It was beautiful at Avila when I got there this morning; sunny, calm and flat. However before I was done taking the temperature (54) a bit of a breeze out of the West had started up. At 11 it had strengthened to the point of setting up a head high chop with occasional whitecaps that extended inside the buoy line, so it was going to be a real ocean swimming day. Swimming today were Niel, Sylvia, Patrick, Dale, Duke, Chad, Brittany, Matt Farmer (!), and Peter. We went out on the left side of the pier, through the pier and down to the last buoy. This was by far the roughest day that Brittany had been out in so she went short and returned to the beach. Matt (no wetsuit) decided to return back along the buoy line and go in. The rest of us went to the end of the Avila Pier and on to the last buoy on the left, and back along the buoy line to the pier and in. The first leg towards the creek which was directly into the chop was the roughest. Those head high waves are big enough to break over your head making them easy to inhale, but not large enough to lift you so you can breath. The downwind leg from the end of the pier to the last buoy on the left was fun and fast, with opportunities to surf the bigger waves. The last leg back to our starting point was on the leeward side of the pier and was not as rough as the first leg on the windward side because the pier itself deflects some of the wind and the chop gets flattened out when it passes through the pilings. Everyone was smiling once we were back on the beach getting warmed up in the sun, having enjoyed the challenge of a swim with real ocean 'conditions'.