Fear and Fun at Mason's inlet

On Friday I paddled Mason's inlet with friends. It was gorgeous weather but the water was 57 degrees which is much colder than usual for me.

At the beginning we went down to the inlet and I was too warm, but as I got smashed around in the water my hands and face got quite cool.  My knee straps were not adjusted just right because I had last used them on a different boat so they kept flopping off. This reduced the boat/body connection enough that I almost got washed out of the boat in some small stuff. 

 As the tide was going out and the wind seemed to pick up I told Lee that it was time for me to got back to the other side of the inlet where we launched.

So the group played on their side of the inlet and I played on mine. 

 After catching a few bumps I found some bigger stuff and managed to swim a couple times.  Once I had finally swum I became much more relaxed about the conditions and how I had dressed for the colder water.  I did take a break and add my hood for better head warmth which put me completely at ease in the water.  I was able to find some fun stuff and challenge myself enough that I swam two more times.

So I swam my normal four times which maintains my swimming average for surf days and I learned a couple lessons.  First I want to get separate straps for each sit on top I take in the surf. Or I need to put a seat belt type strap in the boats I surf.  About half the time I come out of the boat I am leaning on a good brace in the wave and feel stable, but the blade catches the green water and the boat catches the white water and I stay with the blade as the boat washes out from me.  So I think I could really improve my rides if I was better connected to the boat.

The second lesson I learned was that I need to swim very near the beginning of any surf trip to feel comfortable.  Next time I'll go out and play near the launch and make certain I swim in the first 15 minutes.

I'm really lucky to have friends who are excepting of my sit on top ways and allow me to go out with them.  I'm pretty sure everyone rolled at least once this trip. And one friend needed to do a re-entry and roll in the rough stuff, but I spend far more time in the water than the rest of the group.


  1. It was a totally fun day. However, I was rather concerned that you went off on your own and that our communication chain was not solid enough that more than one person knew what was happening until you were well on your way. I think should work on this in the future so that everyone is better supported and informed. My 2c. :)

  2. I agree. I'm not certain of what I could have done differently, but I'm more than willing to get any suggestions. Once I got a little spooked, I told Lee and headed for deeper calmer water on the other side. The cold water really had me worried about a long swim.

  3. I think you did good but the group could/should have done better by you. Basically, this comes down to planning (where we can improve) and experience (which is always 20/20 in hindsight and hopefully results in greater foresight on the next outing).

    I think for the group the start of a good plan for next time would be to talk more beforehand, work on hand signals/other protocol and agree to group up in at least 2 and pref 3 folks if someone is uncomfortable or heading off. If that's not an option, I think maybe the soloists better option is to head to shore nearest the group and then meeting up there.

    I learn something every time I go out and it's always through trial and error and trying new things.

  4. I did think about landing on your side of the inlet but it is really hard to turn that boat around in the rough without getting side surfed. Maybe I should have blown the whistle and used the radio. Or maybe some combination of whistle and hand signals would have helped.

  5. Good for us to all mull on and put in the hopper for next time.

    I do think when someone is leaving b/c they aren't feeling ok that having another paddler with them is a safety essential.

  6. Sorry I missed this trip. Had great fun surfing with y'all on our last one and look forward to more.