Just back from the Gorge, Mike Mauch and I scored a superb ocean conditions like run from Freshwater Bay to Port Angeles.
We launched at high slack to 18-20WNW with gusts to 25, WNW swell 3-4', wind wave 2-3', water temp 53deg,air 60. A sparkling sunny day with deep blue water. Across on the BC coast we noted a fog line ( which we'll meet later).
We paddled out about 3/4 mile to get a good line to tip of Ediz hook as well as try to avoid Elwa river confusion. Since the ocean swell was 7sec period they were easy to catch, then surf left, ride a wind bump, surf right catch another swell. Zig zagged like this for 4 mi and saw we were getting set towards shore more than prudent so worked our way further left across ocean swell. The bottom from mi 3 to 6 goes from 75+ft to 30 and less so the waves begin to stack up and can dump. We also began to pick up the reverb wave train from the jetty. So now we had 3 or 4 different direction wave trains to play with. Plus the water was getting sticky due to beginning of ebb.
But great technical surfing. Then the fog bank rolled on us and we lost sight of land and CGAS (Coast Guard Air Station on end of Ediz Hook).
We used Polynesian navigation by continuing to surf the wind bump which lined up with CGAS. Fog started breaking up and we were along side CG surfing big blue 5' ebb driven humps right to the tip of Ediz Hook. A super 11 mi run.
Of course now we had to pay Neptune for our fun by paddling up wind another 1.3mi to the boat ramp on S side of Hook. Worth it!
If you plan on doing the run, useful to study nautical chart for landmarks and bottom info. 18465 Eastern part Strait of Juan de Fuca. Also can get real time wind from Wind Alert stations, Windfinder. Check Magicseaweed website Cape Flattery for swell info or Noaa buoy 46088.
I've only hit those big run swell once like that. It's different than gorge or really anything you'll see inside. You did a neat trick avoiding getting set into the hook. If that happens probably easier to just crash land through the surf line and carry boat across. Also, I've done that upwind inside the hook and amazing how hard and long that gets. Especially if you were ridin OC.
I bet that run made the coffee taste good after.
Yeah crash land is the right description! Three weeks ago we did the run and landed on the North side to avoid the bash upwind. Figured since mid tide might be some beach showing before getting thrown up against boulder jetty. Well the“ beach” was softball sized smooth rocks. I hoped out,got rolled slipping on the stones and barely saved my boat. You need curbside valet service in any decent wind.
I was in my trusty Huki S1R on this last run. Mike in his S. I made a bad rudder selection .Thinking it wouldn't be so technical nor as much wind (forecast 15), I used 9“ Huki weed rudder. My zigs and zags were pretty sloppy while Mike was shredding it rail to rail with his 9” Kiesling. I tried out my new 9.5“ Kiesling surf rudder aka “The Beast” last Friday at the Gorge and boy o boy was it fun in swell city. Could turn any way I wanted and feel solid. Course you need mid 20's+ to get most benefit.
Looks like you got S15-25 next Tuesday in Bham so I'm bringing Huki and Beast for a run.See you on the water.
I sure wish they brought back that DeFuca Downwind race again! I think the first year we did it we had to finish inside the hook, but the next year we finished on the beach facing the Strait. There was a bit of a shorebreak but it wasn't too bad to negotiate.
Bill Walker, what do you say about resurrecting that race??