Friday, July 6, 2007

Thumping, Beach Shacks and Blues

Tomorrow i will pass Point Conception and therefore enter "So Cal." I depart Nor Cal stoked like never before. The past 2 days were the best surfing days of my life.

I left Santa Cruz on the 5th after a very interesting night in a very quaint hostel. It was a group of cottages, the oldest buildings in town, that were given to the city in a will and turned into lodging for travelers. In my cottage there was a Swede, Brit, Austrians, German, Irish ladies and an Australian. Listening to their take on the USA was priceless. "This place is crazy."

Hosteling International- Santa Cruz

I drove into Monterey and checked out the famous Cannery Row, where many many sardines are canned.



It is mostly a winter surf town, so i scoped the gnarly looking coastline (I heard of people bleeding out the ankles and wrists of their wetsuit after hitting rocks there) and continued south...

Boneyards- Monterey

It costs $9 just to drive on the road near Pebble Beach. No thanks. Most vehicles in Carmel-by the-Sea are 10 times more valuable than Little T (but how would they handle in deep sand or 4,000 miles of surf adventure?) It is a very high class area, so heading to the surf spot i kinda expected soft, elegant waves:::wrong so very wrong. This place was thumping! Over-head, glassy and toobing hard.



Carmel

I paddled out and proceeded to get totally worked over. Bounced off the bottom, held down, effortless somersaults and cartwheels. I did get a few exciting views from inside the toob, but they all resulted in longer looks at the sandy bottom.


Then i came upon the pulse of all chiller vibes: Big Sur.

60 Miles of Highway 1::: dizzingly winding down the coast directly over the top of blues i didn't even know could exist.




I stopped at Andrew Molera State Park to camp for the night. A 1 mile hike from the campsite resulted in an idyllic beach afternoon. Clearing the wooded trail, i entered a perfectly sheltered cove with a sweet righthander peeling off the north end. A rivermouth at the same end, provided the sand for shapely sandbars and an awesome point/beachbreak combo.

Big Sur Rivermouth

I surfed the place basically by myself for 4 hours, expect for the pair of giant great whites patrolling the lineup...or was that just kelp? I guess i'll never know. The ocean is very alive out here with all kinds of kelp and sea grass and also the occasional otter or seal.

The beach was strewn with driftwood. During a beach hike, i found my future home, just kidding............maybe.


A true chiller abode.


Pfeiffer-Big Sur State Park

Woke up this morning and continued the thrilling drive through Big Sur. I stopped at Sand Dollar Beach to find another, yet much larger, beautiful cove. Sets stacked up on the horizon and broke head-high about 500 yards off the beach. Another incredible surf set up! I paddled out and rode a couple of big, long mushy waves. The place was so expansive that it was difficult to line up the big sets thundering through.

Sand Dollar Beach

We call this "corduroy"......there are surfers in the left foreground.

More hair-raising, striking coastal driving brought me to Piedras Blancos, home to a large elephant seal colony. Fascinating seal watching. They are humorously inefficient on land, having to take a breather every few shuffles, but they can dive to 5,000ft.



Back into civilization, i stopped by Cayucos and had the best surf session of my life. Chest high and head high on the sets, A-frames without much wind or crowd. Some closed out, but many provided ample room to flow. Locals where calling it the best day of 2007.

Studios-Cayucos, none of my pictures do the day justice because i was in the water the whole time it was good.

The Jay Hill Dirty Bird performed like a dream. Flying down the line, me and the Bird were tapping into this magical energy and harvesting it for pure joy. In times like these, surfers kinda slip into a zone where nothing else on the planet matters except the next set, wave and section. If the beach where bombed, it wouldn't matter. Just hope the shockwaves don't put a bump on the glassy conditions. Like Colonel Kilgore said, "Charlie don't surf."


Leaving Cayucos i drove through Morro Bay and Pismo Beach. Cool beach towns with some solid surf spots. There was no reasonable lodging, so i continued south.

Morro Rock in Morro Bay- a 600ft. volcanic plug 100ft from shore

I now lay in the back of Little T at a posh RV resort just east of Point Conception. Tomorrow i am going to Jalama Beach, which has been suggested by 3 different Cali surfers that know my story. Good Times.

6 comments:

Tracey said...

I can feel the energy from here - thanks so much for sharing with us... the photography is beautiful... what to call this collection!?!? through the eyes of...

"Of all men, the surfer, almost alone, strives to live in harmony with nature and the world around him. This the sea teaches him, and he asks for no more - because he receives everything." -Paul Witzig

P.S. During my summer weekends in Santa Cruz a few years back... why did I stay at that very SAME hostel!!! not surprised at all. seek positivity and you shall find. ;P

mowrey said...

Great note from Tracey. Loving the pics & riveting surf saga. Was in Morro Bay couple weeks ago, cool little surf burg, indeed. Studio apt in Jamala's not bad but I'd opt for the driftwood condo in Sur. Good vibrations, hallowed lit history (Miller, Kerouac, Thompson, et al)

mowrey said...

oops, I mean Jalama---must've been channeling old skool Lakers fwd Jamaal Wilkes, who by the way was a prep god up the road in Santa Barbara. Cheers from Ohiyo.

Cali Bound said...

Steve,
You and Tracy have always provided the vital inspiration that allows me to enjoy this whole adventure. Without befriending you guys i might be miserable in a cubicle right now, begging the clock for 5:00. And I probably wouldn't understand "Bitches Brew." Thanks for everything.

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M0|0M said...

was checking pix on google for Jalama and came upon your blog site... ***VERY NIICIE***
Your trip is awesome and well documented... awesome job my friend!