There were a lot of days with legitimate surf in the month of December. Many worth writing home about all on their own. And with only a handful of sub-freezing, knee-high days remaining in the 2020 forecast for my east-facing beach, it's looking safe to turn in my scorecard and tally up this year's final surf stats. The year did not begin very strong from a statistical standpoint, and by the end of March there weren't many surfing sessions to speak of. But then things began to fall in line. After catching basically no waves in February and March, late spring blossomed, and an abnormally active July put me back on track to possibly match my 2015 Rip Curl surf watch stats of 411 waves in 56 sessions. And while that isn't a lot compared to a professional surfer, who might catch that many waves in a month, I accomplished these numbers while navigating two jobs, one being a full-time high school teacher at a local public school. So If I can average a wave a day, and a session a week, over a year's time, I'm happy.
Entering December I was only two dozen waves away from reaching the 365/52 mark. I would only need to surf a couple more times, and catch an average number of waves to meet the baseline goal that I'd set for myself. I knew that I'd have opportunities to exceed 365 waves this month because December was generally active for east facing beaches, and the water wasn't completely freezing yet... which meant lasting longer in a session, to catch more waves, was more likely. The month began with consistent surf and never really let up. The third week of the month delivered a perfectly angled Nor'easter swell offering up 4 days worth of double sessions to play on. I got a variety of different boards and fins in the water as the conditions shifted from tide-to-tide, but I think the board that wins the month of December for me is definitely the 9'6 Christenson Bandito. I got the longest and fastest waves on this amazing log, and I'm looking forward to many more years gliding her through the sections. I also caught a fair amount of good rides on my 6'3 Lost Puddle Fish, 6'4 Lost Puddle Jumper HP, 7'6 Vec Singlecut, and 9'2 Gee Rainbow Escape HPL.
While the waves were good this past month, the weather was not exactly prime. Sub-freezing air temperatures, 25+ mph winds, snow... conditions were actually pretty brutal. But I managed to score on some more sunny sessions, which helped take the edge off of the bitter cold. I was finally able to get the Soloshot3 calibrated well enough to keep me in-frame, and I was able to capture my experience in a little more detail than the usual cell phone wide shot of the beach. But in the end, December was a great month for surfing in the Northeast, and the plentiful swell really helped to pad my stats for the year.
A couple of other stats worth mentioning... December comes in at 1st Place for the most fruitful month, with 12 sessions and 90 waves. September is in 2nd place with 8 sessions and 80 waves, and October is 3rd Place with 6 sessions and 77 waves. There were more than 20 touchdowns this year (rides that went longer than 100 yards) and another 30+ rides that were in the 75-100 yard range. That's pretty good for Nantasket. On a big swell, on the mid tides, it's possible to go 250+ yards if you catch it on the outside and navigate all the way to the shore. Sometimes the angles provide lengthy rides you wouldn't even believe. The other stat I like to pay attention to is the speed on a wave. I mostly hover in the high single digits to the low teens for speed/mph. A few times on my Gee Rainbow high performance longboard I got to the low 20's. The type of wave craft, along with the surf conditions really have a direct impact on speed and length of ride.
One more note... after using the Apple Watch for the past year, paired with the Dawn Patrol App, it's my opinion that it far exceeds the Rip Curl Search Watch in form and function. Yes it's a little bit more for an Apple watch, but you're also getting a watch you can wear every day when you're not in the water, not to mention the bazillion other things you can do with an Apple Watch. While the Rip Curl watch was really cool the previous 5 years, I don't miss it at all. I can't think of one feature that the Rip Curl Search watch does better, but here's three things I prefer about the Apple Watch...
1. I don't miss a surf tracking opportunity, ever. I already have the Apple Watch on my wrist since it's not big and bulky like the Rip Curl. It doubles as my everyday watch, so I never forget it at home, or miss out on tracking a session because I didn't have the watch in my possession.
2. I don't have to sync the watch with my phone to retrieve my surf data. Total pain on the Rip Curl watch. With the Apple Watch, I simply open up the Dawn Patrol App on my iPhone and my surf stats are already there waiting for me.
3. The charging cord for the Apple Watch is super easy. The Rip Curl Search watch? Yeah no. This claw looking thing is completely unique to Rip Curl, has consistent connection issues, breaks easily, and is expensive to replace (I replaced mine twice).
OK, that's all I've got for 2020. It's been a crazy year with Covid, I hope life can return to some normalcy soon. I'd sure love to feel safe hopping on a plane to Costa Rica and Hawaii this summer. Right now, I'm happy surfing the break at the end of my street in Nantasket... cold or not! I hope everyone reading my blog has a safe and healthy New Year filled with glassy days and empty lineups.
Below is a photo dump from the month of December. Special thanks to my amazing girlfriend for snapping a lot of these photos. Also, I need to add that the Soloshot3 isn't as big of a piece-of-shit as I initially reported. I've been able to capture some decent shots the past few weeks. More on my Soloshot adventures in a future blog! See 'ya!
THE NEW QUEERS AlBUM IS OUT! Review to follow. Here's a live show from last week...