Tuesday May 29, 2012
After surfing the left point, it was time to explore. Load up the truck and hit the road in the heat with visions of empty beachbreaks. Not so fast, as we hit a checkpoint within the first half hour of our drive. I'm not getting used to sight of machine guns, but all is good. We were back on the road after some attempts to speak broken spanish.
Soon after that, we found ourselves lost in the middle of some old city, right in the middle of the market, driving on sidewalks and getting strange stares... OK so we're obviously not from around there. Stop again, to ask another heavily armed group of policia for directions, these guys were cool, they told us the way to the beach. After seeing endless sugar cane feilds and some smoldering volcanoes, we found the beach that we were looking for. too late for surf though, time for cold cervezas and dinner!
As the Sun came up at five AM the next day we were up and ready to go. The tide was way too low for the beachbreak so we headed to a rivermouth by boat. This was in the middle of no where and pulling up from outside we couldn't tell if the waves were any good. All I saw was a strong rip, closeouts and super murky brown water. Not what I was expecting. So to get a better look headed into the river to get a view of the setup by land. It looked good and nothing like how it was 20 minutes ago from outback.
The tide was pushing and there were peeling lefts on one side with an identical right peeling off of the other side. The goofy footers outnumbered so I surfed the left. This time I was trying out the Eric Arakawa fins. I could tell the swell was picking up and these were kind of racy walls with a few sections but really long waves with plenty of good cutback sections and lips to hit. I felt really in control on a few waves that were head high, maybe a few feet bigger on sets. I liked the way these fins seemed to hold in, but the got loose when I wanted them to. They never slid out in critical sections just a good release with full control. Good fin selection for this wave. The wind was coming up, so it was time to head back. The beach was out of control closeouts and windy by now, but the tide and swell was supposed to be really good for the next day.
Another 5am wake up call and the surf was looking good, nice A-frames coming in on the beach with no wind. Finally an opportunity for some tubes...I chose to try out the Small Channel Islands fins on this particular day thinking that the waves were head high or so. This is where I was convinced that I could ride the smallest fins just by the way these waves looked. The peaks up the beach were so playful looking and fun. Not exactly, it was twice as big as it looked since there was no one out. About a foot and a half deep on hard packed sand. These were drop in under the lip kind of waves and just get shacked . take a deep breath and hope you make it out of a few.
Here is where I could have used a bigger set of fins, I saw this set bumping up on the horizon and a perfect right peak headed my way. This wave came in with some serious push, I paddled and made the drop, as I was about to come out of the bottom turn into a bus sized tube, fins skipped out and I lost it, dove straight into the wave and then got thrown down to the bottom for a solid hold down. I learned from this wave, after that I was able to just draw out the bottom turn and ride a little bit higher to stay in the right place to make it out of some good tubes...
All good, sometimes a nice hold down will get you ready for the next bigger set. I was able to pick off a few good ones after that, Just making sure not to push the bottom turns too hard. A great session overall and I'd recommend these CI small fins for head high and under. They worked really well at another beach break left that I surfed a bunch, it was about chest high there and more of a speedy long wall of a wave.
Overall having these 3 sets of fins was ideal. To handle any kind of wave there could be on that trip. I was a bit weary of having only one board but luckily I didn't break it. Miss the warm water waves and mellow vibe down south. Until next time...
Tuesday May 22, 2012
On a recent three week trip to Central America during the beginning of the south swell season, I was able to try to out 3 different sets of fins. I wanted to go minimal with my fin selection, so I brought 1 board, a 5'11 Simon Anderson squash tail, this would give me a chance to try 3 sets of fins. A small, medium and larger set for any kind of waves that I could find. It's amazing how much you can change the ride and feel of one board by simply changing fins...
There were a wide variety of waves ranging from super hollow barreling beachbreaks, long sweeping points, powerful outer reefs, and perfectly peeling sand bottom river mouths. The swell was consistently head high plus at most of the spots and a few days with close to double overhead.
My Choice of fins were:
Standard sized Channel Islands / Eric Arakawa / Channel Islands Small ( Some of my boards are FCS fins compatible, This time I had Futures Fins compatible setup, I think they are much easier to change out and a more solid base.)
LOCATION: The Point- FIN CHOICE: Channel Islands Standard- This spot had a wide sloping takeoff zone and then the wave would hit the edge of the reef for a short tube section. I wanted to start off with the Channel islands standard size set for this wave just to see what they could handle. Drops were easy and plenty of drive off of the bottom even on overhead sets. I noticed that since I was up and riding before the barrel section I could have time to setup and pull in with ease, going backside in a hollow spot I would probably use the larger fins but these CI Standards were holding in just fine, and not slipping out in the steepest sections.
Check out the next post for another session with the Eric Arakawa fins, as the surf picked up and headed north to some solid beachbreaks and a boats to a desolate rivermouth. Story/Photos: Ryan Kleiner
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