Noah Wegrich Savors One Last Dance With La Niña
‘Cracked Record’ is a visual sonnet to lien grabs and off-season refraction.
For the screwfooters of Central California, there is a siren song hidden amid the seabreezes of summertime.
Though the warmer months lack the austere northwest swells and offshore wind which send the marquee waves into a frenzy, May to October promises the teasing lull of south swells.
And, from Ventura to Santa Cruz, south swells mean lefts — namely, left wedges. Nicely angled reprieve, for goofs who spend all winter awkwardly looking at sections over their right shoulders, wishing dearly that Rincon, Steamer Lane, or Pleasure Point had a mirrored counterpart tucked correctly into the coast.
For surfers like Noah Wegrich and his reclusive friend Nate Tyler, the pursuit of these wedges has shaped much of their careers, lending ramps to a variegated supply of straighty grabs and aerial sticker showcases.
These waves, however, usually disappear at any sight of a long-period North Pacific swell blob, and don’t recall how to refract correctly for much of winter.
Yet, 2022 saw the final patterns of a recurrent La Niña cycle and, between plagues of torrential rain/enormous swells, was generally terrible for winter venues north of Point Conception.
In this uninspiring soup of atmospheric influences, the snack-food shaped lefts near Santa Cruz had a rare handful of cold, grey moments.
“We shot this last winter and it was horrible,” laughs filmmaker Jonah Saffran. “It was actually the worst, coldest winter I can remember. Those waves that Noah was surfing are not usually wintertime waves, they’re all summertime wedges. Fortunately, Noah thrives in left wedges, so we still managed to throw something together, but it was the strangest season of waves.”
Tastefully collating Noah’s springboard antics with a vintage Shawty Pimp tune, Jonah nestles the clip cozily next to Log Rap in the narrow niche of artful hip-hop/surfing engagements
“Music taste is something Noah and I have bonded over,” he says. “I think people may be hesitant about rap music in surf clips because they don’t think it flows well, or they’re used to listening to a certain type of music. Surf culture is a lot of affluent white kids. You see rap in Instagram clips but you rarely see it tastefully done. Maybe it’s because surf brands don’t think that’s the crowd they’re marketing their product to.”
“Noah’s surfing just suits rap music, I was watching the surfing with that song in my head and it just clicked.”
Also, though it wasn’t the intention, Jonah says it’s perfectly alright if you choose to interpret the title ‘Cracked Record’ as a metaphor for Waggy’s sometimes repetitive proclivity for surfing chest high lefts.
“Nothing new here,” he laughs.
It could be my own Northern Californian, goofy-footed bias toward Noah, but despite the common ground between this and much of his other footage, I never seem to bore of his ability to make uninspiring corners look intoxicatingly fun.
Plus, lien grabs are cool.
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