Monster Waves at Cortes Bank

I’ve lived in Southern California since high school and never heard about this mythical surf spot at Cortes Bank, about one hundred miles west of San Diego.

We’ve all heard of the giant waves at Mavericks in Northern California which sadly claimed the life of Mark Foo in 1994, but this location was brand new to me — not that I’ll ever see it or surf there, considering I don’t surf at all, but I love all things ocean-related.

Apparently, about ten thousand years ago, an island used to exist in that spot called Kinkipar by native Americans, the ancestors of the Tongva or Chumash Tribes.

Presently, it’s entirely submerged, the top rising to within three to six feet of the surface with nearby shoals catching the largest swells on the planet from the North Pacific.

Monster swells that generate waves moving at incredibly high speeds as they move from the deep ocean, over a mile deep at the base of the bank, into a series of shallow reefs made of sandstone and volcanic basalt.

These photos of Nic von Rupp (amazing professional big wave surfer) were taken last week at Cortes Bank.

Because of its location, estimates are that the waves move fifty percent faster than comparable waves along Oahu’s north shore.

They are arguably the largest and fastest waves on Earth. As Bill Sharp remarked after the first time it was surfed in 1990 “It was like something out of Waterworld.”
https://briantissot.com/2016/01/26/cortes-bank-the-largest-wave-on-the-planet/

From Nic von Rupp’s Facebook page; photo credit to @sharpxxl & @100footwave @mcnamara_s @mamaunearthed @joelewis @vincentkardasik,

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First Full Moon of 2023 and BIG Surf!

Tonight, this full wolf moon occurs with the sun in Capricorn opposite the moon in Cancer. The full moon is a time of culmination and the promise of fulfilling intentions set during the new moon.

The Pineapple Express, atmospheric river rain event here in California is over for now, although more wet weather is forecasted for next week.

There was talk of waves of up to sixteen feet for today, so I went down to the beach but here in Carlsbad, they were only about six to eight feet.

This morning:

A lifeguard told me there had been no rescues here, but further south in Cardiff, waves were definitely in the twelve foot range, with high surf expected again next week with the next storm.

It was super crowded; lots of people not only with cameras for pics and video, but to take advantage of the healing power of a little vitamin sea and abundant sunshine!

Beachy Walkabout

A few sprinkles of welcome rain over the weekend made perfect timing for a beach walk.

Look at this GIGANTIC skeleton for Halloween. Not too scary, right?

Then I saw some literal beach bunnies on the upper sidewalk.

Beautifully overcast, no whales or dolphin, but the ubiquitous surfer reigns supreme.

Wavescape

There are hardly any plants that grow in the sand here, so when I saw these marshy reeds up against the seawall, I peeked through and snapped a few photos of the pretty ocean.

Just Before Sunset

Three dolphins jumped out of the water directly in front of me.

I was rummaging in the bag for snacks for a very hungry Angel Boy, when he shouted, “Grandma, a shark, look near the jetty!”

Immediately, my eyes laser focused toward the spot where he was pointing, and I could see that it wasn’t a shark but a trio of shiny dolphins!

Dolphins make me happy. Seeing a dolphin with my favorite boy makes me even happier.

I tried to snap a pic but wasn’t quick enough. They were headed north, sharply silhouetted by the rays of the summer sun setting low toward the horizon,

Instead, I was able to capture the multiple joys of my two favorite Angel Boys.

History repeats itself as the sun goes down and I’m calling both of them to COME OUT OF THE WATER, IT’S TIME TO GO HOME!

“Five more minutes, Grandma. Daddy says to tell you five more minutes.”

I experienced a major deja vu moment of standing in that same spot many times over the years as I shouted at the top of my lungs for the original AB to come out of the water because it was completely DARK.

Half an hour later, tired and sandy, we head home to a shower, more food, and an exhausted but happy boy falls immediately asleep.

Simple joys are the BEST.

Surf Talk: Building Swell

On my beach walk, I noticed an inordinate number of surfers at Tamarack simply sitting on their boards. From my vantage at the top of the steps, I could see up and down the coast and I saw zero waves which made me wonder why there were dozens in the lineup.

In fact, I took a pic and sent it to my son to show him how odd it looked to see all those people just sitting there in nonexistent surf; conditions we refer to as Lake Pacific.

After a few minutes, I noticed the line of incoming waves looked like they were increasing in size. Ahh, I thought to myself, it’s a building swell and these surfers were savvy, waiting for it to happen.

When I got home, I checked, and the surf forecast for Carlsbad is three to five feet with sets to six feet, and growing.

This is just the beginning. The waves emanating from the South Pacific are forecasted to reach 8-10 feet and more, especially at Sunset Cliffs. Fun times, indeed!

Hopefully, there will still be good waves when the Angels come down for a visit, but not THAT big!

Surf City

We’re in the middle of a high surf advisory with sets up to ten feet. Although the bigger waves are south of me, I didn’t feel like driving to La Jolla or Sunset Cliffs; instead I took some pics at my local beach. The air temperature is in the low 70s and it’s simply sparkly and beautiful.

I was hoping to see whales or dolphins, but I wasn’t lucky today. The only animal life out in the water were of the surfer species.

Walk With Me

Sights around my little town.

I saw an abundance of crows; not sure why, but quite a few of them joined me today.

Hello, friend!

This sign was posted a few blocks away; not a very nice person! I hope she’s caught and the dog is found unharmed.

Poor grammar; incorrect use of “they’re”…should have been “their”, but I’ll allow it this time.

When I got to the beach, I was astonished to observe how many people were walking so close to each other in public and absolutely defied the “Wear a Mask” order.

I encountered no one during my walk but I wore a mask when I crossed the street to stop at the restroom. I observed many non-compliant people huddled together on the seawall and sidewalk, pretty much 90% were NOT wearing masks, so I turned right around and went home. My own mask didn’t seem like enough protection and I didn’t feel like yelling at them.

They are not being good neighbors or visitors to our city.

The County of San Diego requires face coverings to be worn anywhere in public where you could come within 6 feet of someone you don’t live with. Face coverings should be worn in addition to, not instead of, all of the other health precautions.

At last, a couple photos of early morning surf before I walked back.

How was your Sunday?

The Heart of the Matter

At the end of the day, there is nothing but love.

Such an amazing wave pic from Carlsbad. I can’t take credit for the photo, but I have the photographer’s permission to use it.

Here’s how he did it: he was swimming, not sitting on a board; simply in the right place at the right time to reveal a little love.

If you look really hard, you can see another, smaller, heart.

Do you see it?

Photo by M.Yarbrough