Well, it is that time of year again. Mid summer. The season when we get excited because the swell is chest high and some what consistent. Or not ripped to shreds by the wind. Or even just because it is not completely flat. It does not take the mind long to wander back to the days of late winter, or become wistful for the start of autumn. Well, here is a little help, with two days of pics from one of the more popular point breaks here in Santa Cruz. This point is located between two others that are much less busy, and tend to be much less good. But even with its crowds, this right hander can be super fun to surf. And hell, it has some sort of wave almost any day of the year. Of course, winter is its season, and here are two days of moderate sized swell from the final days of the 13/14 winter.
|Low tide inside kelp face.|
|It is worthy.|
|You can go underneath it,|
|Even the little ones are fun.|
Not every one is really all that willing to sit in a crowd though. No worries. Just a short walk in one direction, and a short drive in the other lie two other, very different points. Short being it will take you maybe thirty minutes. If you run. The closer one does not love the north west direction so much. Sure, there will be waves, but the reef really requires a decent amount of west in the swell, and not too short of a period. And the same goes for the souths. While these are better than too much north, they also need some west component. Let us call it a bit more finicky of a point. But if you know when to show up, it often can be had with just a few others out in the water. And some times you are all alone, so there is much less competition for the sure. And when it does turn on, I'd actually claim it is the better wave. Like three days a year. Of course, on half those days, the crowds do show up too. But there are more than a few days when the wave is decent, the rides are long, the waits are short and the crowd is dispersed along a stretch of ocean. So, kind of fun.
|Tide pool barnacle rock.|
|Rebound to the surfing.|
|But these guys are going off.|
In the other direction lies an even more finicky point. Few surf it. I like the west that develops on steep, mid period, small south swells. Super punchy. And shallow. And hollow. All when most places are flat. But what makes this one shine is the perfect angled, perfect sized, perfect period swell when the tide and moon are aligned. Let us call it a rare beast. But hey, the crowds tend to be who ever just showed up. Unless it is firing. Which is like once every three years. Not to mention actually getting to the water in the first place. It is a bike of a stroll. So, because of these factors, our featured beach is the popular one. It does not hurt that it is a great place to hang out, protected from the sea breeze, crowded with aquatic life, and with a regular group of surfers always in the water to shot.
|Small insiders were setting up.|
|For this kind of nonsense.|
I tend to surf all three these day, and have often considered how I will make my decision to surf. Five years ago, I would have rarely bothered with the pictured waves. Even on a sleeper day, you would need to surf with five others. Usually that number would top ten others on a small, or bumped out day, and nearing, or exceeded 30 on a good day. And the beach is rarely devoid of boards. Nor the parking lot. Just was never worth the bother. I'd wait for they neighbors to have their good days, and surf solo, or with a handful of others. Others just as stoked to not deal with crowds. But, alas, things have changed. These days I get fewer windows. Sometimes they may only be 80 minutes long. Efficiency, and flexibility are a must. And a little willingness to share with my neighbor is as well.
|Less than perfect, but lining up.|
|The next morning the swell was up and the tide was in. Look closely. It has some size.|
|The inside section was still throwing out some fun ones.|
|The shore pound left even showed some promise.|
I still tend to avoid the good days still. Or rather, I surf else where, that happens to also be good on those days. But with fewer folks. So, I guess, I still avoid the crowded days. Thing is, like several other breaks in Santa Cruz, this one breaks most days of the year. Big days. Small days. Windy days and calm ones. Low tides and high tides. Southerly swells and northerly swells. Long period and short period. Oil glass, and even victory at sea. If you want to get out, you can. Some days will be better than others, but rarely is it unsurfable. Even the micro days will allow for some log zipping, if you've got the tool. So, when on days it is nor breaking else where, due to a combination of swell size, period, tide, winds and such, I know where I'll go. When you have 80 minutes, you really don't want to spend too much of that time in the car.
|In summer, this thing would have ten guys fighting for it.|
|Riding through the middle section can take a little patience.|
|Slashing back into the source.|
|Life Guards were out practicing rescue operations.|
|It was a busy day at the beach.|
It helps that it has a killer beach. My three year old and I hang out there a bit. There are birds. And at low tide the pools are full of anemone and stars to find. Rocks are there for scrambling and climbing. And we get to watch the surfers. And the wave. But most of all, it is just a nice place to chill, relax, dig in the sand and jump off shit. That helps keep the lineup full. As folks chill on the beach, watching the surf, kicking back a beverage, chatting with friends, and waiting for the tide to filling in just a bit more, a thin line up does not last very long. So, even if you look from the cliffs, and see just a head or two, don't get your hopes up too high. More surfers are always lurking near by.
|It sure looked fun in the water when the sets were coming through.|
|Pulling up into the juice.|
|Where the land meets the sea.|
|This day the water safety team was well represented.|
|A lot of trucks roaming around down there as well.|
Sometimes is is actually better to watch the show from the beach when the surf is super packed. Kick it with the little guy, and wait for things to clear out. It sure is nice to have the water filled with some talent if you are chasing around a three year old with a camera on your hip. Nothing worse then some killer waves with two or three wankers struggling to make a section, when you are stuck ashore with nothing but the camera. On the other hand, if you are suiting up, that makes the line up look that much sweeter. While this place does not really pull in the pros, there are more than a few who know how to surf. So when a killer set comes in and lines up on the point, it usually is not boring watching the rides.
|Little guys POV of the point.|
|Floating the section.|
|These guys and gals had some drills to complete.|
Alas now we are in the midst of summer. At least we are past the hump. Things already are starting to brew up in the northern Pacific. Small yet for sure, but better than nothing. Not really expecting this to be the 'turn', more just a little good luck for August. The water surface is looking glassy this coming week, and I'd go so far as to say we are nearing the start of combo season. At least this week sees some small south and small north combining up for some fun sized surf. Not so surf that will make this point the best place to surf, but lord knows it will have something. And you'll likely not be alone.
|Lining up the inside.|
|This should wet the appetite.|
|Trying to find the shade on this wave is part of the fun.|
|And there is some meat for sure.|
Been a while since I've seen the point doing the things it was doing those two days in March. But it won't be long before it is doing it again. Here is for a pray for and early fall season, my favorite time of the year. And we don't even rely on the foliage to make it sweet.