Digging Deep for Waves

My November 9, 2010 Imperial Beach Patch column

What a week. It opened with the tragic death of Andy Irons just as an epic “opening day” northwest swell lit up reefs, points and beaches throughout the Eastern Pacific.

A gifted three-time ASP World Champion, Andy’s impressive and unexpected win at the Billabong Tahiti Teahupoo in September cemented his reputation as one of

Andy Irons

Image via Wikipedia

the world’s premier tube riders. Unfortunately, health problems and allegations of personal demons complicated his comeback attempt on the ASP World Tour. My condolences to his wife, family and friends on his untimely passing.

Last week’s swell started showing on Tuesday afternoon. I was in Baja and could see clean lines hitting the cobble reefs south of San Quintin.

On Wednesday the swell hit with a bang. Keith McClosky and Matt Field scored at Rincon. My former Harbor View Elementary and Mar Vista Junior High classmate Larry Kraus said, “I was close to the border surfing 6-12 foot teepees.”

“I had an amazing time in northern Baja with IB locals Jeff Hudson and Chris Russell,” said Sean Fowler. “It was 85 degrees and 5-8 foot right hand point waves. Locals were being very cool sharing waves and cold beers for sunset.”

The real king of the coast Wednesday was our own Sloughs. Kelly Kraus totaled 11 hours there over the course of the week. According to Jeff “Spiderman” Knox, “Wednesday was the first real Sloughs day of the season. First Notch was breaking even at high tide with 10′-12′ sets. It was almost like a board meeting of the Tijuana Sloughs Surf Club, with almost everyone out at some point during the day.

“On Thursday the conditions were still perfect and the swell had backed off a tad. There were about 30 surfers at the Outside Shorebreak battling for the inconsistent set waves. I paddled out to First Notch by myself. The waves were inconsistent, but great, with shorter fast rights and long sweeping lefts.”

A new round of WNW swell hit early Friday afternoon providing fun conditions for my WiLDCOAST colleagues Ben McCue and Paloma Aguirre, along with Dave Lopez, Dave Parra, and Kelly.

Since WiLDCOAST is working to conserve Baja’s Central Pacific Coast, Zach Plopper and I decided to visit our project sites (we have conserved more than 20 miles of coastline in Mexico) last week.

Along the road we met up with North County’s Chris Del Moro of Surfers for Cetaceans and Critter Baugh. WiLDCOAST will be assisting Chris and his C4 colleague Dave Rastovich on their sailing voyage down the Southern California and Baja coast in 2011 to raise awareness about the plight of our marine mammal friends.

As expected, we scored ultra long perfect rights and lots of barrels. Zach, Chris and Critter surfed with a style heavily influenced by growing up watching Seaside Reef’s Rob Machado. All three surfed with an impressive mix of deep tube time, flowing bottom turns and razor sharp snaps.

A highlight of the trip for me was watching a pod of bottlenose dolphins surf set waves all the way through the lineup. Best of luck to the Cortez Street crew who are heading south this week.

Kelly Slater surfing in the Boost Mobile Pro e...

Image via Wikipedia

The week ended with Kelly Slater’s magnificent 10th World Surfing Title at the Rip Curl Search Pro in Puerto Rico.

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Image by Janteloa via Flickr

Whether he is dominating gnarly Waimea or getting double barrels in Puerto Rico, Kelly is a credit to the sport of surfing and arguably one of history’s most dominant professional athletes.

The 28th Annual J.R. Memorial Longboard Surf Classic will be held at the Coronado Shores parking lot on Saturday, Nov. 27 at 7 a.m. The awards dinner and raffle will begin at 5 p.m at the VFW Hall at 557 Orange Ave.

This is one of the classic surf events of the season and this year for the first time will include a SUP division. To obtain a contest entry form contact John Gillem

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