Monday, September 19, 2005

Back Off, Ralph

Lots o' waves lately.

Then again, you know what they say about real estate...and swells. Location, location, location.

On Saturday I hooked up with some of the SD boys and we sailed out to Ralph's. For those of you that don't know, Ralph's is an somewhat overrated "secret spot" off the southernmost tip of Point Loma. It's all government land out there, so it's only accessible by boat.

Anyhow, we thought we were brilliant, this being a large south swell and all. We figured the beachbreaks would be closed out, Sunset Cliffs would be small, and Ralph's would be epic and empty.

Instead, most of the beachbreaks I drove by at 6 AM Saturday morning looked epic, and Ralph's was knee to waist high and mushier than my 7 month-old daughter's food. We ended up surfing Dolphin Tanks, which is further out around the point. The biggest sets were maybe shoulder high, with left and right mushburgers. Toss in heaps of kelp, a dozen longboarders, ice cold water, and a whole crew of PWC joyriders criss-crossing up what were already warbly waves, and you have a pretty mediocre session.

Then again, it was sunny, the water was blue and clean, and surfing an inaccessible spot by boat is pretty friggin' cool, no matter how blah the waves are.

Our non-surfing friends might disagree though. As soon as we anchored, the boat started lurching on the swells wrapping around the point. In the 5 minutes it took me to suit up, wax my board, tie on my leash and hurl myself overboard, I was already on the verge of getting seasick.

As we surfed (and sat - it was super inconsistent on top of everything else), my friend Pete and I kept looking back at the boat, watching it rock up and down and back and forth. The thought of getting back on board turned what would probably have been a quick 45 minute surf into a solid 2 hour session.

Pete's friend from Boston spent the entire 2 hours throwing up off the stern.

"Sorry, bro, but the waves were epic!"

We dedicated the rest of the day to sailing, drinking, eating and sleeping...a fairly solid way to spend a beautiful day in late summer. The only drama came when we tried to make it into Mission Bay. Somehow when I lived there I never noticed that, even though it's a huge bay, there are no sail boats. There's a reason. The bridge that separates South Mission from North Mission, and is the entrance to the Bay, only has a 35' clearance. Our boat's mast was 48'. Pete figured this out somewhere between 10 and 8 feet from the bridge. Oops.

All in all it was, and continues to be, a pretty good swell. Not sure it deserved all the hype it got, but that's what happens when you have the shittiest summer in memory.

Today HB was solid head high, although the nearly 6 foot high tide bogged things down pretty good around noon. Of course that's when I surfed, but it was still fun. The red tide looks like it's here to stay. The winds have stayed light. By 1 PM it was still light offshore.

I promise I'll get around to diving into the whole leash thing. Taking the family to Kauai on Thursday for 2 weeks. With a little luck I'll get to it before then.

Speaking of which, the whole airline/board thing never ceases to infuriate me. American Airlines charges $80 per board, EACH WAY. How completely fucked is that? And it's not per bag either, it's per BOARD, which makes no fucking sense whatsoever.

Is a single board in a double board bag any more hassle for them than two boards? The maximum weight per board is 70 pounds, so it's obviously not a weight issue.

In the past I've actually had some semi-cool counter people ask me with a wink, "Just one board in the bag?" I've also had some luck bribing the curbside guys with a few twomps. But once you pack both boards, you need to accept the fact that you might be throwing down $320 to slide down some waves on your own sleds (and for some monkey to huck them around until they look like dimple-bottomed Bonzers from 1989).

The Colonel says, "Fight the power."