Winter North of Santa Cruz

Winter North of Santa Cruz

Monday, February 24, 2014

Oregon Move and the City of the Crescent Moon

Hello friends,
Sorry I've been MIA for a while. I actually moved to Southern Oregon last May for job-relocation. It's been a pretty interesting time, but one of the low points has been less surfing overall.

The closest part of the coast to the Rogue Valley where I live is Crescent City which is about two hours away (in Del Norte County). Seems like a pretty cool little coastal town next to the massive Redwood Forest, lacking in much industry, and a gloomy, depressed climate. There a couple surf breaks around town, mainly a semi-sheltered beach-break on the south end known fittingly as South Beach. I have surfed there a handful of times this season and it can get some decent rights and lefts when the stars align.

On Saturday I surfed a little semi-reef semi-beach break on the north end of town. For the locals sake I won't specify the exact location, but it is a general area known as Pebble Beach. The swell forecast was I got there late morning right at low-tide and some small leftovers of a WNW in the water. My expectations were pretty low when I checked it from the bluffs above the beach, but having been out of the water for the past five weeks I decided I needed to get a few.

I joined four other surfers on a beautiful 60 degree day in late February in the last real surf town before the Oregon border. Some really chill older dudes on bigger fun-boards and long-boards mostly. Good vibes in the lineup and a few shoulder high waves for us to share.

The wind picked up about noon and the swell really slowed down with the medium tide and fading swell. So I was out for almost two hours and got a couple rights and lefts.

Looks like conditions will deteriorate again this week with storms passing through. Hopefully I can find some more waves in early March.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Swift is basically my 'local break' now

Happy March everyone, sorry I haven't posted in awhile - my laptop was broken and I was kind of bummed out with a string of unsuccessful surf sessions.

However I am back, computer is fixed and I am feeling better about my surfing so I wanted to post about my session yesterday.

With a peaking NW swell on Sunday morning, I checked the Lane first. It looked kind of mushy with a river of rip current next to the cliff (as is often the case on bigger days) plus I didn't feel like dealing with the crowd  so I went to Swift St.

As you can tell from my earlier posts, I have been surfing Swift on most swells this season. As with most of the West-Side spots, it needs a fairly clean overhead swell with a low-to-medium tide to break. I like how it is in a pretty tranquil neighborhood with plentiful parking too, and most of the locals I have talked to there are pretty friendly and chill.

I came with pretty low expectations Sunday, since we haven't had many big consistent swells this season and I haven't been surfing as well as I hoped lately. It was slow and inconsistent, but there were a few overhead sets to pick off and a mellow crowd mostly of older guys and body-boarders. Overall a pleasant experience and I enjoyed a couple decent waves on the inside.

Glad I was able to take advantage of one more weekend swell as this season is almost over.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Post-Storm Cleanup Session @ Swift

Great Sunday for me last weekend, since I got some of my favorite life essentials:

Coffee + NFL + Surf + Beer = Warren stoked!

The forecast didn’t look too promising since there was a smaller storm moving out in the morning with a little bit of rain, but I saw that in the afternoon there was a new WNW swell building in and conditions cleaning up. So after watching the first half of the Colts-Ravens Wild Card game and drinking three cups of coffee to psych myself up, I went straight to Swift St. It looked a little jumbled but I saw an overhead set coming through hitting the outer reef with two guys out, so that was enough to get me into the water.

I feel like Surfline didn’t over-hype this swell, which was probably reasonable on their part since it was modest-sized and pretty raw with the recently passing low-pressure system right before it. Even so, it was still solid 10 foot at 16 seconds when the swell peaked Sunday night and through the afternoon the winds stayed light out the north.

Putting these ingredients together, Swift ended up being pretty good to me. Fairly consistent 7-9 foot with some 10 foot bombs on the outside. There was some texture to the surface but the conditions were clean-ish for the most part. I got in a bit of a zone where I caught three bigger waves over the course of 15 minutes in the middle of the session, so that was awesome. After not surfing as much as I would have hoped the first few days of January as California got the best of multiple swells and favorable conditions as is often the case at the start of the New Year.

Feeling great afterward, I took the long drive back on Highway 1. I had a nice late lunch and beer in Davenport, and saw a beautiful sunset over the ocean too. Thank you Lord for another amazing day of surf adventures.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Shifty and Crowded Lane on Wed

Wednesday was the first day in a few weeks Santa Cruz has had solid swell with glassy conditions, so me and an old friend went straight to The Lane.

The sets were consistently several feet overhead and the wind favorable, but the two big hindrances to us scoring lots of waves yesterday were the shiftiness and the crowds.

We got a few decent waves at The Point and The Slot for starters, then swung over toward Indicators. Unfortunately the Middle Peak reforms were not lining up very well, and the rip current coupled with dozens of other surfers made it tough to be in the right place to takeoff.

But what can you do? Seems like the bottom line with surfing these days across the globe is that there are too many people in the water. Like the Santa Cruz heathens' favorite bumper sticker articulates: 'Surfing sucks. Don't try it'.

The Lane may be the most consistent high-quality wave in town, but because of that it draws out huge crowds. Next time on a day like yesterday we will probably just go somewhere else and take a marginally worse wave with less surfers competing for it.

Stay stoked.
- Warren

Monday, December 17, 2012

Mellow Marine Labs

Surfed yesterday morning at Salinas River-mouth / Marine Labs (southern end of Moss Landing). Decent WNW swell building in with a medium-incoming tide and SE offshore storm winds.

Not a pumping day but still fun. The strong offshores groomed some nice peaks but also made the takeoffs fairly difficult. Hardly any other surfers out and plenty of room for everyone to have their own peak.

I am kind of over trying to surf most beach-break in general because the sandbars can be fickle and the waves pathetically closed out (this is how I feel about Manresa). But the Moss Landing area is more consistent as long as the wind has some E in it, which it did yesterday.

November-December this year has been ok in terms of swells but I am kind of over the stormy weather. Hopefully we will get some classic clear & cool & offshore days this winter!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Thanksgiving Weekend Delivers Yet Again

It's no secret if you live in California: Thanksgiving is usually a reliable time to solid swell and good conditions. This year was no exception.

North-Central California was hit with a large WNW swell on Wed/Thurs the 21st/22nd so I jammed down to Santa Cruz on Thanksgiving with a surfer friend from church. After checking a bunch of spots, we ended up paddling out at Swift on the West-Side for a fun mid-day session.

Swell was pretty consistent with the better sets running several feet overhead and nice glassy conditions as well. The WNW lines were focusing more on the inside due to the mix of different angles and periods in the swell and with the backwash off the cliffs. Vibe in the lineup was pretty mellow - only a few folks out and everyone had at least a few good waves. One bro appeared to be a Australian from his accent and he said to me 'nothing better than surfing for Thanksgiving' and I wholeheartedly agreed.

This was my first year actually surfing on Thanksgiving day so that was a treat. Hard to beat the combo of a good surf session and my favorite holiday meal every year. Thank you God for being good and providing both waves and food on this day.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Golden Hour on the West Side

Santa Cruz Golden Hour: Swift St. before sunset on Saturday September 29th

Praise be to God for a good start to this fall. I spent this weekend in Davenport and surfed a couple of my favorite spots near Santa Cruz. Perhaps the best session was my Saturday evening one at Swift on the West-Side. With a building NW swell and low incoming tide Swift was super fun and not too crowded either. 

It was just a beautiful moment - good surf, nice weather, and cool vibes. I got a few overhead set waves that connected through towards Upper Mitchell's Cove and was having a blast. There are very few better places to be in the fall and winter than Santa Cruz if you are a surfer.