Sunday, October 10, 2010

Surf's Up

There were just three of us, Robert the owner of WaterSmyth Kayaking, my paddling friend Lee and me off Wrightsville Beach for a surf class Saturday. It was a beautiful day, with 2-3 ft surf.

We’d met at the drawbridge that goes over to the beach, and paddled north cutting through the marsh to Mason’s Inlet.
Mason’s Inlet is a small inlet between the northern end of Wrightsville Beach and the Southern end of Figure-Eight Island. It’s very shallow, only surfers, kayakers, and local fisherman use it. (Masonboro Inlet on the South end of WB is the navigable inlet used by most boat traffic.) 

Once at the inlet we stopped and walked around the point to check the surf on the beach and pick the route that would take us through the shoaling and confused areas created by the outgoing current.

We were on the water a little past 10, it was a long day returning at 5:30. The class included all the practice drills, lots of parallel shore paddling practicing both low and high bracing in the surf break and with lots of side surfing work, then surf launching and landings, and finishing with some fun surfing, working on control with stern rudders and of course more side surfing after the broach.  Pictures below are of Lee playing in the surf.

It had been over a year since I’d actually played in surf, I’ve done lots of paddling over the past year, and in open and rough water, but nothing with a real surf concentration; and it showed. A bit like getting back on a bike after a long time off, I found myself not as confident as usual and a bit wobbly starting off. Three flips (one roll, and 2 swims in the shallows) in the first hour, then once that was over, I was back in my game, working on skills and having fun. 

I’ve always loved my distance paddling, and especially kayak camping and trips. But yesterdays surf session was a lesson and reminder of how important it is to take time to continue to work on important skills, skills that allow the other to continue in a safe way.  And it was so much fun.  I'm already planning another surf day for next month before it gets too cold.

1 comment:

Michael said...

Sounds like lots of fun, something I need to learn! Perhaps this winter when I'm in southern waters...