Monday, August 29, 2005

Katrina in South Padre

I started out wanting to talk about how crazy surfers were, since they always seem to want gigantic waves so they can do their artsy suicidal thing. I still think they’re slightly off their bonkers, but have a new-found respect for them. See, the lower US Gulf of Mexico is not like the Atlantic or Pacific because there is no clean “long period swell.” Instead, the whole area, maybe half a mile out to sea if not half the Gulf, turns into a foam washing machine. There are three, hour, and yes, five sandbars and getting out to the “mack” waves is so brutal. So, bless their hearts, they surf around and inside jetties when the hurricane waves come. And the locals seem real safe and have crash boats because they know surfers can get rolled bad in 20-foot stand-up waves.

Hurricanes Cindy, Dennis, and Katrina sent some nice waves down here but being a body and boogie surfer, I wait until it has cooled down a little, like below six feet on the beach break without all the riptide and blown white/brown foam. Right when the surfers bemoan having no waves and the fun is over is when I head down to the beach, knowing I’ll get some rides over 80 feet long. Some of these waves are so powerful that I literally eat sand when I stopped on the dry beach! Just don’t tell the surfers that, because they’re more into “art” than distance.

Using a digital camera and not really knowing how to use it resulted in a poor picture, which is why I shot more beach than surf. But suffice it to say the water was up to the dunes and there were some interesting gully-washers and riptides – those waves on the horizon are probably over 15 feet tall. Pretty awesome.

P.S. those little waves in front of the camera were from the riptide coming off the beach and are not related to the waves crashing on the shore ... about 300 feet out where it looks all calm in between. Your humble photographer was standing in three feet of water and almost got swept off his feet with the undercurrent.


Everett said...

Hey Sam, what is the little black mark a few feet off shore where the land projects seaward in your photo? Is that a surfer dude or a post in the water? The distance is deceiving in that those fifteen footers do look like ripples. Keep your head up when coming ashore and quit looking for those topless mermaids and maybe you'll be ingesting a little less sand. Speaking of surfers, I'm nurturing a couple of little ones in my family. They each got "real" boards and wet suits this summer and took to the whole scene like a couple of ducks! I don't think they will be going back to the boogie and skim boards! I tried that surfing stuff when I was about 14. A friend and myself found a plank about thirty feet long and a couple of feet wide up on the beach by the SE Light and pushed it out to sea a good ways. We then straddled it and sitting on the 'sort of' back end managed to get it moving toward shore. The only trouble was that eventually the front end started dipping down and dug into the bottom and kind of pitchpoled us forward into the surf. On departing the board we managed to collect some pretty awesome sized splinters on the inside of our legs. End of surfing career! TIFN

Sam said...

Hey Everett! Hey, that is a person in about the middle of the picture. Just a few moments earlier he was walking on bare land but then a big one came on shore - and liked to take us out to Mermaid Land. The sound was like a continuous roaring jet.

Glad the younsters like surfing, so don't forget to get some "cowabunga" pictures. As to your hysterical story of plank-surfing, that was too much. Hey, they have a new kind of surfing called surf kayaking or something - it's built like a surfboard with a seat on it. Perfect for old farts like us! I'll see what I can put together with some plywood and a Walmart plastic chair ... LOL

Anonymous said...

Hey Sam...
That's how we discovered Boca Chica Cove back in August of '66 or '67, hell, dementia while approaching the 55th BD. Might have been '65, while paddling back from Boca Chica where we were doing some 15's or so...Wish I was that time again. How's things in your new promised land? Over looking Lake Travis is hot, but fall is approaching soon, and it will be paradise found for now...
Buenas Suerte...

Sam said...

Hey Wahoo,
it's going real good although like you said a tad hot when there's no breeze. Padre is about 10 degrees cooler than the inland, but still hot as Hades. Promised land? I dunno about that. It's just different and we like the ocean and bay. I actually fished more up on Travis and Georgetown lakes.

How 'bout that discussion on Sandy Feet's weblog? The whole Katrina effort is a real emotional hot button and her posting started with something that sounded as if it was from Pluto. By the time I was done, I had helped discover that new planet beyond Pluto ... although I certainly never got any credit there!

Over the last year I've found out a lot about blogs. Just when you think you have a great idea, people say "Wow, you lost me there" or "dude, was that a proverbial brain fart or what?"

Ask my mom, at one time I wanted perfection and wanted to go out west to join the Naropa Institute, which was like a Zen community or something. People like Jimmy Gilmore did this kind of thing and it was very popular. Mom talked to me. I stayed home. I had jobs and money and friends and a wonderful time. Perfection is like the Buddhist concept of Maya, totally illusory. It simply doesn't exist.