After the impressive start of this month, things have slowed down a little bit in North County. The ten-foot waves seen earlier this month have dropped down in size so drastically that the sets this week are only reaching two or three feet. There is always fun to be had on a surf board, but you might be the only one in the water this week. On top of the the swell height (or lack there of) a decent rain event passed through our area Sunday night making the conditions, in simple terms, inadvisable.
Where are these waves coming from? As the waves are not anything out of the ordinary this week, professionals have not attributed the swells to a certain storm, or anything else specifically. That means all the typical perpetrators are to blame; offshore winds and water currents, tide swings, and the rotation of the earth. The storm we saw Sunday came with easterly winds (called onshore winds) that will also cause the ocean swells to be mixed up in direction, like when somebody gets into a bathtub and causes the water to get pushed every which way.
Suggestions: For these small and and mixed up swells, one should typically look for a board with some buoyancy; to keep from hurting the neck while paddling up and down choppy wind swells. A more buoyant board also aids the surfer in catching these waves, since the faces will not be as clean and more paddling speed will be needed to get on them. As a final suggestion, I would recommend waiting for the storm leftovers to pass and lace up the running shoes for a jog along the coast. Running is a great alternative: it not only keeps you in good shape, but one can also scout the coastline thoroughly on foot, and possibly stumble upon breaks that were never noticed before.
Tip: Surfing after a rain event can be hazardous to your health. Run-off along the coast can make the water nasty, which could make a surfer sick in any number of ways. Surfline.com advises surfers to give the ocean 72 hours of peace after a rain event before hitting the water again. Some local surfers ignore the warnings though, so it is ultimately up to you.
- Carlsbad: Peter Bright/The Telescope | All Rights Reserved