Everyone with an interest in the ocean has been all excited this week about a huge south swell that’s been making it’s way over to California from the other side of the world. Well it’s starting to hit the coast and it’s only supposed to get bigger as the week goes on. I got to Avila and was quick to hop out of the truck to see what we were working with. It looked a little disappointing with good but not that big of waves rolling though… and then, BOOOOOM! A big one built up and crashed down, excellent.
I watched the water with Niel for a bit and then Bobby showed up, Ryan was around as well. We pondered a route and decided to keep it on the left side of the pier since there was a large and very active bait ball working on the other side. We walked down to the water and the surf was going off in a way I haven’t seen since the weeks after the tsunami earlier this year. I got about ankle deep and decided to go grab my board and fins instead and skip the swim. With as much as I surf Avila when it’s teeny tiny how could I pass up what looked to be waist to head high surf?
I grabbed my gear and ran back down to the water’s edge. I got there between sets and sneaked out relatively easily and started to wait for the next set to roll in. I was sharing the water with 2 guys on boogie boards who were mainly messing around and riding the white water, and one bodysurfer. It took a bit for the big stuff to come booming through again, but when it did… weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee! Avila has a really heavy and nicely formed wave, but it’s almost always a closeout so you get short fast rides and then… tumble. Not ideal, but it doesn’t suck either :)
I tried to keep an eye on my buddies swimming, and was a little shocked to see that about the same time they hit the end of the pier a whole bunch of birds came swirling over the top of them… oh shit! They still stuck to the plan and swam out towards the point, but getting caught up in birds like that would have been enough for me to want to bail. I guess it’s good thing I passed on the swim today!
I kept surfing and when the guys swam back in they stopped to talk to me a bit. I offered up a bonus board and fins I had in my truck but we had no takers. I think they had as much oceanic excitement as they needed for the day.
After they went in I caught a really big wave and got a fun, fast ride out of it. I hurried back out to try and get one more out of that set and had a wave that was going to crash right on top of me. I duck dived like I usually would and when that wave came down it flushed the fins right off my feet! That was a first! I caught the next wave I could to get closer to shore and looked for my duckfeet. Good news it that they float, bad news is they hover right below the surface and this was murky water. After 3 or 4 minutes I saw the heel strap of one pop up briefly. I slogged over there and after the next wave came through I found and caught it. The other fin was nearby and I grabbed that bad boy as well. Phew!
I waded back out and once I was past the breakers I put my fins back on and caught a few more waves before calling it a day. I walked back up the beach and chatted with Niel for a bit and then grabbed my fancy camera out of the truck and messed around with that for a while before going home. I’ve excavated a decent, but older camera from my office and have been experimenting a bit. It’s not waterproof, but it is a step up from just taking pics with my iPhone :)