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Saturday, January 4, 2014

Surfing Central California | Advantages and Disadvantages

Nothing makes me feel more at home than 55 degree water and 20 knot winds howling onshore . There is something beautiful about not feeling your feet after a short half hour of surfing, and wanting to throw up from the brain freeze induced coma of duck diving without a hood. On the Central Coast of California, we surf through these days with a smile, knowing that just around the corner there is off shore winds and sun ready to shine bright.

This coastline is full of surprises, and you never know what kind of conditions you might encounter. This is truly what makes it so great. It is always changing, sometimes for better, sometimes for worse. I decided to break the central coast into its advantages and disadvantages, just in case you're thinking about planning a surf trip here.

Advantages to Surfing in Central California
  • Minimal crowds. It is very easy to find a peak with no one out, and have a great solo session.
  • Wide range of waves from beach breaks, slabs, reef breaks, even wedges off of jetties.
  • If there is swell and light wind, there will be somewhere worth surfing. Just make sure you have a little gas money.
  • If the surf is flat you can always check out the amazing local skate parks. I highly suggest Los Osos for more bowl/pool carving, Cayucos park for the smoothest mini ramp you will ever ride, and Cambria park for a nice mini half pipe with fun concrete transitions.
  • It is an amazing sight to be in the water looking back to see rolling hills and open space. It's a great break (!) from the constant grind of bigger cities to the south.

Disadvantages to Surfing in Central California
  • Minimal crowds. It sounds crazy right? Well, when you are crawling over sea weed 100 yards out waiting for a set by yourself, it can get a little intense. Sometimes its nice to have a little company besides large ocean creatures!
  • The wind is always looming in the distance. On a typical day the onshore winds usually pick up around 10:00am. So your best bet is to get up at the crack of dawn with your wet suit half on and head to the beach for some waves before it becomes blown out.
  • 53 degree water in the winter time. If you do not have a hood on a cold morning, it is very hard to get motivated to put on a damp wetsuit.
  • You can spend a good chunk of money and time checking spots. Go out where ever looks good first. The more you drive around the more money you spend, and the less time you have to surf before the wind starts blowing.
  • Constantly changing. Although it makes everyday new, it's nice to know when a good day is on its way.

Above all the Central Coast is a great place to relax and look for surf. So grab your boards off your surf rack, and have some fun with the greatest sport on the planet.