99 times out of 100 I walk out of the water from a surf session a changed man. No, seriously. I have more energy. I breathe easier. My skin feels good. I get to my car, shake off my wetsuit, turn on the radio and feel good.
Last week, I found myself on the wrong side of that ratio. That towel change was not serene. I was seething. Why the fuck did I paddle out at Fort Point, one of the worst waves in the world?
To those not familiar, Fort Point is the not-so-secret spot located right underneath the Golden Gate Bridge. The wave looks idyllic. Swells come from the Pacific Ocean, cross under the bridge, and wrap around a man made point.
The U.S Army Corps of Engineers began working on Fort Point during the civil war, arming the structure with 103 cannons and soldiers stood watch for an enemy that never came. The history is interesting and the setting is beautiful, the wave is not.
The wave only really breaks at a low tide and requires a rock dance like no other to approach the water. Once your in the cold water, you are at the mercy of the tides. Usually, the tide is trying to suck you around and through The Golden Gate – straight out to the Pacific Ocean.
If you can manage the current, you then have to deal with the locals who consist of SUPpers without borders who paddle for every bump in the water, sea kayaks, kneeboarders, kooks who paddle out for the Instagram shot, and maybe a couple rippers who have the spot dialed and catch the one wave that barrels every 30 minutes. It’s truly a menagerie of kookiness out there.
After about 30 minutes of paddling, positioning, paddling some more, getting stared down and then repositioning I thought to myself “Fuck it – I’m going for one.” I tried sitting deep. I let the current take me out. I thought I could somehow go deeper then everyone else. I didn’t realize it’s almost impossible to stay in the position for a good one out there. I paddled back in to where the SUPpers were on the outside.
Right at the take off spot, there’s a submerged rock that shows its face on the bigger waves and causes a huge boil mid face. It’s not good kind of boil that you see before a wave really throws. It’s a boil boil.
To be fair, there are a couple good barrels to be had out there if you want to sit inside of the rock, towards the point and dodge SUPs all day. All the good waves you see in pictures are of this wave. It barrels for about 2 seconds and you come out and there’s no shoulder to ride.
To the few that have it dialed and can weave through that one barrel every so often – you can have it. I’m done with it.
After 30 minutes of not getting any waves, I paddled in to about mid point and caught an absolute mush burger. Rode it straight and hit the lip on an inside section and had to bail mid term because it was jacking up over the rocks. Admittedly, a kook maneuver and I paid for it. My ass was dragged across a rock and I hit my foot on another.
I shame paddled all the way over to the pier, did another rock dance and headed to the car. The fog horn’s moan echoed my deepest thoughts. Fuck this place. I’m never going back.
I don’t ever want to feel like I did that day.