As i crossed into San Diego County, i knew i was home.
I woke up yesterday morning and headed to San Onofre Surfing Beach on the border of San Diego and Orange Counties. Important to surf history as a place where surfers from all over the coast would camp and chill as early as the 1930's. A very soulful beach. Grass shacks and VW buses still abound. The Plastic Fantastic was the perfect board for the waist high, soft rollers.
San O tandem surf
San Onofre circa 1968.
San O today.
After San O, i planned on departing the OC and heading for San Diego....but then i remembered that the Surfing Heritage Foundation was headquartered in San Clemente. After receiving council from a great old-head, i located the most important bastion of surfing's soul and history that exists on the planet. I entered the brand new facility and almost dropped to my knees in reverence. Before me stood over 100 of the finest wave riding vehicles to ever exist. From 1800s Hawaiian wood planks to Tom Blake's hollow boards of the 1920s to the first shortboards and a Laird tow-board. The best public surfboard collection on earth. Also, i was the only patron around, so i received a guided tour from Tom Pezman, the Foundation's Director. So freaking amazing!!! He also showed me around the office, including the library that is making an attempt to catalog everything ever written about surfing. Next he showed me the earliest footage of people surfing:::Waikiki 1908. Great experience and i look forward to becoming an active volunteer for this wonderful foundation.
Surfing Heritage Foundation- This row contains boards from the 1800s to the 1940s.
Finally, after experiencing the best that the OC has to offer I headed into San Diego County. Crossing Camp Pendleton, i felt my soul stir. I was home...(for now). I stopped in Oceanside to catch a quick session at the Oceanside Pier. I had fun with minimal swell and a gusty wind. Still found some shoulders to stretch out on.
I decided that i wanted to surf my favorite spot before dark, so i hustled down into Encinitas to check out Swami's, a right hand point break with Swami Paramahansa Yogananda's Self-Realization Fellowship looking down from the point. Botanical gardens line the cliffs and people young and old hang out and talk story in the parking lot. I had the surf basically to myself, and if you ever catch Swami's uncrowded its either pretty flat or the world is ending. So the waves weren't great, but the water felt great. I'd rather float in calm water at Swami's than almost anything else.
Self-Realization Fellowship....Surfer Crossing
As the sun exited my vantage, i headed a little ways inland to stay with close buddies, Brad Lafferty and Chris Walsh. The suspected nonsense ensued with discussions of donkeys eating waffles and Skippy McGee hooyah-a-flewyah round trippers. I love these guys.
I woke up this morning and went to Pacific Beach to meet up with another good friend, Tom Delerba. We drove to the Ocean Beach Pier and surfed hard for about 2 hours. Chunky waist to chest waves provided plenty of good times. We then ate world famous Hodad's Hamburgers and checked out the mega chiller vibes of OB. Ocean Beach Surf Shop is a classic with boards being shaped within sight of the customers and a half-pipe out back.
Tom then gave me a quick tour of Mission Beach and Pacific Beach: very young beach communities with thriving bars scenes and apparently busy tattoo parlors. Eventually, after playing with Tom and his sweet girlfriend, Pattie's dog, Marley and letting the tide drop a bit, we paddled out just north of the Pacific Beach Pier. It was waist to chest, clean and crowded. The Dirty Bird skillfully picked off a few waves to herself and had a blast till the sunset.
Welcome to San Diego