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User rating (9)
This spot is more of a 'Sonoma' break than a Marin break, because it is way out there and out of Marin County and more towards Sonoma. You have to take Sir Francis Drake Boulevard from highway 1 all the way towards the lighthouse (about 45 minute drive), then turn off at 'Drake's Beach' sign as you are nearing the lighthouse. Park in lot and hike SE down beach 20 minutes to rivermouth (estuary).
WalkGood walk (15-30 mn)
Easy to find?OK
Public access?Public access
Special accessDon't know
Wave qualityRegional Classic
DirectionRight and left
Normal lengthNormal (50 to 150m)
Good day lengthLong (150 to 300 m)
Good swell directionNorthWest, West, SouthWest, South
Good wind directionNorth, NorthWest, NorthEast
Swell sizeStarts working at 1.0m-1.5m / 3ft-5ft and holds up to 4m+ / 12ft
Best tide positionMid and high tide
Best tide movementRising tide
- Rips / undertow
Drake's is a spot which breaks into the Drake's Estero outflow, forming unreal sandbars on both sides of the egress (especially on the south side!) There are a few problems, though... This spot has a heavy great white shark population, and people have spotted huge great whites feeding in packs (on dead whales, etc.) just offshore! You really should only surf here only when the tide is coming up, because when it is dropping the sharks feed at the estuary outflow (where the line-up is). Also, at dropping tides the estuary flows like a fats-moving river, and you wouldn't want to get sucked too far out- possibly to your death either by drowning or getting eaten by a great white shark! (And I am entirely serious!)
What makes this spot magic is the fact that the predominant N-NW winds blow straight offshore here- and often with force! And teh water is often crystal clear and windex-blue! It picks up south swells like a magnet, and big winter and spring surf can wrap in here too! Usually empty, but when it's really firing you might find some 'Pt. Reye's Station locals' out- and while it's good to have company out here, don't do anything to intimidate poeple in the line-up. Have a positive attitude and surf well and all will be well. Most of the time you will have to surf alone! South side of outflow actually has best sandbar- an epic left. But this means you would either have to hike 3 hours up from Limantaur from the south, or paddle across the estuary- a hariy proposition (and never attempt this at a dropping tide! You might not make it accross!) Wave can be world-class when it's on- a crystal-blue, offshore freight-training barrel that wraps all the way into the estuary. But must be big and the sandbars must be right!
You will see bigger waves breaking on sandbars way offshore- but this is a death-wish (due to sharks and currents). Surf the estuary bars or the sometimes-not-closed-out beachbreak only, and keep your eyes peeled for sharks!
By Anonymous , 14-04-2010
One of my favorite NorCal surf spots - So yeah it takes a while to drive there.. Yes, it is sharky (been in the water while shark rolled through and made us all run run run... paddle paddle paddle!) BUT I have had the best sessions there. Perfect 5Ft-6Ft clean lefts and rights. Amazing clear water and long beautiful rides!
I am not going to lie. I do get the fear when I sit to long waiting for the sets to roll in but if there are a few heads out then it's all good. I have surfed the rivermouth solo and it was super creepy, enough for me to get out and walk closer to the parking lot. The right swell's and right time Drakes is pure magic.
By Anonymous , 05-01-2010
The Internet has ruined surfing. - Now even I have a computer. I used to have a life and a weather radio. This was before skateboard parks were everywhere and wheels were soft.I am too old to be swallowed alive or surf in a crowd.There are seamonsters out there for sure.The"Sport of Kings" has spawned 'Stand up Paddling'. There's no hope for the future.
By Anonymous , 26-08-2009
shark,shark,shark - Any time any one talks about any spot up here its shark,shark,shark I have been surfing up here for ten years and I would rather surf in a spot with a lot of seals then one without.Why would a shark confuse you for a seal when he's at a buffet? Take steamers for example seals galore, russian river same.If you are that scared of sharks you should be just as worried about driving out there.There's no reason to try to scare people from going there its so far you will either score or most likely not but if their are so many sharks would'nt you want some company?
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