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Big Sur, Calif: July 31 - August 4, 2009
"The Great Big Honking Paipo Gathering"
See the master picture page here. Click on pics for a larger version.

First, the pictorial synopsis.

Spent a long weekend camping in Big Sur for "The Great Big Honking Paipo Gathering" with bookend days in Santa Cruz, compliments of my host (plus all my camping gear). Visited the Santa Cruz Surfing Museum which is now in caretaker status due to budget cuts. Ate a big fat burrito on the boulders overlooking the point. Provisioned supplies for the trip.

Loaded-Up and Ready for the Trip to Big Sur in a '67 VW Split Window Bus/Pick-Up.

Upon arrival we bumped into some of our gathering and then hit the very small surf.


Hung out the wetsuits after our surf session...


...and set-up camp.


During the Gathering everyone checked out the wide range of paipos, some crafted from
wood and ply...



...and others crafted of foam and glass, and...


...some extra wides (25") and some surf mats (including a surf-o-plan), and...


... some talked story about waveriding technique, or...


...the construction techniques and woods used.


And... some made a purchase,


...and we talked more story,


...rode some more tiny waves,


...searched for a peak,


...and evaded Big Whitey.


Mr. Mike (on the left) makes woodie paipos - hails from generations of woodworking
craftsmen - the fellow on the right is extremely knowledgeable on all things board riding
and construction (he is a moderator on Swaylocks) and proud owner of a new plank.



We talked more story after a pot luck dinner, digressed a lot on board design, and tried
to stay warm at night.



The scenery was beautiful.


And more beautiful.


The Last Word.


Last night wrap-up at the 99 Beers Pub. A fitting way to bring the trip to a close. No pictures to safeguard the innocent :)

Now for the Long, Boring Details in My Journal Form (not yet written!)

When:
Where:
Weather:
Thursday, July 30, 2009
In-Transit Day
Cool but clear

Transit Day. Extremely, unbelievable clean sailing through check-in, security, departure and arrival, flying AA out of BWI on a Boeing 757. Landed at 1:10pm, secured our luggage after a long wait for our last bag and caught the shuttle to the National Car Rental lot where there was a 2009 Camry waiting for us. We pulled into El Buen Café for our customary lunch. We unpacked and ran into town to pick up a few items. There were not many passengers in SJU and only a few planes. Passenger traffic is way down since the end of the Christmas to Three Kings holidays. It rained from Camuy to Aguadilla.

When:
Where:
Weather:
Surf: 
Tides: 
Who:
Friday, July 31, 2009
Plaskett Campground and Sand Dollar Beach, Big Sur, CA
Foggy and cool; water in the upper 50s (4/3, plus light gloves and fin socks)
2-3' clean with a light southerly current
Did not seem to matter
The Paipo Gang


Reconnection Day. The alarm went off around 6:00am. I was treated with a ranging 3-7' surf on the shallow left reef. A couple of people would have been welcome this morning to help stay on top of the take-off zone. Had a good two hours before riding a long
Big Whitey Says
"Welcome to Sand Dollar Beach"







View of Sand Dollar Beach from the Trail Lookout


View of the Trail From Sand Dollar Beach



Reconnection Day. The alarm went off around 6:00am. I was treated with a ranging 3-7' surf on the shallow left reef. A couple of people would have been welcome this morning to help stay on top of the take-off zone.



When:
Where:
Weather:
Surf: 
Tides: 
Who:
Saturday, August 1, 2009
Plaskett Campground and Sand Dollar Beach, Big Sur, CA
Foggy and cool - sunshine sighting in the p.m.; water in the upper 50s
2-3' semi-clean with a light southerly current
Did not seem to matter
The Paipo Gang




Thursday, January 15, 2009. Another lazy day with flat surf conditions along the west coast and really small waves along the northern exposures. Caught a movie (Doubt) after dinner at RicoMini. Fireworks for the day were provided midway through the movie when a couple of folks became agitated with one another apparently over a little girl making some noise and then a few others got involved with lot's of macho postering. At least they left, pushing, shoving and yelling all the way out.



When:
Where:
Weather:
Surf: 
Tides: 
Who:
Sunday, August 2, 2009
Plaskett Campground and Sand Dollar Beach, Big Sur, CA
Foggy and cool - sunshine sighting in the p.m.; water in the upper 50s
1-3' semi-clean with a light southerly current
Did not seem to matter
The Paipo Gang

Surf was consistent enough


When:
Where:
Weather:
Surf: 
Tides: 
Who:
Monday, August 3, 2009
Plaskett Campground and Sand Dollar Beach, Big Sur, CA
Sunny and cool in the morning - sunshine sighting in the p.m.; water in the upper 50s
1-3' semi-clean with a light southerly current
Did not seem to matter
The Paipo Gang




Wrap Up: Surf was consistent enough throughout the trip to keep me from reading very much besides the daily paper. Several great sessions were had whether it was waist to chest or pumping overhead. My last session at PdP produced two tube rides that became the new "trip waves" and ton's of fun with my surfing buddies. We had an unusual amount of rain this year - during the first two weeks in rained or showered almost every day - happy to say none of it really got in our way of having a good time -- ust very unsual for this time of year. Most importantly, the rain didn't appear to muddy up the surf breaks. I also took two trips up to Wilderness this year but didn't paddle out either time - the road was passable and there might even be a back route (I checked one but a many day decaying cow straddled most of the road). Never drove further east than Surfers' Beach. Surfed four breaks this year: Domes, PdP, Little Teapoo and TDLR. Not a bad mix but still unusual not to ride any of the north coast breaks for two consecutive years.



Who There?

John Mellor, Central California
Kage, Santa Cruz, CA
Rod Rodgers, Baltimore, MD
Trevor and Kristen, Oakland, CA




Official Paipo Gathering Sticker!




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Last updated on: 08/24/09