A somewhat last minute strike mission to Waco Surf led to some tired bodies. Not so much in the arms and shoulders, but the entire body, because we were surfing a tremendous amount of waves.
Our hearty crew of five started with a few public sessions to get warmed up and wash off the air travel. After that we jumped into our first of three private sessions the next morning, calling up a wave profile that provided a little more time in between waves within each set.
This was the first test.
We still got a ton of waves, and I was a bit nervous about what was to come. I had to stop myself for a moment though – I was nervous about our group having too many waves (and hence waves going unridden)! What a problem to have.
After that first private, we felt we had a good plan with the wave profile we selected, especially since the next day we’ll be getting one more surfer in our group. Yes, we each had a ton of waves because even with that wave profile, there were three wave sets, and each set came about 45 seconds after the previous one ended. For an entire hour.
We spent the rest of the day surfing public sessions where there was plenty of rest and fewer waves for each surfer. It was a nice respite for what was to come.
Our third and final day started with back-to-back private sessions. The dumb-dumb I am thought, “oh, we have six surfers now, let’s try the regular wave profile with less time in between waves so that our new surfer can get more reps.” Famous last words.
With a decreased swell period, three wave sets, and each set coming about 45-60 seconds apart, after the first thirty minutes, I wasn’t sure the group was going to make it all the way.
Then one surfer got out. Then another. Now we’re down to four. But oh, thank goodness, they got back in after switching boards. Back to six surfers in the pool.
The second hour of the back-to-back we reverted back to the longer period in between waves within the set, giving us a little more rest in between surfed waves.
But keep in mind, with three waves a set, once those three surfers take those waves, they only have one set to paddle back to the takeoff zone, rest a bit, then are on the next set of three waves. This is with six surfers.
That fateful second hour is where things started to go downhill. About twenty minutes in, we lost a surfer to another board change but got them back after a few minutes. Ten minutes later, we lost a surfer completely to exhaustion – stick a fork in him. He was done.
Ten minutes after that, another surfer called it. Down to four total surfers in the basin with twenty minutes left. Okay, so three surfers surf, one paddles back up and gets the regular amount of rest. Two surfers that just surfed will need to book it back up to the takeoff zone to catch the other two waves in the very next set. We can do this. There’s only twenty minutes left. All out!
Then we lost another surfer five minutes later.
And then there were three. Three surfers, three wave sets, fifteen minutes. After two and a half days of surfing a high volume of waves.
I kept replaying in my head The Final Countdown by the band Europe.
Take a wave, paddle back to the takeoff zone, take another, paddle back, take another, paddle back, take another, repeat. Fifteen minutes. We can do it.
If a surfer got caught behind a section, that was the worst because they couldn’t get to the wall with ease which is where a surfer wants to be on the paddle back to the takeoff zone since that’s where the current is.
Luckily, we all were finishing the waves completely and were able to use that current to get back to the takeoff zone, but there were a few sets near the very end when it felt like the bus was leaving and I was waving my arms to have them open up the door to let me in.
After crawling to the beach, I took in the fact that my legs and torso were torched. The body was fatigued and satisfied. Did I feel “surfed out”? In Texas?
Laying back on the beach chair, watching the next group take to the water, I reflected.
I think I am. And that’s pretty cool.
This was a Strike Mission surf trip, not a coaching trip. Strike Mission surf trips are short duration, normally last-minute surf trips. Since there is no coaching, there is no additional fee above what it costs to split the expenses, whether it’s a house rental, or in this case, the private pool sessions. Strike Missions are usually a surf break that is between one and four hours to get to from my home base of Northern California. Destinations have been/will be to Santa Cruz, Northern Coast, Waco, Surf Ranch, Lakeside, San Diego, and Cabo. If you’re interested in being notified for Strike Missions, feel free to sign up here: https://www.surfingpaddling.com/surf-strike-mission-notification
Photos/Videos by: Rob Henson (Waco Surf); Kat/Joe; Rob
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