Surfing Where there are no Surfers

Discussion in 'Surf Travel' started by Speed Bump, Jun 4, 2014.

  1. sisurfdogg

    sisurfdogg Well-Known Member

    Jun 17, 2013
    That park used to fire some point break lefts off the south rock. You could take off behind the rock which made it an adreneline takeoff, and once you cleared the rock it was all gravy for 100 yards or more down to the hotels. Now, due to sand pumping projects to the north, to protect condo owners who built too close to the beach and then cut down the dune side vegitation so they could have an ocean view from the 1st floor of their 30 story beasts, the place is totally clogged with sand and breaks like crap. Brass Ring is not clogged with sand yet, and has good burgers and cold beer. I didn't know they offered groaper fingers on the menu.
  2. DawnPatrol321

    DawnPatrol321 Well-Known Member

    Mar 6, 2012
    Good stuff man, you paint a beautiful picture for sure. That sounds incredible, unless you fall or get worked at the wrong spot over the reef or into those rocks, then it sounds terrible HAHA

  3. worsey

    worsey Well-Known Member

    Oct 13, 2013
    bahamas = underutilzed resource.


    Sep 17, 2013
    also a slot machine, eh? dicey winds with hit or miss swells? I havent been there, but Id like to explore it for a winter or two
  5. DawnPatrol321

    DawnPatrol321 Well-Known Member

    Mar 6, 2012
    Without a doubt. Would be a lot more accessible if I had my own boat, but i'm not quite there yet. One day...
  6. ocsurf32

    ocsurf32 Well-Known Member

    Jul 22, 2012
    this is why i come onto this site. hate all the other nonsense and hashtag bs.
  7. Speed Bump

    Speed Bump Well-Known Member

    Jun 3, 2014
    Bodysurfing tiny waves on the Greek Islands in the off-season. Fun, but only if you're several backpacker wave-starved months in.
  8. Hawky

    Hawky Well-Known Member

    May 9, 2014
    What a story, Speed Bump. I honestly think that you could be an author. You described the place so well, it was like I was there. That story is better than most books these days.
  9. Samper

    Samper New Member

    May 19, 2014
    Some nice sets
  10. Speed Bump

    Speed Bump Well-Known Member

    Jun 3, 2014
    The chanting from the Buddhist temple across the street rouses me from where I sit, sleep/baking under the tropical morning sun in the alcoholic fumes from the previous night's libations. I had spent what was left of the night--and some of the morning--sleeping on a sand-filled traffic bumper, but at least it was the bumper right outside the "hotel" where my boards were. Hadn't made it back into my rented bed, but, hey, at least I got close close.

    The little beachfront party town of **n**n* on the southern tip of *a**a* is one of my favorite places in the whole wide world. Every kind of bar; from a converted VW parked on the side of the road, to a wooden plank affair steps from the water, a hopping night market from dusk till the earlies, tons of domestic tourist girls out to have some fun, and a coastline so convoluted that it is always offshore, 85 degrees, and firing somewhere.

    So, a streetside green-onion pancake, a "fried emperor", and a liter of tea later, I am feeling human enough to gather up the posse and resume the typhoon swell chase.

    We roll into the parking lot of the fishing harbor and piled out; a string of tanned surfers cutting through the throngs of locals and tourists clustering around the huge concrete edifice of the harborside fishmarket. One of our crew haggles with an old man while the blue but kinda oily harbor water swells tiredly against the concrete piers. I know enough of the language to hire a dinghy, but not enough to explain to the craggy fisherman the idea that we want to go to the reef and get out of the boat, rather than pull fish into it.

    A few minutes later we're clear of the breakwaters and growling our way toward the reef, leaving a trail of blue two-stroke smoke behind us as we glide over a undulating mirror of tropical glass. We're grinning like idiots at each other because holy crap is it going to be epic! We can see it from here; a perfect peeling line rolling along the shoals in front of green-carpeted mountain. It is dead calm and sweaty weather even in nothing but board shorts and rashys.

    We don't bother waiting for the boat to stop, everybody just tosses their gear overboard and jumps. I'm last out. As the only booger, I get to shepherd the beater log and the cooler we leash to it. The ocean is like a glass coffee table with our gear and crew scattered across it. The old man motors off into the distance. Later when I come back to the log to reapply sunscreen, milk tea, and a nip of suntory, I'll catch a glimpse of him with his nets and lines out and care about what he's doing as much as he does about us.

