Why? How? When?

Do you ever float in the Ocean wondering…

Why do waves come in sets? Why do sets come in sets? Why do some sets have 4 or 5 waves while others only have 1? How does a storm’s pressure gradient effect the consistency of a swell? When will swell come again? Why do some waves double-up and focus more energy onto the sandbar? How does the tide swing impact a shoaling wave? Why does wave energy refract toward shallower water? How does sand move bank to bank? Why do some evenings glassoff and others don’t? When will swell come again? How does turbulence from previous waves affect the shoaling of the next wave? Where is the best wave on Earth breaking right now? How do islands and offshore features affect swell approaching a coastline? Am I missing a better wave breaking nearby? How does wind and upwelling impact water temperature? How does water temperature affect swell production? Why do seasonal changes change the areas of Ocean that generate swell? How does coastal geology impact bathymetry? How does coastal ecology impact bathymetry? When will swell come again? Will climate disruption equal more swell? What’s more important for swell: size of the storm, duration of the storm or direction? Does a storm in the Indian Ocean eventually create swell in the South Pacific? What happens when different swell trains cross in the middle of the Ocean? Does a storm in the North Pacific become a winter storm in Cleveland, then a Nor’easter on the US east coast and then eventually a swell for Europe? Do Pacific hurricanes originate in Sahara dust off the coast of Africa? Are all low pressure systems connected? When will swell come again? Are the cobbles always on the beach but covered with sand or do they move beach to beach? Are the swell generating systems in our Oceans connected on a macro scale? How important are the micro-connections of capillary waves to the formation of a swell? As the sun goes through 8 year cycles of activity, does swell production increase and decrease accordingly? What did the waves look like breaking on beaches during the time of supercontinent Pangea? What will waves look like 100 million years from now? Where have the biggest and best waves broken in the history of Earth? How do the properties of individual water molecules impact the formation of swell? Does salinity affect swell production? When will swell come again?
-KS

Throwback to Two Weeks in October

The southern hemisphere storm and swell track was comatose throughout much of August and September 2017.  The East Coast of the USA saw weeks of pumping, epic tropical swell, while California and Hawaii watched the live cams and highlights jealously. Swell Affective Disorder (SAD) was deep-rooted. Waveriders walked around slouched over, staring longing at the horizon, hoping for some kind of Ocean energy.

The first pulse after a long doldrum.

Then everything changed. Neptune flipped a switch and provided two weeks of excellent surf at the end of October. A series of solid southern hemisphere swells comboed with fun NW windswell, good tides and perfect local conditions to produce weeks of fun.

Waveriders quickly became sore, rashed, sandy and thoroughly womped. But most of us would gladly trade a couple months of weak swell for a couple weeks of solid swell and excellent conditions. We chased it hard. Some didn’t need anymore after the first week but sucked the marrow out of it. Everyday, 2-3 times a day. Before first light and after last light. 

Conditions remained good from dawn til dusk.
G
Combo swells and bending waves for days.

Ideal
Never ever tire of this.
Enough for everyone.
Again and Again and Again

Perspectives from Professional WaveRiders

Rob Machado:

Rob Machado

Bodysurfing played a huge role in my development as a wave rider.  My first memories were from the shore break.  It was my first understanding of what it felt like to get tubed.  From there I graduated to riding a body board and then eventually on to a surfboard and I took those same fundamentals of “how to get tubed” along with me ever since.

I love when I see guys bodysurfing.  I always give them the right of way.  It takes so much more effort to get in the line up and put yourself in the right spot for the right wave… They deserve more respect.

I still bodysurf and I don’t leave home without my fins… Always in my car or in my board bag.
*Cover Photo: Sean Davey

Greg Long:

Greg Long Photo: Robert B. Stanton

Bodysurfing…. The most pure and beautiful way to experience the act of wave riding. Every surfer out there should occasionally take a step away from their conventional wave riding craft and dive back into the water with nothing but a set of fins. There is no freedom quite like that which you experience when you’re body surfing, fully immersed in the ocean, gliding in harmony with mother natures energy. Body surfers are welcome in any lineup as far as I’m concerned.

