Sup Surfing the Central Coast During Last Weekend’s Santa Ana Winds
Nick Rarig called and said Constantine Rock looked good and not too windy. I met Nick and we quickly paddled out. It was about a half mile paddle to our destination. Once out there, Nick immediately grabbed a big one and raced passed the large rock.
I lucked out on the second wave as Nick paddled back out. It was bitchin!
We repeated our routine for another twenty minutes until the offshore winds kicked in. I tried to grab another wave, but was denied BIG TIME. Too windy! The chop increased exponentially.
It was a quick decision to head back. Get on your knees and dig in! The more we paddled, the harder the wind blew. At one point I grabbed some kelp to rest and wait for Nick.
When he caught up we both agreed things were getting sketchy. Luckily I had my Stun Gun sup board with a narrow nose. Nick was heading toward a small sand beach, while I was trying to head south towards Abalones.
I kept looking north to check Nick’s progress. By the time I made it into a small sandy cove, surrounded by rocks, Nick was 1/4 mile north. He made it to the top of the bluff. I walked as far south until the rocks forced me up on the bluff at Abs.
Once up on the bluff, I looked back to see Nick struggling with his board, still 1/4 mile away.I decided to take my chances and walk back to my car at the Rarig Boathouse. The walk back was plenty of work, but I made it back to my car and headed back to help Nick.
By the time I got back, Nick came walking up the trail. He said two women saw he was dealing with board so hard to hold in the wind that it looked like he was wrestling with an airplane wing, so they helped him the last part of the trek.
We loaded the boards in my Element, just as Dawn Borst (Steve Rarig’s girlfriend) drove up in Steve’s pickup. They had been watching us score those beautiful waves. They also realized we were in trouble with the strong winds. It just so happened that there was a disposed couch where we were standing, so I suggested we record the moment for Standup Journal.
The Moral of the Story: Surf when you can. We could die tomorrow or just get blown to Japan!
-Tom Craig, Cayucos, California
Stoked you guys got in ok, TC and Nick! Here’s a tip to all caught in offshore winds from Wingnut: “Never be afraid to lay down on your board and paddle back surfer style; WAY less wind resistance”