    It's a short paddle to the peak with little spheres of water rolling in front of me with each stroke. Yes, it's epic. No, it's not All Time. The lines wrap into the reef pass much like at HT's. The first peak is a fast critical barrel and it's just a little better than Head High. If you make it out, the wave fizzles into deeper water. You can pump through this soft section, but then it's shallow and boily. Nice view of the reef, but a sketchy ride and even sketchier paddle back out if you get caught by the rest of the set.

    Bigger sets mount up on a zag in the reef outside the soft section, with a nice slow workable face that shuts down whoever was riding down the line from first peak. It's a big drop, a couple of meaty carves on a well-overhead face, then it futzes out into a channel. The three + 1 of us bounce back and forth between that big clean face and the racetrack blue room.

    Looking in across the reef and lagoon, there's not even a breath of air to turn the two giant wind turbines next to the nuke plant squatting under the jungle-carpeted mountain. When I look back, there's a hump on the horizon that looks a lot like... yes, yes it is, an outside set breaking on 2nd reef. 2nd reef is 30 yards out from all of us. I've ridden it once. It starts out as a gorgeous drainer sucking out over the reef waay up the line, then it gets less and less critical with the barrel going from square to round to almond to foamball on the right swell. We all watch it peel off, mouths agape, and get mowed down by the whitewash. We're having an incredible aquarium fishtank session but every one of us stops to mindsurf that awesome wave. It breaks again, 30 minutes later, but the tide is rising and the swell is hitting it's peak. We're well inside the southernmost limb of *a**a*, and what wraps into **n**n* is not going to get any bigger. It doesn't break again.

    We empty the cooler and the [white guys at least] all burn to a crisp. Hours later, red-eyed and thoroughly pickled we wave back the fisherman heft ourselves into a boat now full of his flopping smelly catch, and motor back to the harbor. Heck of a day. Not a breath of air all day long. Amidst the squirting mussels and buzzing flies of the tourist fishmarket, we get a huge plate of sushi over plastic-covered ice, everybody happily shell-shocked and zoned out. It will take the rush of glucose and hydration of a string of slurpees from the islands ubiquitous mini-marts to rouse us out of our torpor and prepare us for another night and day in **n**n*.

    Its a hell of a town on a hell of an island anytime, but with a typhoon swell running, it's heaven on earth!
  11. Speed Bump

    Speed Bump Well-Known Member

    Jun 3, 2014
  12. Speed Bump

    Speed Bump Well-Known Member

    Jun 3, 2014
    Sunset solo paddleout at one of my favorite spots. Only once was there ever anyone else on it when I was there.
  13. Speed Bump

    Speed Bump Well-Known Member

    Jun 3, 2014
    Anybody ever take public transportation to surf?

    I woke up to steely wintertime drizzle over the urban landscape denser than Manhattan. The *ul*** bouy was at 3.2 meters, 12 seconds, and winds were southerly. Perfect.

    I struggled with the zipper on the board bag--rusted and gummed by the pervasive moisture--while throwing together my gear. The scent of old incense from the family shrine mixed with the damp betel-nut bitterness of *a**a* and lingered around my head as I clattered down the dark slick tile and concrete staircase, 5 floors to the street. The air was in the 60's but the locals were all wrapped up in fur-lined parkas as if we were in Novograd this January.

    With my boardbag leaning against the thin metal table, I plowed my way through a green-onion and pork fu steamed bun, some bitter soymilk, and a slightly salty breakfast soup. Man, these people eat healthy. No wonder they're so skinny. I paid for the food from the little breakfast shop and stumbled out to the bus stop where the 606 had just arrived. Shouldering my way aboard, I whacked as few people as possible with the boards as I set them down on my feet to make room for the press of bodies piling into the bus. Everyone else reached up overhead to grab the hanging handles in the bus that bump me in the chin. I smiled for a pair of highschoolers who were trying to inconspiciously take my picture.

    After 30 jerky manual-transmission minutes, the bus vomited up pretty much the entire crowd at D***men station and a flood of humanity carries me along to the "red line". Helmeted security guards eyed my boardbag and then ignore me. Foreigners are vanishingly rare on the metro, and are often carrying around incomprehensible stuff. Some more pushing brought me and my gear aboard the subway, which sailed smoothly down spotless plastic-paneled tunnels like nothing you'll see in most US cities.

