Wednesday, May 03, 2006
Release Date 4/30/2006
Released this message in the channel between Rockaway Island and Long Beach Island.
I was continuing my Montauk to Brooklyn paddle with Miles. The day started bad when we didn't secure my boat and dropped on the Belt Parkway at 60MPH, but it actually got worse....
Our plan was to launch from Long Beach and continue on to Pumb beach. There was a nice East wind of 5-10kts, it was bright and sunny. The forcast was for large swell, and we saw a lot of surfers when we started.
The surf was substantial on the launch, but the sets were spaced out enough that we were able to get out ok without incident. We made great progress with the aid of the wind. The swell was large, but not steep and coming from the South East, so we couldn't really surf on it.
We released the bottle around 12:45, and continued paddling up the coast along Rockaway.
Around 14:00 we decided to go in for lunch. This turned out to be a bad decision. We could see a large surf break, but the tide was fairly low, and the waves were breaking on the bar, not dumping on the beach. As we got closer and closer to shore, I realized the large swell was creating very large waves. I didn't even have time to put my sunglasses away, but managed to tuck my hat into my pfd as I eased closer.
I waited until a large swell passed under me, then tried to paddle in along the back side of it. It quickly sped up as it hit the sandbar and I paddled through the foam. I was paddling as hard as I could trying to beat the next big wave, but I looked over my shoulder and saw that another really large wave was coming and going to break soon.
The wave picked up the back of my boat and drove the bow straight down into the sand. It then lifted the stern up and I did a complete endo with the bow in the sand. After which I got a through thrashing in the surf, but finally managed to roll-up, losing yet another pair of sunglasses.
I was violently side surfed and tossed around into the beach. When I finally reached the beach I ended-up coming in backwards, but really glad to be ashore.
Miles also had a difficult landing.
After the helicopters and Fire Department left, thanks to some kind bystander who thought if we were out in the surf we must be crazy and in trouble, We ate a quick lunch. I was cold and a little dishelved from a leaking drysuit, but Miles was itching to get back in the water. He wouldn't even sit down to eat his lunch, the large surf just made him angry.
Miles launched first, but could not get through the surf. He tried several times but couldn't break through the large break. The waves were very close together, on 5 or 6 seconds between them, and too large to paddle through when they were breaking. Some of the big ones were huge. At Long Beach I saw 6ft tall men surfing down the side of them with water above and below them, and we made it through that break.
We waited a bit longer, but the surf didn't get any smaller. I then went first the next time. I punched through the secondary break, waited a bit and then took a shot. For a moment it looked like I was going to make it. I paddled through some foam and thought maybe I could beat the next wave before it broke. Unfortunately a huge wave did break right on top of me. I immediately flipped and was bounced all around. After rolling up I shakily returned to the beach.
After some more discussions I had the bright idea to paddle down in between the outer break and the beach. Miles joined me and we tried this. I was mentally very difficult to be just in the right spot. After a few minutes I got too close to the second break on the shore side, and was surged sideways into the beach. Even through it was the second break the wave was fairly large and I eventually dumped and was ground into the sand. I felt my paddle snap, right before the boat squashed my head in the sand. The paddle blade was broken right off of the paddle about 6 inches from the end. I then had to suffer some abuse about Euro paddle crap from Miles before he called a cab to get a lift back to my car.
So the epic continues. It looks like we can get all the way back to RedHook on the next attempt when we launch from Rockaway, surf permitting....