Sunday, July 27, 2008

Bertha’s Bounty

Cape Ann is an island, both geographically and psychologically. The latter fact is reason to get “off the rock” whenever the occasion rises. Tropical Storm Bertha was such an occasion. It’s old news now, but this storm had been hyped on the surf reports for a week, and it was slow getting here, but on Monday it Arrived, and the entire New England coast was lit up.


Go North (MH, Maine) or South, (RI) that was the question. Well a glowing NH report plus $4.17 a gallon gas gave me the answer: New Hampshire. An hour up 95 and I was there.

Pulling up to the wall, Jackpot! A weekday off and finally I was at the right place at the right time. Chest to shoulder high with light offshore, I took a few perfunctory pictures and suited up (yeah the water was freezing for July, mid 50’s, so glad I had the full wetsuit). The Tyler 777 model was in its element. Right after right after right. Satisfying bottom turns, climbing to the top of the waves face, a cross step (just one, I’m stout these days), and a fun turns. Repeat many times.

After a couple of hours of this, I went back to the car, checked voice mails (none – yes!) hydrated, and went back out, this time a few blocks to the south. Part two was just as fun, but with the incoming tide, it was all lefts.


By 4:00 I was wiped, I was busted out, surf wise. And so satisfied with my turning, my drop knee has come of age. The trick? Use the ball of the foot, silly! I shot a few more pics and drove back to Gloucester, wondering what I might have missed on the Cape Ann breaks. I did take a side trip to Seabrook, stopping by Zapstix (a super surf shop), and checking a low key spot - I'll be back there soon.


I pulled up to Long and….bwaah bwaaaaaaah. Nada. Knee to waist and closed out. Complete satisfaction, I went with my gut and it paid off.


It was a workday, so I couldn’t leave until after 4:00. So I did, this time with a special co-pilot, Janet! I needed more of that New Hampshire ambrosia, and Janet needed to get off the rock as well. Hampton Curtain Call, and we were going to rendezvous with another surf bud, Special J. (See last summer’s post about Janet). Taking a mini surf trip with a friend is so much better than going solo.

Not quite as good as the day before, mostly lefts, and very sectiony. Unlike the day before which gave up clean long lines. It did get fun just around sundown, and since I was with Janet & Johna, the trip was a total blast. The topping on the cake was inhaling the moonrise, shooting more pics, post surf beer & lobster mac & cheese, and again, as the French say, bonne compagnie.

Bertha’s been good, so far.


I was going to give you a blow by blow of the rest of the week, where the rest of the swell was squandered chasing closeouts on Cape Ann; it really sucked, really. We’ve all had more than our fair share of depression sessions, dear readers, so I’ll spare you this time. The lesson, it pays to travel and break the routine, as much as I love dear Cape Ann. But see how poor it was?:


Next time: Thacher Island adventure!