Thrashed, Trashed, Clipped, Rocked and Rolled at (naming names) Seaside

If you roll up to the parking area at Seaside Cove and notice the wind isn’t howling, the sun is out, full force, the waves are… well, it’s a little hard to judge because no one is out, and you… stop. No one is out; take that as a hint. It isn’t a secret spot, and, a couple of days after Labor Day, there still should be some long weekenders hitting it; and it was just about time for after-workers, locals, soft top renters, someone.

Rather than heading out from the sand-bottom of the Cove, I was going to save myself the paddle out through a hundred yards or so of waves, wavelets, chop from previous winds, a northwest swell mixed and comboed with the chop, sidechop bouncing off the rocks… yeah, the rocks; I would pass the confusion, slip down the dry rocks to the slippery ones and ease in, past the confusion, straight out to the lineup.

Such as there is a lineup. I would pick off a few lefts, maybe, close to the rocks, some of those rights that peak, offer a drop, and an exit; staying away from the lefts that drop you off in the impact zone. Yeah, and maybe I’d head up toward the Point; I mean, like, this time there weren’t any Locals out to be irritated, and, from the still-dry rocks, it did look like there might be a few zingers out there.

NOW, let me explain the rocks. Boulders, really, each one seemingly planted erect, like an obelisk, few lying sideways, as one would think they should; rather like a field of boulders, not dropping off quickly into deeper water, but more rocks farther out; and, with one foot wedged between this monument and another, my leash wrapped around another, somewhere behind me, I discover I’m nowhere near a place where the waves aren’t hitting.

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Fifteen minutes, or so, later, I had moved my van over across from the bathrooms/shower, changed to my shorter-but-stronger leash, one that probably wouldn’t rip loose from my ankle like the other one did, and was back out, through the wavelets and waves and cross-chop. Somewhere in the time I was regrouping, deciding whether to go back out or go back to my Dad’s house in Chinook, two other surfers had come out.

I caught a wave, nice peak, dropped in, didn’t make my decision on which way to go in time. Bloop. Regroup; paddle back out, just in time to be just inside of one of the two surfers to drop into a head high wall just in front of me. BLOOP! “Sorry, man.”

“No problem,” he said.  A few moments later he said, “I have to give you credit. I was watching, through the binocs; you took a thrashing; didn’t give up.” Self-identified as a 25 year local, Jason (this is after I explained I only surf Seaside when I’m visiting my Dad, and usually surf the way-more-in-control waves in the Strait) gave me a few tips on clearing the rocks, like, maybe, wait for a lull. “Lull, yeah. Thanks.” “You know,” he said, “all my friends have surfed in the Strait; I’ve never been.” “Well; maybe when you get, you know, older.”

Mostly I was grateful to get some kind of props for trying to recover from the worst thing on a real surfer’s worry list, looking awkward/gooney/kookish/out of control; way worse than wiping out, blowing a takeoff on the wave of the day (no, that’s worse, if only slightly). Adding witness to either of the above-mentioned terrors compounds the event.

So, I caught another left, with Jason inside to witness something less kook-like; dropped while driving, got into a great position on the wall, then got clipped, just barely, by the lip, and… BLOOP! Roll. Regroup. Blow more water out of my sinuses. A few more waves, a couple of closeouts, a right that hit deep water and vanished; and a long wave, made the drop, drove through a tube, hit the open face, slid into a turn, went for another… BLOOP!

Now I was caught inside, well into the miles of beachbreak between the Cove and the Columbia. It was enough. When I got back to my van, there were two people fooling around in the near-shore reforms, and, squinting toward the horizon, fields of rocks and Jason was nowhere to be seen.

ADDENDUM- When you have a tough session, all one wants to do is make up for it the next time. I was planning on going the next day, maybe somewhere else, but was actually in the area to paint my Dad’s addition; and I had to get back home. My friend, Hydrosexual Stephen Davis, and his son Emmett, came down during the night, checked out Seaside the next morning. Overhead, waves breaking on the horizon, northwest wind. “You aren’t missing anything,” Steve said on the phone. Later he and Emmett hiked down to one of the secluded coves, paddled out to some low tide closeouts. “Worth it, Steve?” “Yeah.” That’s when, in retrospect, one decides a couple of nearly-made tubes might be counted as a success. But, next time…

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photos from fairly recent encounter

My sister, Melissa, took a few photos when we were both down at Chinook, visiting our Dad. I wrote and posted about the session earlier, and Melissa and I went over the photos she took of the session (one did include the guy who, when I moved just a little too far up the point, told me I needed to get myself over to the beach breaks). Hey, I was ready to get out anyway.

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Since then our 92 year old father has had, after many delays and a couple of stints in the hospital, an angioplasty procedure, successful, with a stent put in. He’s recovering; I’m going to go down to see him, and, if I see something breaking I can’t resist…

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…if you have a problem with me showing up, maybe you’ll have to talk to my father about it.  No, you can talk to me. I’d post more photos, but I asked Melissa to only send me ones where the waves were bigger and/or I was thinner. Big rocks, huh; at this semi-private, semi-secret spot?

Meanwhile, I’m way too busy right now to even get the additional pages for my coloring book set up… but I’m working on it.

 

Oregon Secret Spot Secretly (at least covertly- sort of) Photographed

UPDATE: Here’s a shot of my nephew, Fergus Lynch, at Waikiki Beach in Ilwaco, close to my father’s house in Chinook, Washington. Wait, is this a surf spot? Ooops.

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It isn’t really a secret spot, but it is really quite well protected. While I was driving around looking for a place to park where I wouldn’t have to hike past a beachfire attended by what, from a distance, I would have to think were surfers, parked in someone’s back yard; surfers who would, no doubt, be unhappy to see yet another non-local drawn to the unmistakable (to another surfer) long distance view of glassy, heavy, twirling barrels, my nephew, Fergus, did take the hike. Not a surfer (other than the times we hit Seaside Cove while visiting my Dad- Not this trip, however, on Christmas Day), Fergus got some great shots. This is, in my opinion, the best of them.

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When it was evident that he was taking photos, one of the surfers came in, walked up to Fergus, said, “You better hide that camera.” With his next breath, he asked, somewhat excitedly and unexpectedly, “Did you get my last ride?” Fergus gave him a digital review of his photos. He had just caught the last of the surfer’s last ride, an attempted kickout close to the rocks. Perhaps Fergus, not looking like a threat, probably more like a hipster (and this is the last time I will ever use the word- hipster, that is, not tourist) tourist, and maybe more so when his parents caught up to him, got away with taking a few shots on what had to be a rare, but definitely epic (by any set of standards) day. What’s amazing to me is how great his eye is. But then, his mother is an artist. Great work, Fergus.

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I actually had to bug my sister, Melissa, to bug her son to get the photos to me. Then, because he sent it in one format… not a big part of the story; I have the photos now, and next time I’m down visiting my father, I might take that hike.

UPDATE: Just received photos from Melissa. The last one is of furtive photographer Fergus and his father, Jerome, in disguise. No, I won’t be hiking-in anytime soon.

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