The current month (February) has picked up giving the Mid-Atlantic some chest to head and clean surf.  For those of us that work 9-5 and live in the metro area it’s been unfortunate, because it has occurred during the work week.  So we grit our teeth, fight back the “no-surf anxiety”, smile, and continue to live our lives.

 48th Street

What do we do?  Some immerse themselves in work and family, while others take a surf vacation to San Diego, Puerto Rico, Costa Rica, Hawaii, etc.  Most turn to the “Mountains” and “snow-surf”.  Those of us otherwise distracted, myself included, turn to the gym and the pool to stay in shape for the next swell, which is a topic another post.

 Barrels everywhere! 

Well my friends, all the waiting paid off.  Today, Sunday 2010-Feb-28, was a good day to surf.   The surf was stomach to chest with an occasional head high and clean.  So how did we get here?  Monday, the weekend was looking dismal with clean, ankle high surf.  Wednesday, the reports showed knee to waist and clean.  As the week progressed it was upgrade to waist to stomach.  Finally Saturday, it was upgraded to waist to chest and clean.

A fellow in a barrel north peak at 48th street.
After seeing the upgraded report I split DC and shot back to OC to get a jump on the surf, despite the evening’s plans.  Low tide was at 12:30 with cleaner and bigger sets in the morning.  I decide the falling tide into dead low would be the way to go.  The winds were 10-15 mph out of the west going northwest.  As I approached the beach the sky turned dark and sleet began to fall.  Great start…  This only lasted a few minutes.
48th street was nice with the two main peaks, one north and one south of the jetty.  About 20 total people scattered between the peaks.  After snapping a few shots, I went south and checked the swell.  It was nice with no crowd.  After a fight with the suit I headed out.  The paddle out was easy and surprisingly the suit didn't feel too restricted.  I was so glad I’ve been hitting the gym.

Nice A Frame -- 48th

As I sat and waited for the next peak I began to wonder how I would perform on the first wall.  After all it has been two long months.  Alright, here it comes.  Paddle!  Paddle!  Pop!  It was a beautiful chest high left, which setup with a nice barrel!  The session produced a bunch of fun rides.  Some with nice barrel sections, other with good shoulders, both lefts and rights.  Towards the end of the session as the wind picked up and the tide went slack the waves began to close out.  However there were still a few standout peaks up and down the beach.  At this point the cold was setting in to my extremities and it was time to get out. 

What did I think?

Wave Height: Waist to chest, occasional head, at certain spots.
Wave Face Conditions: Clean
Overall Conditions: Clean.
Weather: 43 very cloudy with spots of sun. 
Wind: 15 mph west going northwest
Water Temp: 40 full winter gear
Surfing level: Beginner to intermediate.
Wave Type: Very fun and clean

Follow my sessions and other surf related news on twitter @surfingDC.

Additional photos are available

Monday, December 28, 2009

Holiday Swell

All I really wanted for Christmas was swell, and the swell gods delivered with two fun days of chest to head plus, clean swell.  This swell was hollow!!  I mean Ocean City was temporarily renamed Barrel City...  I got more barrels then red, hanging monkeys... I was shacked more times then Britney Spears during a mental breakdown... Okay enough with analogies...  okay one more...  It was so hollow I could here the ocean... (Okay, I ran out).

 Sunday at South OC.

Ocean City didn't have a white Christmas, but OC did have a rainy Christmas and a rainy day after.  Thanks to this cold front we were once again blessed with swell.  Sunday was fun with head plus waves and clean conditions.  Monday, if you were lucky enough to have off Boxing Day, was chest to head occasional plus at certain breaks.

Sunday morning in Ocean City was a fun day around low tide, which supported clean barreling swell.   Dead low was a bit heavy with a constant barrage of swell, which made the inside swirly.  The paddle out was a bicep burner.  As the tide began to shift the waves soften and began to organize.  The swell was setting up nicely with defined peaks pealing into hollow barrels.  At low tide many peaks where A-frames with a choice of left and rights.  The lefts where fun setting up nicely for barrels with long shoulders.  Rights were fun early, but faster.  As the tide moved in the majority of rights began to closeout.  I headed out around the Flamingo and was able to score a bunch of fun lefts and rights, which setup for some fun barrels and nice faces for cutbacks.  About an hour into the rising tide lines became spotty with many closeout sets.

 Nice A-frame.

The weather was phenomenal, fifty-six degrees and sunny.  There was little wind, 8 kts blowing out of the west.  I was in a 5/4 and was overheating.  I couldn’t really ask for a better winter session.
Around 9:30 am I checked 48th street.  48th street was insane, with a big peak sitting outside just south of the jetty.  No one was on it.  I heard one surf comment it was very difficult to paddle out there and he came back in to surf some of the peaks north of the jetty.  North of the jetty supported the same peak from last week.  This peak was firing with head high barrels setting up with a nice air section.  About twenty people where out here with another 20 on the beach as spectators.  A few photographers where out snapping shots of OC's elite.  One of the elite, Vince Boulanger, was spotted dropping in on overhead sets, getting shacked, and boosting airs.

 I got reports of great swell from the Naval Jetties to Indian River and all over OC, mid-town, south OC, and the inlet.  There where major bombs at Assateague if you where up for the paddle.  Thanks to Chauncey's, Tim, Harry, David, Galen, and Julie for the reports.

Around dusk I went back to the beach to check out the leftovers.  The tide was sitting on the bar producing smaller, softer sets, but they still looked fun.  I thought this was the sign of things to come for Monday... Waist to chest and clean?

 The sunset was stunning.

Given the typical progression of east coast storms and what I saw Sunday evening, I was expecting a nice chill waist to chest wave.  I was wrong...  Monday remained chest to head with plus sets, but was cleaner and more organized. 

