From Dawn to Dusk (sunsets and smiles)
Semiahmoo Bay White Rock Beach – East Beach (WRB)
Arrived at the beach pre-dawn at about 7:15 am to it being almost dead calm. By 7:30 the small bushes were starting to move with a light sideshore wind (ESE ~5 and freshening), 6 degrees, solid cloud, light rain, high tide - water at the top of storm sewer outfall), small one foot swell from the south, Christmas lights are up, and parking is free until 10 am. Glad I brought a book.
By 8:30 the trees were starting to rustle and the SE was strong enough for big gear – but it was flat, cold and there was the promise of better things to come.
Other hopeful sailors began to arrive and we watched the unsettled wind shift, puff and lift. We saw the WWII planes flying in formation getting ready to do there Remembrance Day fly-by. We rigged two masts (NP 370 and Ezzy 370) in Chefmiester’s 4.2 as the wind filled in.
Witches Brew: It almost felt a little warmer now (maybe 9 degrees). I took to the water and got a couple of rides and jumps in the light early conditions – then things went sour. This is one of the most frustrating stints I have done in while – gusts like cannon balls, big headers sailing back to the launch, the rocks of the launch seemed like magnets, more waves watched then ridden, and forever being pushed into the shallows. Some of the thoughts that flashed though my head were: “This is the Minet’s Point of BC.” (flat and puffy/shifty); “The rumours of this place going off are greatly exaggerated!”; “You would have to be patient, stupid, or both to enjoy sailing here.” Sorry about that, but that was how super frustrating this was (especially after having waited almost 5 hours for this to show up and the whole time wondering what I was ‘missing’ over at Centennial).
Playful Waves: Then just as I was getting ready to head in and pack-up to go somewhere else (anywhere else), it happened – the wind shifted SW and the ‘playful waves showed up’! This was a golden moment (like a mini-SBX) – enough power to play in the waves now. Long backside rides could be taken in either direction (although starboard could be ridden for what seemed like the whole length of the beach).
Sunset and Smiles: I had just sailed down to the east about half way down the Indian Reserve, gybed and looked back up the beach to the pier to see a wall of vaporized (about 100 m wide and 100m tall) water lift up off the surface of the ocean in the sunlight – “What the h*ll is that?” I thought? I told myself, “Must have been some redneck in the pick-up doing donuts in a dirt parking lot.” I realized it was no pick-up truck, but a ‘wall of wind’ when I saw Daniel explode off the beach on the NW a few seconds later. “Oh crap!” A few seconds after that my 110 was lifted off the water exploding from my hands like a wild horse and did cartwheels downwind. There are not too many times when the wind comes up so quickly (and with so much force) that I can not sail (thankfully) – but this was one of them. I was really struggling to just prevent my gear from getting trashed (and stop it from hitting me). To make the humiliation even worse Daniel was banging off his own personal air show – landing clean forwards! I buried a LOT of energy walking my gear back to launch straight upwind (and was thankful I was not way down the beach where I had been sailing earlier). Grabbed my camera and banged off a few pictures. Rigged my 4.0 (three sail sizes smaller) and grabbed my 74 (two board sizes smaller). As I rigged I saw Mike bang off a nice air. “Nice!” I said out loud. My 4.0 was a little underpowered at first, then I released a little outhaul and it was ‘just right’. There were lots of ramps to choose from (and some avoided just to maintain control). The wind stayed until sunset (a brilliant orange and pink glow) then started to back quickly – I grabbed my 85, but it was not enough with the 4.0. Second try I grabbed my 110/6.0 and followed Alton out for a sunset cool down and it was truly awesome – icing on the cake!
As special thank you to Brad for his “heads up” about hanging around for the ‘epic’ NW condition, the warning to watch out for the rocks off the sewer outfall, and the warning about the NW lag.
What a day – emotional lows and highs – hail, sun, the ‘wall of wind’ – backside wave rides, jumps to port and starboard - sunset and smiles. As Jordan forewarned, “A day to remember.”
Quotes of the day:
Us: “On what direction is this launch really good?”
Jordan: “There was this one time... ...White Rock Beach is the trickiest launch in the Lower Mainland.”
Me: “That’s not good.” (thought but not said)
Tourist (at sunset as I was leaving the water for the last time): “That looks like fun, but hard, no?”
Me: “It’s easy! If I can do it, anyone can do it. The equipment is so forgiving now.”
Tourist: “How much for the whole set up?”
Me: “$600 used.”
Tourist: “Including the suit?”
Me: “Suit separately”
Tourist: “Yeah (slightly disappointed).”
Me: “Take a lesson (and suggested the warmth of Hood River) and see if you like it.”
Tourist: “Oh I like it!” – laughter.
There were three parts to this session:
Part 1 = ‘Witches Brew’ (12:30 to 1:00)
Part 2 = ‘Playful Waves’ (1:00 to 2:30)
Part 3 = ‘Sunset and Smiles’ (2:30 to 4:30)
For each of the conditions ratings below there is one rating for each of the three parts – as they were so different, one to the other (‘witches brew’/’playful waves’/’sunset and smiles’).
Wind */***/**** (out of five stars)
Witches Brew: Light, puffy, shifty, SSW. Wind was stronger to the east, but hard to get to.
Playful Waves: Steady SW.
Sunset and Smiles: Full on NW, which arrived with snap. The wind now had a bite to it (noticeably colder). Once it settled in - steady with gusts and few holes on the inside, but overall very nice. The direction varied from direct side shore on the inside to side-onshore on the outside.
Water/Waves */****/*** (out of five stars)
Witches Brew: Rolling swell over at the pier.
Playful Waves: Knee to waist high pushing waves in organized lines straight onshore.
Sunset and Smiles: Steep short sections of waves on the inside and large rolling swell on the outside. Both have decent spacing and were fairly well organized.
Jumps **/**/**** (out of five stars)
Witches Brew: Jumping easily favoured to port on the way to and over at the pier. Wind/wave angle was about 30 degrees at times.
Playful Waves: Jumps to starboard could be had off the pitching facing to starboard. Wind/wave angle was much tighter now – maybe 10 degrees.
Sunset and Smiles: Jumps favoured to starboard. Big steep vertical faces were presented making big airs possible. Setups for forwards and backs were offered. Wind/wave angle was 90 degrees on the inside and about 45 degrees on the outside.
Stoke */***/***** (out of five stars)
Witches Brew: No stoke – if fact there was some hate rolling around in my mind.
Playful Waves: A mix of stoke and frustration – those riding/jumping were feeling the stoke and those knocked off balance by the waves and/or white water (or still standing on the beach waiting for more wind) were feeling some frustration.
Sunset and Smiles: All stoke! Daniel exploded onto the water and put on his own personal air show when the ‘wall of wind’ arrived. Brad timed the end of his work day perfectly to arrive as the ‘wall of wind’ arrived. Chris was feeding of the excitement of the ‘playful waves’ part of the session and the positive comments from the ‘fans’ on the beach. Alton was happy to be ‘learning’ new stuff. But Jordan was the “king of stoke” – getting to try out his self-proclaimed “bad boy” (Evo) and then I saw one ear-to-ear grin followed by a ‘YYYYYEEEEEE HHHHHAAAAA” as he ripped to the outside!
Note in picture 4 of 5 that is Daniel landing one of his many forwards!