I got out for a nice evening coastal paddle with Sean Morley yesterday afternoon in the Marin Headlands. Sean has invited me on a Lost Coast trip coming up shortly and we felt it was a good idea to get out in the plastic boats in real conditions and make sure the kit is up to par. It was beautiful in Berkeley yesterday, but that quickly changed as I got closer to the coast and entered the thick fog, wind and drizzle. Conditions were okay with a long-period south swell producing decent sized waves. The wind was blowing close to 20 kts on the bay and made things bumpy on the coast. We launched the kayaks into dumping surf around 4:45pm and headed north for some play. Sean has been paddling a ski quite often lately and I've been spending more time on my SUP than in my kayak. I really enjoy crossing back and forth between paddle craft and the SUP paddling is making me a noticeably stronger paddler. You simply cannot get away with lilly dipping on a standup board in anything but the flattest conditions and it forces you to paddle with technique and deliberateness.
It's quite an honor to play in the rocks with Sean and the stuff he pulls off is nothing short of spectacular. I took awhile to warm up but he was charging from the start. There is one standout moment that the pictures do absolutely no justice at all, but it really blew me away. He lined up at a wall a good six feet below some rocks. A large wave comes in, lifts him and he sprints on the wave and pulls off this incredible drop on the back slope of the wall. To me it resembled a skier jumping off a cliff more than a sea kayaker in the ocean. Absolutely fluid, controlled and as stated above, spectacular.
It was a nice little warm-up and I'm getting really excited for this trip in less than two weeks. Yesterdays conditions really reinforced the fact that we have to be prepared for fog, wind, swell, surf landings, bumpy conditions and more. The group he has assembled is competent in all these things so I'm confident we are going to have a great time.