    The enormous *a**e* main train station made me wish I had waited to eat. The ring of resturants on the second floor was a favorite destination. However, for once, I was going out in *a**e* to do something other than eat. The train to *u***g was much less crowded. I relaxed in comfort and stretched out as the misty bamboo-covered mountains rolled by.

    I disembarked at *u***g station, under the same mist as was falling in the city. I humped my boardbag down quiet damp streets of 2-story concrete and prefab metal roofed shops with residences perched above. Walking through a narrow warren of pillbox-sized concrete single-story houses brought me to the ornate 3-story temple perched on the headland behind the jumble of concrete jacks that made up the breakwater and coastal armor.

    *u***g was firing. From the big paved space between the temple and the water, I watched the whitewash growl up the rivermouth toward the sandy beach that stretched off into the mist. Out beyond the breakwater, the wave humped up in a gorgeous spray-topped A-frame with faces on the sets better than 10 feet. Winds were light offshore and the mist showed no signs of abating or turning into real rain. It was around noon and the air temperature had climbed into the mid-60's. The water was high-70's.

    A springy is the dumbest-looking suit we ever wear. I mean, really; a short-sleeved, capri-pant-legged unitard? I pulled mine on, nonetheless. Whichever god occupied the temple behind me was probably laughing at this bizarre lao'wei. The long-whiskered dragons and crazy colored birds on the swooping rooflines surely were. I clambered out over the concrete jacks and jumped into the channel. The river water was chilly, but the current meant basically no paddling to get into position as I bobbed out past the breakwater. I watched a set come in. The tide was high and the sandbar was a little boggy, but *u***g is always mushy. The point is to catch it big and clean so as to destroy its acers of wave face realestate. With nobody else around, I paddled right up top and set up directly on the peak well outside. When the next set came through, I let it slide under me and looked back to the sad damp pile of boardbag I had left next to the temple. A fisherman had shown up and was rigging his reel.

    I went on the second wave of the next set. Plenty of time to get into that clean soft shoulder, slow lazy pop-up to DK, then a sleigh ride down the face. Bottom turn and aim high, right back up the face to huck spray off the lip, then back down again. Big old roundhouses top to bottom, getting smaller and smaller as the wave grumbled down the line toward the beach and pedestrian bridge. Each ride was followed by a long paddle back across the cove between rivermouth and temple. Lefts were a quick drop into the river channel itself, and then nothing as the wave backed off in the deep water and just humped along the coastal armor. Very typical *u***g. Easy, soft, nice. Nothing epic, nothing exciting, but fun as heck. Lots of paddling, lots of riding. Very much like C-street, but a little less sectiony.

    After a couple of hours, I took a break to go pick up a boba milk tea (from the drink shop) and a salmon riceball (from 7-11). *u***g is a one-convience-store town, which is saying something in a place where I've seen 4 such stores on a single corner. I hate to say it, but--sitting on the breakwater eating my riceball--I was actually getting a little bored watching that big mushball, and wishing for a little bit of a crowd to spice things up. I even checked the train timetable, considering calling it a day after just a few hours. But, remembering the hundreds of SoCal waves I've let go by because somebody else was already on it, I dutifully paddled back out and goofed around for another few hours.

    The nice thing about *u***g is that there are beach showers. Nobody uses them in the "winter", but the water is left on. So I had a much less salty trek home than could've been. Fun. Different, if you've got the time. A lot of travel time compared to taking a personal vehicle.
  14. seldom seen

    seldom seen Well-Known Member

    Aug 21, 2012
    Speed Bump I thoroughly enjoy these tales. Hey man ever chew on that betel-nut?
  15. Speed Bump

    Speed Bump Well-Known Member

    Jun 3, 2014
    Yes, but I felt like my throat was closing up, so I stopped. I think I'm slightly allergic to it. Sometimes I feel the same thing when eating soup made with the tops of the trees, but milder.

    It's trippy what far easterners eat. I look forward to the cuisine every time I make the crossing. I always end up eating a s-tonne of fish and squid. Mmmm.... methylmercury.
  16. seldom seen

    seldom seen Well-Known Member

    Aug 21, 2012
    Interesting stuff man...I would've stopped too I think.
  17. Speed Bump

    Speed Bump Well-Known Member

    Jun 3, 2014
    Wrote this a few days ago, but internet was down then due to the typhoon, and I forgot I had saved it:


    I'm writing this as torrential rains from Matmo's outer bands are whipping the **** out of the coffeeshop window right next to me. There's still people out on the streets of *u***** but not for much longer.

