Surf’s uP!

Early Morning East Coast Peninsular Malaysia late October 2021 (Pic: C. Round)

Tail end of the first week in March 2022, and coming home from two days of surfing . Reflect on what was Forecast and quality of Surf available. A measure of disappointment dominated this reflection. There had been consistent forecast of waves being larger than the actual waves on offer.

Long range forecast indicates nothing for the next three weeks which coincides with the end of Season. It would be premature by almost a Month if this became the last surf before “Huey”(Surf God) turns the Surf Tap off for eight months.

May have been the very last waves of the surf season. Just don’t know, could be. Mother Nature is not exact as humans would like. If that is the way it is, then so bit it.

Driving home, put on the tunes and wave reminisced about just being there. I was satiated, had enough waves, the vibe in the water generally good. A surfed out lazy smile easy to place on the face.

A Surf is a Surf

Weather was nice, view from the water back onto land and to the sky was as always wonderful! Just good to float on a surfboard above and along this long sandy point wave bliss of Cherating. Relaxed, parked and waiting “out the back” and down the inside alley for certain waves, moving and gliding around within the rhythm of this moving Sea.

Quite small it was, but had some fun catching a few zippy ones on the inside. Even managed a Belly Board tube down the inside section for about 8 seconds. Picked up a few of the wider set main waves. Was pretty happy with the performance.

Did “Go over the Falls” once by trying to pull out of a takeoff when it was too late and tough cuddled by the wave to the sand bottom at speed, with bit of sore right posterior a few days later. Real pain was damaged pride of repeating the cardinal sin of: “He who hesitates will get smashed”. Doesn’t matter that am surfing with over 40 years of experience. Poop still happens if you don’t have your mind on the job!

Beginner/ Early Grom Note: Going over the Falls even in 2ft (small) surf can still do some serious damage. Immediately after Hesitation moment, cover head, assume fetus position and prepare for impact!! Am speaking from personal 2ft surf experience and wearing upper body and neck brace for next four months. Was very stinky! Beware!

SurF’s Down

Local surfers were forecasting no more Surf. I held a measure of optimism that the season would not finish prematurely in the whimper that it had. Last year with Covid Lockdown, swell and good surf lasted almost to the end of April. If no Lockdown, it would have been the first ever birthday Surf in Malaysia, a long tradition for me in Australia that was seriously pined for.

Maybe the Season will extend into April like it did last year. Can only hope and check the forecasts.

Four months of the year (November till March) is our main surf window with North East Monsoon season active in sending us waves across the South China Sea. North East winds can be relentless pushing swell and breaking waves to the east coast of peninsular Malaysia. We have Philippines in the far east of the Sea which bears the brunt of the most vicious typhoons during this time. Peninsular Malaysia is protected to some extent and we get the swell without the damaging winds (mainly) and sometimes ginormous amounts of rain from the degraded typhoon that may cause severe flooding.

In between surf seasons, Monsoon season flips 180 degrees and comes in from the South West. Sumatra blocks most of the Swell effect to the west coast for these 7- 8 months. Langkawi does get a cheeky wave or two or three during this period.

Surf’s uP?

This is my seventh year of chasing waves on the East Coast. 2021/22 East Coast Surf Season has not quite delivered this year. My call? Below Par, but after coming out of two years of repeated Covid madness and lockdowns, getting in the water surfing during a below average season has been a wonderful soul restorer.

Wave size, wave direction, wind direction and whether tides are low or high, mould our surfing choices. These are the basics for the surfer to make a choice of,”do I stay at home or go for a surf?” My choice? 2.5 – 3.5 hours drive (260-340 kilometres) to get wet and surf waves. Financial investment goes into getting there and back (fuel, Toll and munchables, maybe accomodation).

The Surf forecast is critical in making that choice. For our East Coast, forecast is accurate enough seven days before potential surf, to enable a provisional choice of Yes, all systems go for next Thursday/ Friday and firm up the choice about three days before. Today is that day.

Forecast is not huge, but the chance of some smallish nicely shaped cute beach break surf had the surf buds salivating a few days ago. Peaceful and scenic is this Beach about 30-40 minutes drive north of Cherating.

It would nicely book-end this surf season. First post Covid “final lockdown” surf being at this Beach in late October last year with only a couple of surfers out. Small but shapely waves cleansed the soul of twenty months of enforced land locked surf deprivation. Seriously surf unfit I was. Just an echo of this Beaches name always seeps a smile across the dial.

The Chart below is the Surf Forecast for this Friday 1 April.

Smallish surf but should be breaking waves and high tide about 9.am. Here, is usually good to surf on both sides of high tide. Wind here plays a factor in messing up the waves pretty quickly. Forecast for early morning is good in both regards.

(Courtesy Magicseaweed: Blue column is forecasting breaking wave height at 3 hour intervals during a 24 hour period. It states – “0.5-0.8m” (metres) at 9.00am. Roughly translates to waves between knee and waist height, maybe a little bit bigger, but not much.
In Surfing terms pretty small.
Black arrowheads indicate the Swell direction. In this case it shows it coming from the north east. Green column with white arrows shows wind speed and direction (north is up the page)
Underneath is a 24 hour chart of low and high tides.

“We are a GO” Button has been pressed and locked in with wife. Special end of season accommodation booked overnight Thursday, so I can do a short early drive to the Beach on Friday. Back home late Friday afternoon three sleeps before the start of Ramadan. It will be nice for both of us as Covid had its way with the family over previous couple of weeks. (So careful, for so long, but …..) In many ways Covid timing was perfect as there wasn’t any Surf!

Will it be like the previous swell forecast? Even smaller than what may be? Might do all that driving to end up with little to no waves? Always the risk, especially with smallish surf. But, what to do? Could be the last for eight months. Just gotta Go! I will Go! Here I come!

Surf’s really uP?

Wait……, what’s this?

Swell Chart of South China Sea as of this Friday. Top right and changing colours? Increase swell activity. Direction? from the North East. Destination? Could be East Coast Malaysia in lower middle of chart and could be a decent sized swell. Exactly where and when will be premium conditions? Surfers Secret Business. Maybe Heuy hasn’t quite turned off the surf tap yet!

4 thoughts on “Surf’s uP!

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