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popham was hoppin'

rick stoehrer

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mouth of the kennebec is a lovely piece of water. on the other hadn, the river is large, draining a great volume of water and then if you have a bit of swell and some wind to jack it up and then toss in a max ebb on a big tide it can be downright nasty. best to know what you're getting into if you go paddle there. we've seen it flat and we've seen it mountainous and yesterday it was just perfect.

5 of us launched around 10 on an ebbing tide and headed straight away to the drying sandbar between wood island and the curve of popham beach. you've got swell slowing down and jacking up in a variety of direction there and end up riding one way and then finishing another as one wave breaks and dissapates as another comes in from a competing angle, breaking and re-directing you and off you go....eventually you just end up in something that looks like the agitator cycle in the washing machine and it's just fantastic to go sit and play in. we stayed for about 40 minutes or so as the sandbar continued to dry and then headed down the beach a bit down towards fox island.

the waves down here were building on the ebb with some nice 3 and 4 footers coming in...and the thing about popham is that they come in for a looooong time. the beach is sandy and marvelous and seemingly gradually sloping cause that swell just starts to jack up far off shore and you can ride em for a very long way before they finally break. it makes for some great long rides.

we shared the break with a few boardies and broke for lunch....and then on to the big stuff!

as the ebb maxed out, the water came hauling around and between pond and wood met the incoming swell and then just a bit of resistance from the light wind....so we had a fantastic surf spot with all kinds of power and force and general mayhem! you'd get on a set farther back and then you HAVE to surf forward to the top of pond cause you sure can't paddle against the river coming down - it was fantastic! paddle hard, feel that back end start to lift and then paddle HARD, throw your weight forward and fall into the hole in front of the face and scream forward surfing....loose hips, adjusting to the water...you get tired, you surf over to the eddy besides pond...gotta break through hard or the eddy line will just toss you back.

it was a great day on the water with some most impressive friends and it was everything i coulda wished for in a day on the water - good friends, beautiful day and some big, fast lumpy water. i'll be buzzing over this for days to come.

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Sounds like a glorious day out there, Rick. Who was there with you? Anyone take pix?



the un-usual crew - paul, ciro, greg, paula, moi.

think i posted the shot c took of me under albums....will post other shots there if any show up.

great day!

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