Gary Linden:

Linden Surfboards

Bodysurfing was my first experience riding a wave and one I will never forget. My Father grew up in Hermosa Beach and started teaching me about the Ocean from an early age. In those days there were no Boogie boards so we learned to bodysurf. Once I had a feel for how the Ocean worked with the currents and swells it became my number one priority. I eventually got a surfboard but the knowledge acquired from bodysurfing is still in use to this day.

I am really stoked that a group of guys are bodysurfing at the beach where i always surf. It reminds me of what we are out there for, to feel the force of nature. Bodysurfing is the root of all wave riding and seeing it being enjoyed keeps it all in perspective for me.

Analog Bodysurf

This is an introduction to a new column we will be running called “Analog Bodysurf.” 

We are bodysurfers first. But photography is a secondary passion that complements our Ocean pursuits.

fullsizerender-10-copyAfter a few years of ever upgrading digital cameras, Eric found a Yashica TLR film camera from the 70s at a thrift store. Turns out we are both collectors/pack rats of old, vintage stuff. The first time I handled the Yashica, I was hooked. We immediately started searching swap meets, yard, estate sales, antique stores, thrift shops and the Internet for old cameras. A couple years later and we each have about 10 cameras, developing materials and we can turn his garage into a darkroom for printing with an enlarger.

From Tom Blake to Doc Ball to Ron Church, it is incredible that all surf photography before about the year 2000 was taken 36 images at a time on a film camera. It is said that a photographer does not begin taking quality photos until he actuates a camera 10,000 times. Well then, we might not ever take good analog bodysurf shots, but we certainly enjoy the process anyway.  

scan4280
Nikon FM2
Morning.
Minolta X-700
Nikonos-V
Nikonos-V
Nikon FM2
Nikon FM2
Nikonos-V
Nikonos-V
Minolta X-700
Minolta X-700

Dawn Sunday

By Drew Green

It is dawn on a Sunday. The cold, metal railing seems to the draw the line between wild and civilized, dividing groomed, green grass from unkempt and restless waters. Up above, seagulls hasten to make their morning dives, squawking in their pursuit of crabs and fish, hoping to snag something fresh before the sun rises. As they break the glasslike surface of the water, a new world is briefly revealed to them, as much separate from as it is tied to their own. A sea lion glides past, curious of the feathered disturbance to its breakfast routine. The beast flies effortlessly through the obsidian murk, dipping and diving, reveling in the occasional catch. Once the fish is caught, the creature flicks it into the air, as if playing a game of aquatic basketball. The animal’s play inspires a nearby photographer to… “CLICK” The shutter of a Canon 5D slams down, and this moment is freed from the fleeting nature of time.

They never stay on the bluff for long, the photographers. The frigid offshore wind shoos them and their beanies along the path and eventually back to the refuge of their cars. As the photographer pulls out, his space is taken by a red VW van.. The owner knows the icy water is warmer than the air around him. A neoprene-clad foot steps out from behind the scarlet door, across the manicured grass, and past the railing; casually leaving the uniform parking spaces, grid-paper grass, and engineered symmetry of the apartment building behind it. The man steps down the jagged Torrey sandstone, and sits down on the damp, worn ledge that has been the seat of many a patient water-goer. With fins on, he casts off as water rushes up onto the thawing rocks around him.img_0822

Rocks that have been here for eons. Sometimes the rocks are friendly. Most times they are not. Occasionally they shift and clamor with excitement, when the waves get too big. Today the rocks just wait, immersed in the constant energy of the surf. Energy that has travelled long and far to deliver its fatal blow on this ragged coastline. All of the members of the morning cast feel it. The sea lion is lifted from its hiding place in the kelp, the gulls evacuate their roost on the once-calm surface, the man dives deep into the blue. While submerged, he pauses to look back through the vertical pane of water as it stands up on the reef. He sees the distorted form of the apartment building, complemented by a row of crooked parking spaces, a furry swath of green grass, and a twisted, gray railing.img_0833