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Teiki Mathieu Baillan surfing a self-made Alaya surfboard in Macaroni, Mentawaï, Indonesia. Photo by C. Naslain, 2009.

Surf spot atlas made by surfers for surfers
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 The hook

USA, California, Santa Cruz

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By peet , 05-09-2011

Beginners - The flipside, following a nice, solid South swell in the 6-10 ft range:

BEGINNERS: please do not paddle out at the Hook, or at Sharks, on a swell over 4 feet. You are a danger to yourself and others, at sizes above that, as you do not yet know enough about where to be -- and where to not be -- which inevitably means you're going to be continually putting yourself *exactly* where you should not be. When it's over 4 feet, pick a different day. Any one who encourage you to do otherwise is not your friend, when it comes to surfing.

I saw so many clueless people who could *almost* surf a little, this week, bringing out others who should not have been in the water at all.

Your first priority is safety, and the second is not getting in the way. If you're a beginner, you don't yet know how to fulfill your obligations on either of those counts, and that's annoying but ultimately OK. It's just not OK in surf over 4 ft, when you should not be out at all (you will not get any waves, when it's good, and you can only be in the way and cause problems for others, not disincluding water rescue teams).

By peet , 26-06-2011

oh yeah - ...what I'd add to that is just that a little communication goes a long way. There's a basic spirit of cooperation, that people in cliques extend to each other, and that a lot of non-local people who show up regularly to surf Capitola from over the hill (or wherever) lack. One of the reasons they lack it is that they don't receive it from locals, so they have no real concept of what it's like to surf (position for waves, especially) in a cooperative way. If you constantly snake, and paddle directly at and directly in front of guys who have never experienced cooperative surfing, you can't really be surprised if they end up thinking that's how things are done. I'm 100% sure that a few of the worst offenders, as far as hostile and uncooperative spirit -- guys who show up at The Hook regularly -- have no idea that that's not how it's supposed to be done.

By peet , 26-06-2011

To Kook-ish locals - Been surfing the entire stretch from Privates to Rocky's about 5 months, now, every day, after being out of the water 20 years. I have had exactly 2 experiences with misdirected localism in that time, have never hit anybody, have not burned a single person (yes, I have missed a lot of waves in keeping my nose clean).

In both cases, where someone who considered themselves more local than me gave me some flak, it was actually the person claiming the local card that was in the wrong. No, I'm not deluded. Once, someone hit me in between sets, paddling out, and tried to make it my fault, afterward, somehow, and the other time some guy was having a bad day at the Hook and decided to blame me.

In both cases, compared to the other locals out, the person that complained was the worst surfer of all the established locals, and had terrible wave etiquette themselves (constantly burning others -- if I described them, everybody's know exactly whom I'm talking about, and would agree, "Yeah, that one's a clown").

This post's actually aimed at people like that: if you have a problem with someone you think isn't local, and none of the other locals have a problem with that person, it could be that the problem is actually you.

By Anonymous , 15-03-2010

Boneheads - I'll reiterate what I thought was the most important thread going through these comments. There is an unhealthy mix of beginners and advanced surfers which seems to bring out the worst in everyone. The locals suffer from the big-fish-in-a-little-pond syndrome. It's a fun, non-threatening wave but you would think it was Pipeline the way they rule it. If they don't know you they will burn you. THey have no respect for anyone outside of their little clique. I'm guessing they have a different idea about sharing waves when they are surfing elsewhere.

By Anonymous , 15-02-2009

surfing the hook - the hook is one of my favorite spots if you are visiting the hook bring your fish. fishes surf real well at the hook.

By Anonymous , 19-07-2008

haaha - i use to live out right near free line growing up surfing this spot i come back now as "a weekend warrior" and am soo surprised about how many barneys are trying to regulate a wave in which is easy to learn on fun long wave "not to be takin to seriously" when you have a big surf shop right down the shop and look outs for tourists your gonna expect beginners and clumbsy people. so if your the hot shot that is tryin to come up on the block and surfing this wave you are a born kook and you might to a little better one a wakeboard and a famous t shirt.

By Anonymous , 08-10-2007

a joke - the hook is a mediocre wave that should be left to groms and beginners.

the real barneys here are the guys coveting such a soft wave that offers no challenge. if you are claiming at the hook you are either a) a dork or b) 12 years old.

By Anon O. Muss , 07-07-2007

But... - I generally agree with everything you said with just one exception: when the waves are decent there are very few longboarders and they almost certainly get a bad vibe from the locals (and are occasionally "asked" to go somewhere else). Even though the wave is not at all heavy, it is not a good place to learn because of the crowds. Whenever you catch a wave, you have to find a gap to drop into and then weave your way through the inside crowd. If you can't do this with assurance, then you'll probably end up hurting someone. I've seen some spectacular multi-surfer collisions. Also, even though it may be an easy wave for good surfers, most beginners would probably find it challenging (except when it's small) compared to, say, O'Neill's or inside 2nd peak. Lastly, if you are a beginner, just about everyone there can drop in deeper than you can so you'll never get a wave you can call your own and it's pretty hard to improve if you can't catch any waves. Better off learning at a beach break where you can find a spot for yourself.

By Anonymous , 02-07-2007

- word!!! 6th sc generation guy. good points and very well put. its all true and if people cant understand that... well they probably never will. no flames here bro! keep shralpin'

By 6th Gen. Santa Cruz , 23-06-2007

Set it straight - Alright, let me throw in my opinion. The hook is a decent wave, it's not epic or amazing, but its a fun, long, rip-able wave. Yet when it's good, it's always better somewhere else, as it takes a pretty decent swell for this place to really work (though there can be enjoyable small days), and such a swell will really light up Santa Cruz.

There's just a bad mix of people at this spot. As I said,
it's a long, generally mellow wave (but it can barrel on its day; yet not too often), so it attracts lots of long-borders and beginners. At the same time, this is a really easy wave to shred, so many pros come here to work on moves that they can't do regularly at most other places. So there are aggressive rippers and unsure beginners sharing the same wave -a bad combination.

There's a big sign up top with the general etiquette rules posted, and I've often found that these rules are broken equally by beginners and locals alike, be it out of ignorance or rage (I find that neither is more justifiable).

It just ticks me off sometimes, that so many pros and rippers come here when there's a swell, because they should be charging heavier waves, not mushy walls that are just easy to carve the shit out of (but I do admit, I have seen The Hook get hollow; I'm speaking in 99% of the time terms). It makes me think that when there's a swell this really should be the spot where people LEARN to rip, not show off. But then again, everyone has a right to surf the place.

Just my opinion, I'll get ready to be flamed now.

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