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Teiki Mathieu Baillan surfing a self-made Alaia surfboard in Lances Left, Mentawaï, Indonesia. Photo by C. Naslain, 2009.
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By Sponger Shawn
Soul surfing for life - Hey gang, what's up? I am from down here in S.L.O. county and we get a pretty gnarly swell here and there (hmmm,hmmm, snicker, snicker)...But seriously, I sure as heck would NOT laugh at northern cali beach break period. The thing with Ocean Beach is that it is fully exposed, no shelter at all. You get fresh, raw Aluetian juice squeezed right onto the beach at full force. At least in Morro Bay the coast to the north SLIGHTLY protects us. I moved up to The City a couple of months ago and only paddled out once at Ocean Beach in the early Spring. I was lucky, it wasn't massive. I now live in the Mission District. Just bought a new Toobs bodyboard and look forward to those cold early mornings with my backpack, board, and thermos of hot java to sip on as I am hunkered down on the beach watching the walls roll in. I get as much satisfaction from that as dropkneeing a barrel a barrel at Steamers Lane. The only thing I would be missing would be my Schwinn Stingray. Just like the good ol' days ditching high school. You don't always have to get in the water to be a surfer, it's all in your mind. When I step over the winos or crackheads poking at the sidewalk for a fallen crumb, I have can just take myself mentally to the time as a stranger at Cardiff Reef I got tubed dropkneed and was given some props by a bunch of the local crew. Not much can beat that my freinds! AND I was on a bodyboard! Yeah, this Winter I might be that small speck on the frozen beach drinking a steaming cup of coffee while you guys get the waves of your lives or you just might catch me in the line up...
By Dan Moore
- The beach isn't ALL that. It's fun, and paddling out is tough. Sometimes, when the tide is lower, and it's 10 feet, I don't get out, period. Short duration swells suck. But, to put it in perspective, the waves don't move towards the beach nearly as fast as Oahu. The end result is, you can paddle in later, drop later, and, not get pitched. This also affects board design, but, I'm old, and I don't need you young guys figuring it out early.
By Surfside Eleven
Southern California Dreamin' - Well at least one SoCal poseur had the tremendous courage to write(!) about how he came here and dominated and caught the eye of some local who bought him a sammich and then 'packed his lunch' or something. He embarrasseth himself.I've surfed all over Southern California, and there is really no wave down there that compares unless you talk about Cortez or Todos. It is often flat and almost always gutless. Fun? Sometimes. Challenging? Only because of the tide of human waste in the water that one has to dodge.OB is as pure a surfing experience as one can get in an urban environment. This is because it requires exceptional physical shape and it gets less and less crowded as it gets bigger and better. It doesn't matter what stickers you have on your board, what kind of absurd surfer affecations you adopt, who you know, or who you think you are. There's none of the tragic Lunada elitism, none of the posturing of Salt Creek punks, none of the tribal arm bands of Huntignton, nor the droves of wannabes at Rincon, and none of the plastic lips/T&A of Newport. Just big, cold, perfect and consistent winter waves. I've seen waves that are as hollow and perfect as any beachbreak in the world.If you want Mr. Transplant, you can find your limit at OB. Or you can surf it when you're comfortable and talk trash like, well, Southern Californians are so apt to do. Anyone who's looking for the limit at OB will find. They should call the place "Waterloos" because even the Mavericks pioneers met their match on big OB days, before discovering the true big dog of the coast. From my place I can see every peak on the beach and I've seen it perfect yet unsurfable for literally a week on end. 20-30 ft A-frames with nice offshores breaking a hundreds of yards from shore that only a certifiable maniac would attempt to paddle to. So when you say you've dominated OB, it really just speaks to how utterly naive you are and how you failed to really challenge yourself when it gets real. You most likely surfed it on an average day, which to you looked like macking Blacks. Keep at it, because in a few months OB will have days where it is going off and will dominate every human being on the planet, whether or not they want to admit it to themselves.I'm man enough to admit that I've almost died at OB several times, an experience that is available to even the toughest surfer...if they charge it big. I'll see you one my way out while you stand in parking lot gesturing, trying to get people to listen about how often you amaze yourself.
By outer bar fan
And on another note to SoCal tranny - Cryin Ryan has been absent for YEARS, and Jesse left about a year ago for LA for non-surf-related purposes (but some of us miss his presence). The 2004-2005 winter had the most surfable beach days in YEARS, but for sure Mavericks didn't see a lot of 15-20 ft days...that's fine by me, I don't play that game much anyway, I'll take 5-10 ft days and offshores at the beach every time.
