PNW Surf Report

SURF REPORT… Wednesday I crawled out of the tent at 3:15 am…Brewed the joe, loaded the van, scraped the ice from the windshield and hit the asphalt ribbon…Destination: Spot A… First light revealed fresh snow on the Olympic Mountain foothills…With succeeding light the bare trees and green rolling hills renewed why I live here…Open space, with a feeling of the clock set back an era or two… Two and a half hours after leaving home, I arrived at the dike access parking road at Spot A…It was empty…Good…After a 5 minute walk to Spot A, there was a disappointing vision…Small waves…Really small… I knew the tide was still outgoing, and that can sometimes push a wall of tide water that can keep out anything other than the strongest swell… I decided to head further west…and after a while, I pulled into the Spot B pull out…There were a couple of surf vehicles with sleeping occupants…The waves were showing consistent, yet small…Good shape and peeling over the cobblestones… I talked with a guy from Seattle for a while…We’ve shared some line-ups before … In particular a really good day in Spot C in Feb. ’02, the day I took a lot of good pictures in a short while…He was doing a nice hand dragging bottom turn in one of them…After he burned a bowl (I declined his offer to smoke), he buzzed out of the parking area and went to check out Spot D 45 minutes away… The tide was still an hour from turning, so I caught a few winks…About a half hour prior to low tide a few more cars with boards showed up…Everyone was waiting for the tidal push to bring up the swell…The buoys were showing 12’ @ 11 sec. 297 deg…Swell angle is critical…This break is about 40 miles from the Pacific coastline, and requires a narrow swell window to break…If the angle isn’t just right you can see the swells passing the shoreline by, marching through the Strait, missing a lot of the spots…On those days some of the San Juan Islands breaks come alive…Extremely rare… Finally I saw some rideable size, changed into my 4-3 and un-racked the 10’4”… What happened next caught me completely off guard…As soon as I unzipped the board bag, EVERYONE was out of their cars and tripping out on my board…This really surprised me since most surfers are some of the most cool, least impressed people on the planet…I was fully surrounded, answering questions, looking for my leash, REALLY wanting to get wet…While waxing there were more questions and answers(the first question is ALWAYS “How long does it take to make one?”)…It was so weird…Three of the guys made comments on how they saw the board on the net, and how they looked so much more impressive in person…Wow… Finally I pick up the board, the crowd parted and I walked to the water’s edge, all the while feeling eyes burning holes in my back…For sure I was careful not to stumble on the cobbles or clunk my fin by paddling out too soon…It felt as if I was paddling out in front of natives who had never seen a surfer before…Weird… Finally in the line up I could dig the place…I’d never surfed here before…A clean cobblestone, silty sand set up…The view over the water to Canada was a reminder of how on the edge, the Strait is…You could see snow on the Canadian hills…watch the big ships go in and out…Check out the bald eagles checking you out…Be startled back to reality with the rumble of fully loaded logging trucks downshifting before the turn at bottom of the long grade at the sharp curve at Spot B…then again fall into the stillness of the place…The water between sets is absolutely calm, like a lake…With not even a hint of wind…Serene…And the air had the fresh crisp feel of nearby snow in the trees…Pure PNW… This was also the first time out for me, on the re-built and re-shaped 10’er…It rode like a dream…It glided into every wave as only a 30+ pound board can…Yet was groovy-loosey as only a single fin can, and the sensation of it being a hollow board is definitely an X factor…Magic on the water…It was so smooth on these equally smooth waves…It had the momentum to flow through hollow and flat spots…This board is special… After a while others came out, most of them not so surf savvy, but they weren’t too dangerous…But some were just plain oblivious…I recognized one of the better guys…Joe, a BIG Indian from an Indian nation…A competent surfer who is a gentleman…In the past he has welcomed me in the lineup at the Spot A…Nice…I was surprised when he called me by name…Later we were paddling back out near each other, and he asked if I had an ax in my van…I asked him cautiously, if he wanted to make kindling out of my board…He just laughed and said no, he wanted to split up some beach logs to build a beach fire to warm up by…What a relief to me… After 4 hours in the water, and a full tide, the waves started backing off and the lulls got longer, so I went in and took a picture or two… I took the longer drive back…Avoiding the usually faster inland route, due to a small plane crash near the bridge…The way back along the inland waters was spectacular, with lush rolling verdant hills exploding in early spring green…The old barns, farmhouses, rusty cars and disintegrating boats along the way could have easily come from a Logan Murray photo essay…A good drive on a good day to be alive… Returning home, on the opposite direction of the freeway, was a series of accidents, which FULLY closed down the highway…2 big rigs and 34 cars in 7 separate accidents spread over a couple miles…Yikes… Later… Paul

So…and your point is?

thanks for an entertaining story…shut up fred

It’s really weird to be in a groove with something, somebody, digging this story of a life we all share, and then get cold-cocked by rude insult like that…out of fear? jealousy? machismo? I don’t know. What’s YOUR point, Fred?

Paul embodies the spirit of PNW surfing… in fact, surfing here is frequently far better than described (sorry Paul!). Speaking for myself, the coastlines of Oregon, Washington and British Columbia have always been a fresh, powerful, often brutally challenging, deep source of inspiration and renewal. But for some, that`s a dose of reality which is all just too much of a mental stretch, even in written form.

Thanks for the good read. I might have been across the strait looking at the snow on the Olympic Mountains about the same time. Thanks Patrick

Hey Paul, I really did feel that your board looked better in person than it did on your webpage. As Pete and I rode home, we discussed it at length, especially the cork rails. We stayed back as the Seattle dudes mobbed you, took a quick look, said hi to Joe and the chekalooka crowd and headed back home across the Hood Canal Bridge to try and salvage the day. It was probably the nicest board I’ve ever seen. I hear that Zak was contacted about some Ecuadorian balsa for you. Thanks again for being so gracious.

You know, that was one of the weirdest things that’s happened to me…Is that who those guys were…Almost an Endless Summer in Africa moment…Anyway, thanks for the kind words…I’d be happy to let you ride a few on it anytime, just ask…I hope the balsa from Zak comes through…I have a hollow balsa racing paddleboard in my future… Did you guys get wet at all…Spot B was fun… Right now I’m SO stoked on the current project…A 7’4" Egg…I just shaped the rails on it tonight…My best yet…Lots of hidden Carbon Fiber and a fin box to boot…I’m just waiting for the Resin Research Epoxy to arrive then it’s glassing time…