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Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Big Swell

One of the larger swells in recent history is currently running its course in the north Pacific Ocean, gracing the shores of California and Hawaii with memorable waves. The famous big-wave contest, The Quiksilver In Memory of Eddie Aikau, was held Tuesday, the 25th anniversary of its inception (this is quite phenomenal since the contest only occurs in years of spectacular conditions and may occur anytime during a three-month period). Monday and Tuesday combined represented Hawaii's largest sustained episode of surf in the past 4o years. The swell's landfall in California nearly had the Maverick's Contest running; logistics and unpredictable weather forced its delay until later in its waiting period.

The swell has San Luis Obispo surfers getting frustrated. Conditions have been rather hit or miss despite the swell's massive size. The beachbreaks were barely holding the swell Tuesday morning, and the increasing swell through the day brought death walls that kept lineups rather empty despite decent wind conditions. There were definitely some waves to be had, but conditions were rather shifty and required a large degree of luck and lots of paddling. I took the shots seen here on Tuesday just as the beaches were starting to max out.The guy below must have had a long session; I can't understand why he was paddling to catch this wave. Or why he wasn't sitting 100 yards south.

I took this shot around midday in Cayucos. I'm pretty sure it was low tide and the swell was only about 80% at this point. I'd would imagine the pier got thoroughly rinsed in the afternoon. I was disappointed that I didn't get a shot of the body surfer who I saw get a massive barrel just south of the pier. I didn't even see him floating in the lineup until he took off.


  1. Check out

    I posted a photo by Mike Baird of the swells at Morro Bay yesterday, and posted a link to your prior blog post too -- just scroll down to find it ;)

  2. Thanks Richard, some good photos.