By uRa BoZo
To "OB is kinda weak" below - Drainpipies, at Zuma, can get extremely steep, powerful, and heavy - but it doesn't get like that very often, and Zuma for one is known to not come together that often at size. I will not downplay the power of Drainpipes, but the fact is, after 10 solid years at OB after living in So Cal all my life, except for perhaps Lunada Bay, Blacks or El Porto, So Cal and Nor Cal are like night and day (respectively). OB is consitently big and gnarly in the winter, and crequently rideble as far as big beachies go. The winter of 2004/2005 was pretty mild, though, so sorry you missed out. But LA must have really been weak. We actually get more surf up here in the summer, too. But on most winters you would not be talking so much crap - again, last winter was rather weak, with the Mav's contest barely going. And if you are going to whine about long and hard paddles, you'd better move back to Zuma beach where on the biggest days the waves break maybe 50 yards offshore. At OB in the winter, the outer bars start at about 200 yards out. I'm just under the impression you have not really been on OB all that much (as you said - 2 months), because anybody from LA who spends any amount of time up here would not be such an ignoramus. Actually, you are right - OB is small and weak compared to LA - GO BACK!
Respect - I've done my fair share of surfing: Fiji, Oz, Hawaii, Costa, etc. but have yet to have my ass handed to me like visiting some pals in SF and trying to surf 7ft OB in a 3/2 on a borrowed 6'2" potato chip. In Feb. no less. Very humbling experience. Never done so much paddling for a handful of (shorebreak) waves in my life. Never had my head feel like it was gonna freeze and fall off. Much respect to the locals who make this spot look easy and tame, and are committed to going out.
Waves at November (2005)? - Hi will go to California/San francisco at the begining of November 2005 (to a conference). I would like to know how are the waves in this spot. Thank youps: I´m from Portugal
Weak??? - I'm sorry, but not having the velocity of Hawaii, it still doesn't mean OB is weak. While not Ken Bradshaw, I have had my days of giant waves, and, I've surfed maxed sunset, on a 9'6" Rawson gun I've had for a very long time(read from about 1986 to 1994). That same board was too small for one day at OB. Couldn't get over the ledge, and down the face, comfortably, and, I've ridden 20 foot outer reefs on that same board. That said, I think cold water, slower moving, but still jacking waves require different equipment solutions then warm water, and faster moving waves. Still, OB is very real. How good is it? Well, my one complaint on outer reef days is that boards big enough to catch the wave, tend to draw lines that are too long for the duration of the wave. That said, I've got two new Rawsons due up here, in a couple days, and I'll let you not know how they work;-)s
By outer bar fan
SoCal tranny full o it - So full of it. First of all, there is no way to get OB wired in a month. The big stuff breaks differently in October than it does in November, and differently again in January. It literally takes YEARS to get outer bar surf wired. But you are right about one thing. SB area trannies rarely get it. They are all hung up on easy point break surf and never get to know the outer realm at OB. There is a significant investment required before you will ever know OB's better winter days. Wait until January. Wait until low tide on a 10@20 day, with offshores howling, when it starts going top to bottom 15 foot Hawaiian and you need a 9 ft plus board to catch anything. Grab one bomb, go deep, make the wave, and then come back and spout off. But watch out - caught inside and the day is over. It may take a few tries to get out. Maybe an hour. Maybe you will get denied. It really doesn't matter the price, a few choice bombs are worth a whole winter of paddling.
Lunch odds... - Well, the beach has been pretty lucky chompwise, even though, some friends have done some really incredible things.Beached near the Cliff house, two years ago, either a baby white shark, or a baby Salmon shark. Both look very much alike. My friend, who maybe believes in Karma, walked the baby shark back out into the lineup, and let it go. The shark was trying to bite him the entire time, so maybe he doesn't believe in Karma...I rarely surf small waves, so I'm almost always out when the second sandbars are going off, and, I think that's a bit different from smaller days. I will say one time I did go out on a smaller day, and my very thick, 7'4" short board still felt small. Plenty of water moving. I'm going to get a board to enjoy small waves with, something I really didn't need in Hawaii. 1986 I went over and the first day of the winter, the Bay went off. It STAYED 8 feet or bigger, for 20 days. My shortboard was a 9'4" gun. Ever caught a wave in the middle of the channel, between Sunset, and Kami's, breaking top to bottom, on the sandbar built up over the summer, at 15+ feet? It's easy. You start paddling out, get into the channel, and watch the third reefs go off. You paddle for deep water, and make sure you are way outside the normal break at Sunset, maybe 150 yards. Then, right in front of you, a giant peak pops up, with a nice wall. It's near Bay size, and, you are on a 9'4" Rawson gun, so you turn, paddle, and drop into a giant, sand sucking monster that lines all the way to the beach. Not bad for your first wave at Sunset for the year.
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