The following Tripping Fins was written by Tim Barnes. Tim is a bodysurfer based out of La Jolla, California. He has turned his frequent border crossings into a travel company specializing wine tours. Boca Roja
8:00pm, Friday – Eric’s over-excitable iPhone alerts him that he has a new text message.
Can we make the meet up 4am at my place? I wanna be the first ones in the line up. Swell is filling in fast and the winds are right 🙂
4:15am, Saturday – We are en route to a not-recommended-for-beginners heavy right hand break in the middle of the ocean. Only the essential items are packed – we are a lean, mean, surgical-surf-strike team.
Wetsuit – check! Fins – check! Sunscreen – check!
As our captain navigates the cranky predawn waters we exchange looks and glances and wide eyes as we roll over massive, deep water swells. These sizable lumps of energy lift our sizeless watercraft well above and below the horizon as they silently approach and then recede toward the sunrise. The water is more agitated than the wind forecast suggested but the consistent, pulsing energy in the water has morale high amongst our kaha nalu crew.
When we finally get eyes on the line-up, that fine old friend, I am torn. She doesn’t look the same. A California King tide has her bulging a bit at the seams and we are apparently not getting her undivided attention – her focus panning from the normal take-off zone to a moving target about 20 yards wider than I have ever seen.
Waves rolling and warping and shifting and feathering and doing everything except concentrating the deep water energy over the shallow reef causing them to stack up, throw out and peel. Eric and I chase the mark over the course of two 1.5 hour sessions. A lot more swimming and chatting than surfing on this day, I’m afraid, but we each hooked into a handful of 10-15ft lumpy right handers.
Once back on the ponga and out of our wetsuits we spot a series of whale spouts about 200yds to our Southwest. Our captain buzzes over and we get within maybe 30yds before the giant creatures take a deep breathe and return to the depths of the big blue sea. The impromptu whale watching adventure took us around the South side which I had never seen. Waves smashing and crashing and booming against the rocks and cliffs. Headed back to shore now with the warm sun high in the sky, the beautiful coastline lighting up brilliantly, we all come to the same conclusion at the same time – we are HUNGRY!
A quick drive North and we are belly up at a well-oiled street taco machine. We order large quesadillas, fresh off the grill, con todo – cheese, pinto beans, cilantro, onion, guacamole, red salsa and lots of lime! Crack a few Mexican beers to wash it down and we are in El Cielo! Salty, stuffed and smiling, we make the final leg of the journey back to our families and friends to celebrate the remainder of Nochebuena. Today marked the second anniversary of this very special trip on Christmas Eve and I am already making plans and looking forward to next year!