I checked 48th early.  It was setting up nicely with peaks on either side of the jetty.  More people were south of the jetty, hitting the two main peaks, because of the better conditions then Sunday.  The crowd was 20 + strong south of the jetty and about 10 strong north of the jetty.  The fan-fair was significantly less then Sunday.

 South of the jetty.

I headed south to meet JD and surf the same break as Sunday.  It was an empty line up with the same left and right head high barrels.  As the tide began to shift out of dead low the waves picked up and became faster and heavier, but remained extremely fun.  Eventual, there was too much water sitting on the bar and it began to close out.

JD and I left the break and head back to 48th street where I thought it would still be setting up like it was earlier.  Again, I was wrong...  It got bigger and became peaky with nice barrels.  There were plenty of waves for the twenty or so surfers.  Everyone got a peak and was hooting and hollering.  We were all stoked.  Peaks where head plus drops with long chest to head shoulders.  Did I mention they where hollow?  Oh yeah, they where hollow…  Definitely one the better swells in my memory.  Well, since Bill. 

Sunday morning South OC

What did I think of Sunday?

Wave Height:  Chest to head plus
Wave Face Conditions: Clean
Overall Conditions: Clean, with a constant barrage of waves earlier, making the paddle out difficult in some spots.
Weather:  56 and sunny.  Very pleasant sitting in the line up.  Weather conditions made a 4/3 possible.
Wind:  0-8 kts South, South-west
Water Temp: 46 (4/3) full winter gear.
Sufing level: Intermediate to Advance
Wave Type:  Very fun at low tide with swirly conditions on the inside.  Heavier at dead low, barreling with nice lines.  As the tide filled in, the waves became slightly softer with nice setups.

What did I think of Monday?

Wave Height: Chest to head occasional plus at certain spots.
Wave Face Conditions: Clean
Overall Conditions: Clean, a bit swirl inside.
Weather: 40 and cloudy early going sunny.
Wind: 15-25 kts South, South West
Water Temp: 46 (5/4 or pushing a 4/3) full winter gear
Sufing level: Intermediate to Advanced
Wave Type:  Very fun clean, hollow wave.

Follow my sessions and other surf related news on twitter @surfingDC.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Snowy Sessions

I was going to start The DC Surfing blog off with an introduction blog, but the snowy weather has brought us swell, and I decided to postpone the introduction for the first session update ever.  Snowpocalpyse generated phenomenal waves with fair to good offshore conditions.  However, due to the dropping water temperatures and the 20 mph NW winds, these waves were not for the beginner or even the seasoned amateur.  These where for the big boys.

48th street at noon thirty

I escaped the snowpocalpyse by leaving DC late Friday as the impending doom of the snow storm was forecasting to make the roads impassable.  I woke up Saturday morning expect to see the some flaky white stuff, but instead woke up to rain and 30 mph winds.  While DC was getting 18" of snow the low pressure system was generating a storm surge in Ocean City, which ultimately would clean up blessing the East Coast with overhead sets at 10 seconds. 

The Saturday Storm Surge

These waves looked fun, but super sets would sneak in making the line up treacherous and swirly.  In the morning the winds were more north with the edge of the storm system still close to shore.  This generated a surge on the inside and semi-clean conditions on the outside.  Only a few brave souls ventured out and quickly turned around as the unorganized conditions pounding them and the winds made it near impossible to stay setup.

Everyone in Ocean City was driving up and down the strip checking the usual spots and a few up-and-coming breaks, but nothing manageable to the average surfer.  However, the buzz was, as the day went on, the swell size would drop and the conditions would clean up.  It did... but it still wasn't for the faint of heart.

Around 2:30 I decided to venture out at a deeper break in hopes that the depth would soften the large powerful waves.  After suiting up in a 5-4, I walked up the dunes and looked out.  I spotted a decent section of lines that I could drift through knowing that the winds and current would make it impossible to stay in one place.  So I jumped off the dune and walked to the water's edge.  After waiting for the sets to pass I dove in and began to paddle out through the surge.  

 Dune erosion at 48th due to the string of storms.

The water temperature was definably much colder then I remembered from my last session 2 weeks ago, but it still wasn't too bad.  As I ducked dive through a minor set waves, water washed through my suit reminding me how cold it really is.  It’s funny how fast my feet numbed up since they were already burning after tromping through 1/2" of snow on the dune.  

After making it out pass the breaker I sat on my board to regain my composer and warm my face.  Okay it was time!  I turned back to the beach to paddle into the setup... Holy Crap I was far from the shore.  The North West wind had pushed me way far out and about a block south.  I was only sitting there for about a minute?  I paddle back in to the setup, which given my recent experience was surprisingly easy.  

Okay... here it comes.  I'm on! Pop up...  CRASH!  Okay that didn't go as planned, but I now realize who exactly these conditions were for.  Given the cold, conditions, and the lack of people it was time to get out.  I caught the next wave in and jumped in my truck.  

Still in the suit I stopped at 48th were I knew more people were.  The beach access road was packed with cars.  They were watching a sweet peak about 2' overhead barreling left.  Seven surfers were vying for the setup as photographers and spectators looked on.  No other surfers were surfing anywhere else.  The waves were nice, but too much for the average surfer.   

48th Street Jetty

So what did I think?
Wave height: 1-3 foot overhead occasional +
Wave face conditions: clean
Overall Conditions:  Disorganized, Semi-clean to Clean
Winds: NW @ 20 mph and offshore.  
Water temp: 43 degrees F (5/4 suit and thick boots and gloves)
Surfing level:  Advanced
Wave type: Barreling with nice long faces out of the barrel.  Still had to watch out for close out sections.