Sunday, July 27, 2008

Scouting surf spots

I’ve been wanting to start surfing point breaks again for at least, well, since I moved here over five years ago. But it’s so convenient to just walk three blocks down and go out at the local beach break that I haven’t been sufficiently motivated to check Topanga, Sunset and Malibu.

Actually, that’s not quite true. On July 4 of last year one of the people from the Cambridge office was in the middle of his 6-week posting to the Santa Monica office. As I’ve become the unofficial surf instructor for the Cambridge office, he looked me up and I started taking him out. He caught on to surfing faster than anybody I’ve ever seen - it probably helps that he’s 27 and a very good athlete already. Because he was getting good fast I put him on the 7’0“ David Pu’u funboard and he was doing well with it. Unfortunately he didn’t heed my advice to be aware of the board’s presence and position if you get pitched off it. It ended up hitting him hard on the arm - with the sharp pointy end of the skeg and cut him open. We went to the ER and they put about 15 stitches in to close him up and told him to stay out of the water until the wound closed. (Picture will go up on Flickr shortly.) That dry spell happened to overlap 4 July - at which time we also happened to get a fantastic south swell. I decided it would be good to take him to see Malibu, which just happened to be my first time too.

Yes, despite growing up, living and surfing in SoCal nearly all my life I’d never actually been to Malibu. (Reason: Ventura County has a good point break as well as all other types of surf breaks, and frankly I just didn’t want to hassle with the crowds at the ‘Bu in the summer.) We went - and the waves were incredible. (Pictures to follow.) They were consistently 4-6’ set waves and just rolled through all the points. However, there were zillions of people out. But I digress...

This morning I left early and drove out to Sunset to check that point break. I’ve seen Topanga and it’s just not very good - bottom looks not very well-shaped and the put-in is rocky. Sunset has a rocky put-in too, but there was a south swell running today and it handled the sets and waves fairly well. (Pictures here.) There were nearly 100 people out at a place that doesn’t seem to have a lot of takeoff spots, but that won’t matter much if I dawn patrol and go out when few people are there.

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