Following a rip-roaring Tofino summer, some of the PSCo. Team decided that it was high-time to take a little R&R and dip the feet in warmer waters. We packed our boards and headed south for the land of milk and honey: California. We were going to be the visitors for a change.
We landed in San Diego. It’s Hot. Milk was a bad choice.
It’s the first morning and the team is up early. We pull up to a nearby beach break and are greeted with the sight of incoming peaks in the 2 - 3 ft range. Light offshore winds groomed the waves into smooth, playful walls. I’m frothing so hard I simply stare at my coffee and it foams up into a nice latte. It’s an easy sell. 3/2mm wetsuits slip on effortlessly and the warm air almost coaxes one into the water.
I was amazed at how consistent this spot was. Set after set of waves rolled through non-stop. There were a fair few other surfers out but the vibes were good and everyone was getting plenty of waves.
With the first session behind us, a feeling of contentedness began to take hold of the group. We were becoming aggressively chilled-out.
The swell increased significantly the next day and the spot we’d been been surfing was closing-out. We opted to check another break that would potentially handle the swell better.
We arrived at the access and found ourselves atop a steep cliff overlooking the ocean hundreds of feet below. Swell lines stacked all the way to the horizon. We were giddy as we wound our way down the path.
We were spat out onto the beach below. Looking back up, the cliff wall looked like a vertical rainforest. A stream gurgled through a gully nearby.
Though beautiful, the wave was ferocious and unforgiving. We took a fair share wipeouts and trips along the seafloor. Jay got swallowed by a particularly nasty wave that sent him to shore with a hurt shoulder.
We continued with a full belly and a little bit of surfboard envy. Our next and final stop in this Californian dream would be San Clemente, the land of ripping grommets and cobblestone point breaks. To our luck another swell was lining up for our arrival.
By this point we had really settled into our routine. We gorged ourselves on good waves and even better tacos, but we were missing something: Amidst the crowded southern California coastline and it’s abundant, high-quality surf breaks, we had yet to find a bit of solitude, peace and quiet.
On our final full day, following our usual post-surf taco induced stupor, we gandered through town, popping in and out of surf shops. Whilst browsing at Terry Senate Surfboards, Jay got talking to an employee who was once a Canadian, lured here by the quality surf and the general ease of existence. Perhaps he looked kindly upon this motley crew of Canadian surfers and gave us a tip that would lead to the most epic of surf sessions.
“Man, if you want to score good waves with no one around, you should go here…” He pointed on a map to an area just outside of town.
We set out for this mystical location with no idea what to expect. We passed the usual turn-offs for some of the well known San Clemente breaks and began driving along a road through desert scrub and not much else. It was not long before we encountered a sight we were familiar with in Tofino: a near empty parking lot. Compared to the other breaks we’d surfed, this sight was almost disconcerting. Why was there nobody here?
When we reached the beach access and the break came into view, it quickly became clear that our tip had been solid. A long stretch of sandy beach and clean, head-high peaks rolling in as far as they eye could see in both directions. There were maybe three our four other surfers in sight. Let’s go!
It was a trip that neared perfection, a few scrapes and bruises aside. We scored fun waves every day, we enjoyed great food, and, most importantly, we had wonderful company to share it with. You could catch the best wave of your life all alone, but any wave that you catch when your friends are there in the water hooting and hollering for you feels like the best wave of your life. So I’ll take that a million times over.
Catch us back at the shop now! Even though Cali was a sweet treat, we're lucky to call this place home.
Photography by Cristina Gareau