I do my best to drop in with the Oak Streakers in Laguna Beach when ever I’m even remotely in town… as a matter of fact I didn’t really have an excuse to be particularly close to there this weekend, but I went ahead and made it happen anyways :) As it turns out I wasn’t the only visitor today either. We had me from Pismo, Mallory from Indy (who just moved to LA), and Bart from Tampa all in attendance with 5 locals. Normally this group doesn’t go out on Sundays but the weather was so absurdly nice it was hard for people to say no, you gotta take advantage of days like this when you can… you never know when the rain is going to come back!
While we were hanging out on the observation deck above the beach chatting and soaking in the sun I was taking a good look at the surf. It was pretty burly today! Big swells, big waves, and a ton of surfers all over the coastline. Patsee gave a quick how to get out of the surf at this beach talk to a couple people before we went down the stairs to work on getting in the water. (Click here for a picture Patsee took that gives you a way better idea of the size of the waves than the suspiciously flat looking pictures I took)
Word on the street was anywhere from 56-58 degrees today, not even cold really. While I was busy trying to ease myself into the water I totally screwed up the timing of the sets. Lynn and I got caught with a big set of waves and had to wait it out a little before we could split. The other half of the group that was already out was already well on their way before we got past the last set of breakers. The waves on the way out were big! Definitely an awesome day to be a local surfer!
Even out past the breakers we had really formidable swells rolling though and we couldn’t see anyone else so we just forged our own path in the general direction we figured everyone else was going. The swim out was really beautiful. I put Lynn on my right side so I could see her to help navigate, and the whole way down I got to check out all the awesome houses pushed up against the coast while watching the backs of big crashing waves.
When we got down to about even with the lifeguard tower at Main Beach we stopped and looked around for the rest of the group. Lynn thought she saw people towards this big rock a little further away so we swam that direction to check it out… no such luck. So we turned it around and made our way back to Oak Street.
We swam a lot further out on this part. It started out a good idea until we hit tons of kelp. There was some major kelp krawling going on… I was having Monterey flashbacks :) We tried to cut it back in a little ways and it just got thicker. Eventually we broke out of the kelp beds, but not before I got nice and exfoliated by scratchy kelp leaves.
As we neared the end of the route we had to start considering how we were going to get out. Just like getting into the ocean, getting out successfully was going to be a matter of timing. Lynn and I hung offshore watching the swells and when the ocean seemed to be going temporarily flat we jammed towards the beach with a mix of freestyle and backstroke to watch out for any rogue waves or the start of the next set. I figured we guessed right because I swam though a little gang of Stand Up Paddleboarders that were taking the same opportunity to get their boards out into flatter water before the surf picked back up. Once I had sand under my feet I gave it a quick little jog to get out of the water, this beach has a healthy little undertow that’ll pull you back into the surf if you’re not paying attention.
Back on the beach we all regrouped and talked about our swims. According to my gps we swam just a hair short of 2 miles in about an hour. I ran up the street real quick to change into some real clothes and then met most of today’s swimmers for breakfast at a local joint with outdoor seating and a great view of the ocean. At one point while eating my breakfast sandwich I saw dolphins at a distance! Can’t get mad at that! Eventually everyone had to go back about their days and I had to start to make my way home up the coast. I’m not sure when I’ll be back again to swim Laguna Beach but you can trust if I can make up an excuse to go do it it will be done :)