Four to five feet, shoulder to head-high and fair conditions. That is what the surf line report for Morro Bay alleged on Saturday last week.
This report, in addition to a first- hand account of the waves from earlier in the morning, was enough to inspire a trip to “The Rock” with hopes of a few good waves and some relaxing downtime.
There were a ton of cars in the dirty, muddy parking lot when we pulled in to the farthest parking spot available to the left. In front of us, a series of wooden stalls with a concrete base served as a perfect changing area which we jumped into immediately.
I had not even looked at the water before I pulled my wetsuit up snugly around my waist, and walked out of the stall, turning to look at the break.
A huge set was rolling in and it crashed against the rock and broke to the left. It looked nice, not a close out and HUGE.
Four guys made a run at a wave in the middle of the set. Three of whom missed the sweet spot and were engulfed by a wash of white water, disappearing below the surface while their boards spun and flipped through the air.
The other brave soul, however, made it with a quick ride that lasted no longer than five seconds before he turned off the wave and began to paddle back out. He did not turn during his ride, staying straight while he bounced slightly with the ripples of the wave.
It had to have been close to double overhead; I’m talking huge, the kind of surf that you might have seen in a magazine or a book highlighting Central Coast surf spots.
I can tell you one thing, I was not going out there. Was I suicidal? I don’t think so.
So, as an alternative we did something that was equally suicidal if not worse, but I did not know it at the time.
On the other side of the rock, down a series of smaller jagged rocks, across a channel, down a beach and then out along the south jetty we went. I had no idea what we were doing because I had never been to this spot, but I fully expected something significantly less insane than the rock.
Of course, I was wrong. The waves were big, however smaller than they were on the other side of the rock. These waves were breaking along the south Jetty, which is covered in jagged barnacle-laiden rocks and extend nearly 200 yards into the water.
It was nice, but to take off on the wave you pretty much had to ride the wave toward the rocks and then sharply turn to your left.
Well, I wasn’t going for it. A veteran of less than five months was not going to make a run at a wave that had yielded at least two damaged boards and some scrapes in a field of less than five surfers.
As a result of this miscommunication of information, I was relocated to paddling around for at least two hours.
I guess you can say that it is my fault for not charging or for even being there, but just so you know, it sucked.
A few words from the wise – if you’re a newbie to the sport, know your limits and take on waves and spots that you can handle. I learned it the hard way and you may have to learn it the hard way too.
However if you’re smart you’ll heed my words and not go out to south Jetty or anywhere else semi-dangerous unless you know what you are doing.
Chris Gunn is a journalism senior and assistant sports editor. You can e-mail him at email@example.com.