8@20 WNW 286°

California surf 1-24-14A lesser set wave on Friday, January 24, 2014.

As an observer it’s interesting to me, the big(ger) wave event along this stretch of coastline. I surf and I surf, and I surf, through the months or even years, and everything else around me in the surrounding knot of civilization carries on as usual, indifferent and apart from my experience at the beach. Nobody but surfers and saltwater junkies, the usual suspects, cares or shows any interest in the ocean.

Then comes a large swell event and suddenly the beach is abuzz in activity. Spectators crowd the shoreline just to watch the raw power of the Pacific slam against the edge of the continent. They stand ashore gazing upon the breakers mesmerized as when watching a glassy wavecampfire. Harbor Patrol boats and Coastguard Cutters cruise the roiling nearshore waters, helicopters fly up and down the beaches, and emergency first responders tool around in their various rigs, some towing wave runners.

As the swell grows the crowd in the lineup thins. On the day an exceptionally large swell peaks, typically a much small group of guys are out than I’d expect. The next day, as the swell fades, though still big, the crowd grows proportionate to how much the waves shrink until the surf reaches a more normal size, maybe overhead or whatever, and the lineup is once more thick with scores of bobbing heads. At that point the crowds of spectators and the rest have long disappeared, the coastline again quiet for the most part.

Some days later the waves turn puny and only a few people remain. Completing the cycle, the Pacific eventually flattens out like a lake taking on its namesake calm character. Then, there’s nobody around. They’ve all gone just as fast as they came, a mania of fleeting interest.

Yet I remain.

surf sunset

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7 Responses to 8@20 WNW 286°

  1. we’re anxiously awaiting this weekend’s ‘aguaji’ and this would scare the fire out of some of the homeowners at a nearby beach! your post is a bit of a heads up, as people are quite worried about the upcoming event here – just south of the line of the equator.

    the photos are great and remind us of how strong mother ocean truly is! there’s something hypnotic about watching those powerful waves roll in and slam the shore!


  2. Anonymous says:

    There was time of great upheaval in my life when I went almost daily to the beach, for solace and comfort that somehow I got from the crashing waves. The things I saw were amazing and treasures. A small pod of dolphins riding the waves close, very close to the waters edge. A small boat wreck that was bobbing again and again, against some boulders, no one around claiming the boat. A dead seal bloated and buzzy with bugs. Pelicans giant brown flying in formation, barely skimming over the tops of the waves. Jeweled bits of glass worn smooth by the water and sand, blue, crystal clear, beer bottle brown and once a rare red.

  3. I’ve always been a huge fan of the sea and waves and I’ve never surfed. I just find that, no matter what problem or anxiety I go down to a beach with, the waves soothe it away every time 🙂

  4. Pat says:

    Beautiful words and photos…

  5. stevenschlah says:

    Great pictures as usual. I finally went on a little “pilgrimage”, that might interest you, near Lockwood Valley, [image: Inline image 2] last Thursday, with 8 other guys, to an “Auto Graveyard” (not a Salvage Yard or Junk Yard), which you may already know about. Collected, are around 500+ cars, in varying states of decay, that the owner wants to “return to nature”. Each vehicle has been drained of oil and gas, so that the environment will not be adversely affected. Here are a few photos. [image: Inline image 1] [image: Inline image 3] [image: Inline image 4] And yes, the below car is a 1949-1950 “GAZ 12 ZIM” Soviet limousine. [image: Inline image 5] Steve Schlah

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