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The Surfing Year 1999 Retrospective
"My Most Memorable Surfs of 1999"

This past year, 1999, won't go down as one of those years where I encountered lots of outstanding surfing in my jaunts to the local beaches or during my trips for work or pleasure (and "lots" is tempered by my living in Baltimore, a 3-hour drive to the nearest wave-breaking beach).  The general theme this year was: wind, generally smallish waves, and "you should havebeen here yesterday."  But, I did have some fun, fun, fun!

1)  SW France - July/August. (Air: mid-80s, Water: mid-60s) My son and I journeyed to France to participate in a city-to-city exchange program (Cergy-Pontoise, outside of Paris and Columbia, MD) centered around the sport of baseball. I decided that since we were going to miss our annual trek to Hatteras Island that we should catch that week's worth of surfing in France. After several exchanges in AS with surfers from France (Marc, Fafa, @lex, Rene, Dimitri and others), Europe, and the US (Will Borgeson); some intensive internet browsing; purchase/reading Surf Reports and Stormrider Guide-Europe, I settled on SW France (and Spain but never made it there). We had consistent head-high faces, albeit windy and choppy, for a week along the Silver Coast (Lacanau, in the Aquitaine region). The area is characterized by little towns and villages in the country along the silver dune cliffs, a very international flavor in the line-up, and some great scenery on the beaches. We surfed Lacanau Ocean Nud, Carcans Plage, and Le Gerp. Our second week was with our baseball hosts near Paris where we experienced some incredible hospitality while forging those special friendships that will last beyond a lifetime.

2)  Oahu - September 12-17. (Air: mid-80s, Water: mid-70s) This trip was too short for traveling so far but it was a "working" trip so it beat some landlocked, dusty, scrubby town. The previous week I had been in Norfolk (Va Beach) where the waves were near-to-nil and the working hours way too long. The south shore was running a small swell but there were two memorable events: hooking up with AS's Sponge and Buddy for some water time along the Diamondhead shore and catching Kaisers two days later, at dawn on my getaway day, for an excellent, uncrowded 2-hour surf in perfectconditions.

3) San Diego County - Oct 3-10. (Air: mid-80s, Water: low-60s) Never had I seen the La Jolla area so flat as the first four days of this trip! However, Thursday delivered waves larger than I had ever seen in my half-dozen or so visits to the area, a swell generated from a storm near New
Zealand. Breaks like Bird Rock were going off double o/h. The swell continued for several days and I was blessed with scoring some well-shaped breakers in headhigh+ Cardiff/Seaside on the 10th after riding the smaller ones at Torrey Pines and Del Mar on the 8th & 9th. Thanks to ASs' Tom Tweed for the tip on where to find a good but inexpensive full wetsuit -- it's worked like a charm, very comfy and warm.

My cold water moment of the decade: Ocean City Inlet the day after Thanksgiving in 2-3 ft. shorebreak with the Air/water 62/53 degrees.
Biggest disappointment of the year: Our nearly annual visit to PR where atypical wind and cool/wet weather combined for generally lackluster surf by PR standards. Abnormally high tides associated with the unusual closeness of the full moon resulted in many of the smaller waves just rolling over instead of pitching. Nonetheless, we caught one afternoon of 6-8' at Domes and several smaller days at Wilderness and other spots in the warm-watered W/NW. And, it's always great visiting my homeland!

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Last updated on 12/29/05