Surf n Turf

Pardon me while I gloat for a moment over the start of a new school year... There, thanks! I love Labor Day bringing on the end of summer, even if it means I can't wear my white neoprene booties anymore. It's amazing how much can change in a week. I headed out for a paddle today and the throngs of tourist had dwindled to a manageable few. No snot-nosed bra--uh, I mean rosy cheeked innocents, to gum up my launch site. The air was full of breeze and clouds instead of brown haze and I seemed to have the ocean to myself.

I should know not to believe what I read in the paper. It seemed to say there were some bigs swells out today. The water was very calm, despite the breeze. As I slid behind BAR, I was disappointed to see it marred with beer boxes and grafitti! Raise your hand if you believe we should adopt Singapore's punishment for grafitti (I say with my hand raised). I decided the water level was too shallow for a pass through the arch and decided to head on down to Cameo Shores to play in the waves. The other day, I had been rereading some of the old CKF trip reports and as I paddled I was thinking of Kathy's karnage at Dana Point. I was thinking what strange things the sea will do around rocks, but I wasn't worried because today was so calm. I paddled inside the two rocks that usually stick out just south of BAR. To prove me right, a breaking wave decided to come out of nowhere to try and ruin my day. It looked like I was going over, but I tried a high brace that I had little confidence in completing. Came through like a trooper!!! That's the farthest I've ever been over in real conditions and come through. Guess the bracing class was worth the money.

The waves at the beach were of a nice size and there didn't seem to be any outsiders, which is unusual. I decided to hang out in the impact zone and punch through the incoming waves. Funny how sticking my camera on my paddle has made my kayaking a little more adventurous as I try for the next cool shot. I was letting the waves form pretty steep in front of me and several times I found my self back-surfing whether I liked it or not. Of course, then the outsiders that I figured weren't coming in today decided to arrive! I had no time to paddle past it so I backed up to let it crash and get ready for the white water. Two more big ones came in after that and I got more practice with my bracing in the soup.

I stayed inside to play in the smaller waves and was really pushing my luck. I ended up getting sucked backward in a wave and my brace into the churning water didn't hold up. I exited the boat and it washed up to shore right in front of a lifeguard that was driving down the beach. He just waved; must have thought I looked like I knew what I was doing! I was just glad, my boat was nice enough to avoid a giant rock as it beached itself. I took stock of my missing gear: one bottle of water and my favorite sponge. Right then the screw popped loose on my prescription sunglass and lens popped out of the frames. It luckily landed in the boat. After I got all the water out, I turned the boat around to get ready for my launch and my sponge had crawled up out of the mud to rejoin me. I figured I was really getting lucky today. I chose a good time to launch and avoided the larger shore breakers and soon was on my way home. Just for spite, I paddled inside the two rocks again and through the waves that were breaking now with regularity. A kid getting ready to jump off BAR threw me down the beer boxes, so I left my retreat a little better than I found it. I paddled home myopic but elated. Inside the jetty, a fuzzy looking kayaker turned out to be none other than Duane with his latest new paddle. I figure he had been waiting for me to tame the ocean for him.

Mark Sanders