Getting Back to Basics - Pt 1

Loads going on for Phileas and Scott Reeder. In fact, so much that I'm having to spread her most recent adventures over two posts! Here's part 1 from Scott.

It’s been quite a week for Phileas. Thankfully, the lure of the bright lights and Hollywood lifestyle didn’t really take with our girl. Since we got her back outdoors and on to our nature trip — hiking, gardening, tree climbing — there’s been no more sneaking out at night or benders. Let’s hope it was just a phase.

Phileas loves San Diego as much as we do. 

The neighborhood waterfall rages after torrential rains soaked San Diego. Mind the rocks, Phileas!

A storm kept us out of the water for the better part of a week. When it was finally time to surf again, Phileas joined Mattitude, Kendog and me for a boat trip to Three Bush, aka Wiggums. I was skeptical we’d find a wave there. The spot is incredibly swell- and tide-sensitive. Even on solid swells from the “perfect angle,” I’ve watched everybody in the lineup sit for an hour without a ripple coming through. It’s often twice as crowded as the land-accessed spots. But Mattitude and Ken each have more than 25 years’ experience at Three Bush, and they really know their stuff. Mattitude meticulously tracked the swell and came up with a well-defined plan.

Of course, the plan quickly fell apart on our end. Mark became ill the night before, and our family managed to get our Honda locked in the regional nature park for the night, leaving adults, kids, dogs and Phileas stranded without a ride home, let alone a way to meet Ken and Mattitude the next day. Just as I was getting ready to make that sheepish call to Ken, a merciful park ranger materialized out of nowhere and let us out.

We launched right on schedule, but shortly after clearing the harbor, the motor sputtered out. A fuel intake glitch. The same thing happened five or six more times until we came up with a system of constantly priming the fuel bulb and laying off the throttle a bit — which I think was difficult for Mattitude, who sniffed surf. He would have stand-up paddled the boat out there if necessary.

When we finally got out to Three Bush, it looked flat. When a little wave came through, the guys got excited: “We are gonna score!” I wondered what they saw that I didn’t.

Mattitude anchored us in really tight. With a little training, I probably could’ve spit a watermelon seed from the boat into the lineup. “We’re fine,” Mattitude assured. Just after Mattitude and Ken jumped in the water, sets started pouring in.

On the far, far inside of the break, there are three distinct bushes along the bluff. Making it to the first bush marks a good, long ride; a second-busher is one for the memory bank; and a third-bush ride inspires poetry, song and cackling.

Mattitude's RIB

After first-bushing a nice little runner, I watched a bigger set swing wide. Ken and Phileas took off deep on the best wave and did a huge bounce down the face before finding the sweetest line. Then Ken pulled off the greatest mat maneuver I’ve ever seen: a sweeping cutback around the outside of Mattitude’s boat! Then he trimmed back and second-bushed the wave. I couldn’t stop laughing. Now THIS is true mat surfing, I thought. Then Mattitude kicked by, grumbling, “All right, I guess I’ll move the boat …”

Everyday Three Bush. 

I’m pretty sure Mattitude first-bushed one on a practically airless Phileas. I went ashore to thaw out for a bit and watched him get an early start on what looked to be a meager two-footer. As he built speed, the wave doubled in size. He outran section after section, going way faster than it’s possible to go on a mat. My screams from shore prompted a couple surfers in the water to ask if I was OK.

Ken and Mattitude have the place wired. We shared a lot of waves, and riding behind them was a great education. Where a soft spot seemed to call for a cutback, they would race farther out onto the shoulder. Then, out of nowhere, the wave would jack back up and I’d watch them speed off down the line as I got buried and pushed into the rocks.

Many of the surfers in the water (and later in the parking lot) commented on how well the mats went out there. We received a lot of hoots, “Yeahs!” and laughs. When Mattitude snuck up behind Ken, ending up dry-docked on his back before shoving Ken down the line, the crowd seemed especially pleased. We nearly talked a couple guys into trying some of the many mats on the boat.

The swell of the century with only about 100 surfers out. 1 to commemorate each year?

At ultra-fickle Three Bush, It felt like the whole swell was condensed into maybe 15 good sets — and Mattitude had us out there for probably 12 of them. By the time we left, the crowd had swelled and the waves had stopped.

The motor quit only a few times on the way back, so we made pretty good time. As we said farewell in the parking lot, Mattitude handed me a coconut. As I sipped the milk, with my gear yard-saled all over the lot, Mattitude pulled away. The trailered 15-foot inflatable made his pickup look tiny. I waved, and from the passenger seat Ken jeered, “Nice coconut!”  

Kendog and Mattitude. With friends like these, who needs forecast sites?

Now THAT is a day out!