Swimming In Storm Conditions
Avila Beach was a real surprise today. Everything looked like November in a storm. The sky was grey with low clouds and the ocean was a complete mess. There was a steady, strong and gusty wind blowing onto the beach from the SSW that had created chop and wind waves that were combining with the surf to make water conditions just like a winter storm. The water temperature was 57, so at least it was not cold. Niel, Tom, Leslie, Kurtis, Steve and Rodney were willing to have a go at a swim while Sylvia, Yvonne and Rick would watch. We started with the idea that swimming the left half of the buoy line would probably be enough in today's conditions. I found that getting out was the most changeling part of the swim. You had to push hard to get out through the waves & chop, but they were so close together that both breathing and ducking was difficult. Once out we formed up and headed along the buoys to the east. This was some of the most changeling water that I have been swimming in. The photos don't do the conditions justice. The waves at the buoy line were head high with a surface that was made up of chop and smaller wind waves. The big waves were not breaking this far off of the beach so I could just swim and ride up and down with them, except for the occasional combination of conditions that would both dunk and half flip me over. At every good dunking I would stop and then try a different combination of breathing and timing. Rodney was not comfortable in his wetsuit so he made a wise choice to go in. The rest of us made it to the end buoy and back to the pier in about 25 minutes. The swim in looked formidable but was straightforward. I guess having everything trying to push you onto the beach really helped. I had a great time being out there messing with these conditions.