Finally! What a release.
After a long, flat, ordinary summer and a dismal hurricane season (so far?), we’ve received a welcomed autumn swell. The small Easterly swell direction and funky tide made for wobbly and sometimes walled out conditions in many of our favorite spots. Alternatively, it lit up some not-so-frequented spots along the coast that accept the E swell exclusively. Regardless, I spent most of the morning Tuesday doing the run around bullshit. The ‘is it better over there?’ complex.
I face this conflict all the time when we go skiing. I ski at Bolton enough to know what spots will be poached first and which spots don’t see much traffic. The conflict often arises on powder days, evaluating the risk/reward for going to spot A on first chair vs. spot B or C? The classic maneuver is leaving your super secret stash for later in the day because you’re confident no one’s going to poach it. It’s more practical to ski out the more popular and usually better/steeper/deeper terrain until it’s tracked out.
Short but semi-relative tangent – My brother used to tell me that when he arrived in Bozeman, MT in 2007 and got his first season pass to Bridger, The Ridge terrain was preserved until the afternoon. Skiers wouldn’t hike The Ridge from first chair, primarily because everyone was under the ‘code’ that inbounds terrain was first to get tracked out and when it’s done, then everyone can pillage the ridge. This was well before the Slushman’s backcountry access lift was put in.
You’d think that a new lift put in place to turn previously out of bounds terrain into new resort sidecountry might help to spread skiers out but instead it seemed to just add more chaos, and with the chaos came the cave-in and relinquishment of the ‘code’. It’s difficult to draw a parallel here and I guess there’s really no way to compare the two sports in this manner.
…..BUT if there ever was a similar code in surfing, the last bit of the foundation caved in when the first stand up paddled into a wave.
Crowds aside, most of the time these small one day swell windows make for crunch time decisions on the high tide. My solution is simple, and probably common:
Follow the speed limit and scope every friggin spot in question.
At the least get some recon from a friend. As annoying and unnecessary as it may sound, I can relax knowing I made the best possible decision. Additionally, for as long as I can remember I haven’t had to endure any ‘Oh man, you should have been there’.
I’m sure everyone scored on this last swell. It looked like there were good waves at every spot I passed but for me, in the end it’s about the adventure and maximizing the potential of the day, the lighting, the subject or the equipment and it’s also about producing an image I’m happy and confident showing to other people. Unfortunately for me, these photos just don’t come from simply driving down to Rye and clicking the shutter.
The photographer has the ability to reference the images and prove that the team has made the best decision, in the case that they did make the best decision. Unfortunately Matt and I didn’t win on any images Tuesday, we didn’t even come close – but it’s good to work the rust out, remind the surfer of his weaknesses (just kidding, not his flailing arms) and explore new spots that we’ve never seen break.
DAMNNN it feels good to be shooting at the ocean again.
A little all over the place on today’s blog – it’s been a while since I posted anything and I may be in a state of seasonal confusion.