Loading up the truck on a 36 degree morning…
Clearing winds ushered in a perfectly blue sky this morning, as well as a 30 degree temperature drop from yesterday! The forecast called for fading NW winds, so I grabbed a short but sweet early morning freestyle sesh at the Hole. It was a totally different body of water from yesterday, back to it’s normal flat-ish state in the 15-20 knot breeze. A bit chilly with air temps around 36 or so, but the warm sun and water felt great!
One million and one birds fly north
As the breeze and tide dropped out, the leftover South swell got really fun up at 34! I took a pretty amazing solo sesh on my SUP, then switched to my 6’6″ for a few shorebreak barrels when I got tired of paddling! The SUP session ended up being far above and beyond any expectations, placing it at a definitive #1 Best SUP Session Ever!!!! The waves were rolling in at waist to a touch overhead in the biggest sets, super clean in the light offshore breeze, and hitting pretty lightly off the outside bar, then rolling in all the way to reform into a beachbreak barrel. Perfect SUP conditions, but that’s not what made the session epic….
…This Wave Is!!
Just a fraction of a second before this picture was taken, as I ripped straight down the line under a head high peak, two dolphins jumped fully out of the wave, surfing a mere 10 or 20 feet in front of me… You can see their “V” shaped trails and splashes to the right of me. Absolutely the most amazing sight I’ve ever seen, due mostly to the fact that it was just right in my face!! Unreal….
I knew they were around, a pod of 5 dolphin had been frolicking around me for about 30 minutes, sharing waves and then flanking my paddle back out. After the epic wave, they started jumping all over the place- just as I would climb over a big closeout, they would come popping out the back of the peak, tossing in a twist to show off… And then more wave rides with fins exposed and the occasional jump just a few yards away! By the end of my session, they had multiplied to about 10 or 15 of ’em, all following me around, wrestling with each other, spitting spray into the air. They were very curious and playful today, more so than I’ve ever seen, so I’ve postulated a theory.
First, whenever I see dolphin while regular prone surfing, they’ll come over and check you out, but then they usually move on rather quickly. On the SUP, they followed me around for about an hour and a half total. I think it has to do with the paddle strokes- a prone surfer is always splashing around, taking lots of quick strokes with his hands, while a stand up paddle surfer takes long, slow, and powerful strokes with a solid blade. I have a feeling the water movement off the blade reminds them of the forces of a fellow fish flicking it’s tail, making them more comfortable with the propulsion of a SUP.
Second, I only fell once or twice all day today, riding a wave as far as I could and kicking out at the shoulder before it closed out. By staying on the board and just paddling back out, I wasn’t creating a huge splash and kicking around and climbing back on my board, as most prone surfers do when they finish a wave. So, fewer big splashes probably made them more comfortable with the SUP, as well.
Whatever the reasons, it was truly an amazing day, that I will not soon forget! A huge thanks to Anne for snapping the pictures while hanging on the beach!
After the SUP sesh, it felt great to stretch all the muscles out and paddle around on a regular surfboard for a little while! The shorebreak was getting really dumpy as the tide filled back in, so it was fun to make a quick drop and try to tuck into one before getting deposited up on the beach!