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Shorebreak 101

Cape Cod Bay Sagamore Beach

On the phone with Seth in the AM, we were on the fence about heading out. Had to act quick as it was calling to die steadily during the day.

Decided to drive out to an iWindsurf sensor "Sagamore Beach". After looking on Google Maps we had a candidate launch in mind (Scusset Beach) and decided to check it out.

Got there to find steady wind, and a bit of a shoot gallery of dead-onshore waves. We got in the car to try up the coast at Sagamore where the wind could be more side-on. Ended up being the right call.

With the wind on the sensor reading 24 gusting 29, I went for a 5.0 but was torn about possibly rigging a 6.2. Turns out I made the wrong call on the sail size, but the right call in that the tough 5.0 + skinny mast survived the lessons that followed.

Seth struggled a bit in the shorebreak before making it out, but in the end made it out with relative ease.

I went for it and got... well.. utterly destroyed. Unlike Nahant, it was a pounding shorebreak; so it was really tough to get going. Took a couple of waist high (in waist high water aka. head high) sections on the head... lost the rig once.. then dragged myself back on shore.

Went in for a second time and again got pounded.... thrown over the sail once by a wave. Shore break *shouldn't* be this hard!! I realized I had picked a pretty shit spot to go out and started analyzing the shorebreak to look for a mellower section of beach.

Seth came back in then went back out again. I watched him go, realized the error in my ways. The next two times getting out, I was able to head out immediately without problem. The proper process (for this launch)... was:

(1) Wait for a big wave (not followed by many big waves) to pound down and wash up the beach, taking the water from shin deep to waist deep.

(2) Drop the board and run out was far as you can while the wave recedes.

(3) Once you're far out.. waterstart n' go... don't dilly dally

I was failing to do step 2. After the wave washed up.. I would try to beach start right away in the temporary high water. The water would recede and the receding water would throw my balance and the smallest shorebreaek that followed would knock me off.

Once I got to the outside... I shlogged through some chop. Finally got planing on the way out and had some fun.. it was all worth it then. Definitely some massive rollers. Coming back to shore I couldn't get planing except on a wave. Going down the wave face would put you dead down-wind taking all power out of the sail. Never got to play on the waves cuz of the small sail.. but at least the small sail survived.

Things to remember:

+ Use receding waves to help you get past the critical "impact zone" spots in the shorebreak.

Weather Conditions

mid-twenties wind side-on shore which shifted to onshore. Regular chest high "chop" sometimes setting up in clean lines. Occasional head high rollers.

Water Colors

The Day at a Glance


  N 22-25 7




  96L FreeSex/5.0 Goya Wave3D


  45 min.

Sailing Site

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