I've lived on the east coast, hawaii, and cali, and I think the worst consistently difficult paddle out for "regular guy" surfers like myself is Ocean Beach SF. It is such a pain that most of the reports include a paddle-out time ("took me 45 min to get out").
eh, I've made plenty of walks of shame, no biggie on the east coast breaks. It's nice actually, the ocean self regulates here. If you can make it out, go for it. No channel to stumble out into and then get raped on a wave you shouldn't be surfing in the first place. I did paddle out on the wrong side of a pier once, realized this about 1/2 way out when the first set came though. That was interesting. Broke the board and shredded the wetsuit on the barnacles
ocean beach, ca sf hardest paddle out ive had http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4KvBx5EJEno
i've surfed blacks when it was around head high, but never bigger. i can imagine surfing there during a big swell is a recipe for some rough beatings. one of the worst paddle outs i've experienced happened a few years ago at overhead marias in pr, ona board that was way too short on a day with a ridiculous current. i ended up finally making it out there and caught a wave at dogmans, broke my leash duck diving a clean up set on the way back out and ended up swimming/getting pummeled all the way to the inside where my board was floating. A friend of mine also lost his board to the clean up set and had to swim in with me. He definitely helped keep me from panicking on the swim in, as I had never experienced anything that heavy before. Im pretty sure he ended up paddling back out, but after the initial paddle out and the subsuquent swim in, I was done. Besides this experience,any winter swell at home (NY) has the potential to leave you stuck on the inside, paddling till you're exhausted, without having caught a wave.
Hey Gaff that link's not connecting, not sure if it's just my computer though. Roughest paddle out for me was at a R.I. beachie during a 'cane swell in '03, the storm before Isabel. Oddly enough, one of the easier paddle outs I've had was on the day I rode the biggest wave of my life, the Luis swell in '95, at an undislosed point. Made the decision to paddle up the point after getting my ass handed to me on the sand bar, had no clue how big it was till I actually got out there.
My toughest paddle out/most memorable, would have to be down in Rodanthe a few years back. There was a huge south swell, with a good 8 mph south to north current. I didn't want to paddle out, but I let my two crazy friends talk me into it. We paddle out just north of the pier and by the time I made it out, I was just passing S Turns (around 2 miles down the beach). The waves were just freight training rights, a couple feet overhead and more rectangles than round, just throwing out thiiiick barrels. I kept missing waves, half because they were impossible, half because I couldn't bring my self to jump over the ledge. Finally I realized that I couldn't see Rodanthe anymore and that I was going to have to make it to shore at some point. I paddle as far in as a I could and caught a medium sized one, and it was by far the fastest wave I've ever caught.
I was so stoked I paddled out for one more and in the process, took the heaviest lip to the head during a duckdive that I saw stars. My head almost got smashed into my board and I was immediately sucked back over the falls upside down and throughly thrashed, but I didn't let go of my board, even though it was way oversized for me/conditions (6'2 Santa Cruz fish, I only weighed in around 145).
Anyways, I finally made it to hwy 12 and started the 5 mile walk back to Rodanthe with my thumb out, trying to hitch a ride. I must have seen 20 empty pickup trucks drive by (fishermen hate surfers I guess) before a chick in a tacoma with only room on the tailgate to sit, gave me a ride back to town. It took me a couple nervous hours to find my other to buddies by driving down HWY 12 and running across the dunes looking for them up and down the beach.
Ocean Beach--It just gets insane
Moss Landing---Can be almost as bad as O beach
Puerto---Can really be rough when it gets well overhead but then it just lets you out sometimes
Any descent sized beach break when the h20 is low 50s or below----ugh
Strictly for length of paddle, Santa Catalina is a journey there and back--like half an hour
I was also on a boat trip to a no name break breaking half a mile off land in Nica one time and a dude and I drifted down the break a bit and it was IMPOSSIBLE to get back out after catching a couple waves --- and of course we had to to get to the boat so we had to get back out. I managed to punch through after about 10 minutes but the other guy was ducking diving waves for 45 minutes about 15 feet away from me...it was crzy
Originally Posted by WeekendWarriorMdVaNc
That's intense man. Had a similar experience in RI during pre-hurricane swell. I tend to agree with Lee that the right coast is self-regulating, but everyone has those moments where the force of the ocean shocks them, and one of the craziest for me was during Irene last year. I was watching the path predictions early, so I went into angry broad deterrence mode. I planned a "getaway weekend" with the girl near the beach (that is generally clean during solid E/SE swell) before she heard about the storm and subsequently wanted to spend the weekend watching point break and listening to the rain... I’ve digressed.
The point I was going to make was I believe it was Sunday right at the end of August, and you could tell the hurricane was passing. The barometer was still all screwed up , winds were ~30mph NNW, it still wasn’t friendly out. I was parked on a bluff overlooking a NE facing beachbreak w/ miles of beach north and south. The ocean was still looking a bit discourteous, and after an hour of convincing myself the waves were shaping into a-frames, although uncomfortably large and most likely unmakeable, I considered suiting up. At this point an SUV driven by a once-hot soccer mom pulled up. Immediately two kids, maybe 17, jump out with bodyboards, sprint down the cliff just frothing and jump in. I’m not kidding when I say within one minute, the sideshore had swept them so far north they were gone - couldn't see them from the cliff. Until then I never thought someone was going to literally get taken into the Atlantic. It must have hit the mom all of a sudden because she stopped smiling, then she started losing her sh*t. I told her to follow me to the next beach, about 2 miles north, because there was no way they were making it back there. Some guys used to intentionally drift the beaches, but not like this. She followed me to the next beach and we just watched. After about 20 mins of waiting we were about to make some calls. Finally two black dots came into view on the beach… from the north. They were panicked and said they tried coming as soon as they got in but they had absolutely no control – they went north and then got pulled into a rip and they were fortunate to hang onto their boards and caught some lucky waves which eventually deposited them on the beach...3 miles from where they went in. Hurricanes carry a lot of power. Anyway I'm sure that would have been my worst paddle out had I made it in haha. Sorry for carrying on and a lack of paragraph separation but thanks for the good stories.
DOH plus at Hermosa. It was brutal. Nobody was out except a couple of guys towing. My friends and i were going out nor matter what being that we just got off the plane and were so stoked to surf...
After 45 min of duckdiving I made it out. Took 1 wave, got the barrel of my life along with 2 of the best turns. I should have kicked out after the barrel but I was too stoked. A 2 story wall of water crashed on my head and I got thrashed for what I felt was 2 minutes, probably closer to 20 sec.. But, when I tell people it's 2 minutes. The black sand made it so dark.
I washed up in to water I can stand in, got my **** together and walked outto applause on the beach. I thought they saw my barrel and I felt like Slater. Then I pulled my leash to grab my board and realized why they were clapping. My shorts were on the other end of my leash. Thank god it didn't snap or my walk up the beach a lot more embarressing.
when it gets big on north costa beachies its about a 1/2 mile paddle out. went at it for a half hour just to have a clean up set come through and break my leash. lucky my buddy was headed back out when it happened to assist. still pretty scary