Jan Sommer announced a surfing trip to Pillar Point. I had recently gone there with Don "Ductape" Barch but had paddled the sidelines and watched the experts surfing their kayaks. Since early this year I had been learning to roll a kayak. I had been practicing in the warm water of "The Plunge", a public pool that is open to kayakers two nights a week in Richmond. I was aware that this sort of practice was not the same thing as real experience in real cold water. This is why I was so leery of trying to surf the last time I was at Pillar Point. But my confidence was growing and I felt that my roll might be "bomb proof" and ready to try out in a "combat situation". In other words to try rolling up when I am unexpectedly knocked over in the water.
Jan invited some river kayaking friends of hers to come and try out the ocean. Jack Pines who I went to the Gulf Islands showed up and so did Don Fleming. We paddled across Princeton Harbor and carried our boats across the base of the jetty and launched into the ocean behind the rocks of Pillar Point. The beach here is right next to the large shallow area with a flat stony bottom where I had found mild waves to surf in the last time I was here. I lead the way out into this and got a few rides.
But everyone worked their way farther and farther out to where bigger waves were breaking. One of Jan's river kayaking friends took to the big waves right away and apparently had a great time getting tossed around by them. I found if I went part way out a large wave could get me going and push me into the shallow area where it would calm down and continue to push me for another 100 meters or more. Nice long rides. Between the big breaking waves and that shallow area there was deeper water where the waves tended to calm down and you could rarely get them to push you around. So you had to go farther and farther out looking for a ride.
Don and Jack both got knocked over once each and had to exit from their boats. Jack found himself in shallow water and was able to pump out his boat and get back in. Don let some of us help him get back in his boat. Finally I got knocked over by a large wave. I don't recall thinking much about it but I did roll back up almost immediately. My "combat roll" has been tested successfully at last!