    Today was pretty sick. The central weather agency's website showed the *u***** nearshore bouy at 5 meters and the weather station at the harbor was reporting 5m/s northwesterly winds, so I hopped in the Verica and rattled down to *e**o* park. At 15', that's about the only place which might have been rideable.

    As always, the park was ugly. There's a couple of squat concrete-and-tile buildings with some incomprehensible stuff--and bathrooms--inside. There's some scrubby sandy grass, some faded rusty play equipment, and a dirty sand-and-cobblestone-and rebar beach.

    The surf, though, was epic! There's a little cove formed by a stubby jetty and the huge harbor breakwater. A little rivermouth discharges in the cove and generates the sandbars that sit offshore between jetty and breakwater. Matmo's swell was hitting the sandbar way outside the cove and peeling off in a smoking left-hander which warped along the arc of the underwater river channel. It was OH to DOH, offshore, and clean. Lots of water moving around near shore. Big fountains of spray in the background from the breakwater and artificial harbor entrance headland, while container ships and fishing boats streamed into *u*****'s port just a few hundred yards away, taking shelter from the typhoon.

    *e**o* is not, by any stretch of the imagination, a swimming spot. There's debris from the harbor and jetties all over the place with plenty of twisted rebar sticking out to hook the unwary. Entry into the bombing shorey was dicey, so I decided to pick my way out atop the jetty. Pulled on my gear and kinda flopped into a swell rolling along the jetty and paddled gingerly clear. There was lots of water moving around, as I said, but a pretty clear open channel to the break, but for a couple of duckdives near the jetty.

    Definitely industrial surfing at it's finest. To my right was a headland with tractor trailers, stacks of containers, and big rusty ship loading cranes, plus a few big container ships that had seen better days. Straight ahead was the ugly beach park backed by warehouses with *u*****'s misty green mountains looming in the background across the rift valley. Outer band squalls were dropping curtains of rain over the city and storm surf was blasting white spray over the harbor breakwater, but my area was protected and the swell wrapping in was pretty managable.

    There was a lot of boat wake from everybody making port, but otherwise *e**o*'s ultra-rare left-hander was making a solid appearance. Lines of tight-period typhoon swell marched in, mounted up on the sandbar and smoked in the offshores. The right closed out all the way to the headland, but the left corner started out soft, then got punchier until it threw a makeable barrel or sectioned, then it backed off and ended in a sectiony sloppy wall if you held on that long. Big drops and solid faces and barrels. A lot like a bigger, sorta softer, Lance's Left, but much much uglier surroundings.

    Conditions stayed good for about 2 hours before a big old electrical storm rolled through. I am not ashamed to say that my worst wave of the day was the wave in. After lightning hit somewhere in the port, I realized I'm out here on the open ocean in a typhoon, like an idiot. I took the next big closeout in, getting steamrollered by the whitewash, and just about impaling myself on a broken bit of reinforced concrete.

    Of course, the Varica doesn't run real well when it gets [very] wet, since the battery is strapped to the outside under the flatbed. So I had a real nice view of the electrical storm from the damp, smelly cabin. When the lightning let up, I got out with a towel, and managed to dry the connection enough to get juice to the starter. Almost paddled back out, because it still looked pretty good, but I went for a bowl of pork dumpling soup from a famous place in town, instead. A good choice, because it's been pretty much nonstop lightning since I stowed the vehicle.

    Now, just have to hope the trains keep running so I can get back to *a**e* before Matmo comes ashore in earnest...
  18. cepriano

    cepriano Well-Known Member

    Apr 20, 2012
    lol that gave me a good laugh with the arrow lol.
  19. Boogeyman

    Boogeyman Member

    Jun 26, 2014

    Discovered this slew of sick right-handers before the typhoon. Long freaking climb/walk from the nearest road, though. I need a boat, or maybe a helicopter.

    Lol, I guess my secret identity has been revealed.
  20. worsey

    worsey Well-Known Member

    Oct 13, 2013
    el salvador (bahamas) has a beaut of a righthander.
    nobody either knows about it or talks of it... but i do. happy to share when you go...