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All kinds of trouble...

bob budd

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The day broke sunny and dry with a meager breeze, ready respite from the rain that postponed the Sea Dogs game my son tried to take in Sunday. Pebble Beach had modest dumping waves hitting the beach. We set our boats on the little “shelf” of pebbles a short distance from the water. I recalled my entry technique this spring at the Gooseberries.

After crashing out through the waves we headed over to Long Beach to see about the surf. As it turned out, the waves were pretty clean and large. Each of us at least once ended up in front of something we needed to look up at to see the top. My “best ride” found me facplanted in the wave as I was turned broach but holding firm the wave managed to right me and carry me atop for a long bongo ride.

After awhile we headed out beyond Milk Island and ended up at the boat ramp on Thacher Island. After lining up our boats single file and signing in we settled in for a bit of nourishment amongst the tent caterpillars. A block and tackle was seen hanging from the far lighthouse but otherwise the island was as I had last seen it.

Around the tip of the island we found a breaking wave. Several times we punched through and Roger once or twice rode the wave toward Rockport. Dee said “Oh boy” as a large wall formed before us. I paddled into the wave and at first made progress, then was surfed backwards, then capsized. Again this day my roll did not fail me.

At the end of Milk Island we found a zipper on the remains of the land bridge. After some time there we headed across the “channel” for the rocks to the north of Pebble Beach and our vehicles.

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Lost count how many capsizes yesterday . . . every ride in the dumping surf ended in a wipe out – the most memorable being the last one – a repeating, dizzying barrel roll which ultimately imploded my skirt and swamped my boat, requiring a trip into the beach to de-water.

Then getting caught in the small churn behind Thatcher’s where the waves kept slamming me into the rocks – two capsizes there . . .

Then the wave prior to the one that back-surfed Bob out at the corner got me, too . . .

And to my great pleasure (and some surprise), no panics, no lost paddle, no wet exits, no swims – all successful combat rolls – and in the Greenlander to boot, a boat I once half-swore I’d never paddle again after a paddle in similar swell conditions . . .

An incredibly satisfying day . . .

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Not quite certain. I do know my hands never left my paddle and I never grabbed at the skirt.

The skirt came with the boat, and it’s quite old and kind of stretched out, and leaks a fair bit. I’ve been limping along with it and have been lazy about replacing it.

I think the force or the plunging wave that came down on me, then the barrel rolls, were trying to jerk me out of the boat, and stressed the skirt. It’s really a testament to the ocean cockpit which kept me in the boat, vs. the larger cockpit of my Tempest, which I was actually swept out of one time in a similar type wipe out . . .

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