January was a great month to be a surfer in San Diego—lots of consistent medium-size surf with excellent conditions. Unfortunately, I’ve been out of the water with a bad cold and cough for the past 12 days, so I have missed some of the cleaner swells. But there have been lots of reports of great sessions up and down the coast, and more swell is on the way this week.
There were plenty of days at the Sloughs to be had. Jeff “Spiderman” Knox, who is currently on the North Shore with Kimball Dodds, said, “The Sloughs was at its best for over a week in late January. The usual gang rode super lefts and very good rights for days on end. Kelly Kraus was the standout on his Sloughs SUP. We watched him from First Notch score left after double-overhead left in the middle of the reef we traditional surfers could never have tracked down.”
In addition to catching great waves on his own SUP, Kelly of Coronado's Emerald City-The Board Source experimented with an “ugly beast of a windsurf board that was chipped, dinged and dented but basically seaworthy" that he found on the beach.
He said, "It had been sloppily spray painted black and for a fin someone had jammed a 1-foot by 1-foot square piece of 1-inch thick plywood diagonally into the just-back-of-center keel slot. I decided to try it out and paddled it prone out through the inside whitewater and then went stand up without too much difficulty. After a few minutes I lined up and caught a smaller wave no one really wanted, maybe waist high. I would love to be able to say I cruised it all the way to the beach, but, I as I dropped in, I got a bit too ambitious and tried a sort of bottom turn. The thing just rolled on me. I lost it. Obviously there was no leash, and besides, at maybe 30 pounds, the thing would have torn off a leg.”
“I have been surfing around Sunset Cliffs during the last swell. It was solid 4-6' and clean,” said Sean Malbanan. “I also scored P.B. Point, 4-8', perfect rights. Surfed with Josh Hall, Masi of Masi Surfboards and my Dad, Paul Malabanan. I have been riding a 5'10" Lost Rocket, a 6'2" Channel Island Flyer and my 9'0" Stewart.”
Zach Plopper has been back and forth between North County, Imperial Beach and Baja. “I had an epic afternoon at San Miguel with only seven other surfers in the water and a fun morning at Baja Malibu with my WiLDCOAST co-worker Ben McCue,” Zach said. "And of course there were plenty of mornings at Boc’s scattered in between.”
On Saturday I gave a talk to the Doheny Longboard Surfing Association on the beach at Doheny State Park. Afterward, I picked up the groms who were participating in the annual Coronado Middle and High School Surf teams Church’s/Trestles Camping Trip. I pulled up to the San Onofre parking lot to see beautiful waves lined up from Church’s to Lowers. What a sight.
“We've been going on this surf team trip for 10 years. Every year seems better than the last,” said Lorton Mitchell. “That stretch of beach is a real gift and the kids seem to really appreciate the treasure. Lots of the surf community shares the resource, but it is generally a pretty fair attitude in the water. We watched Five Summer Stories near the campfire. I don't know if it was the movie or the three sessions that day that put the kids to sleep by 8:30.”
“The weather was insane all day Saturday. Lowers in the morning and Uppers till dark,” reported Sharon “Peachy” Alldredge.
Thanks to the more than 100 of you who showed up for my book launch at the Tijuana Estuary! It was great to see Coronado surfing legends such as Jim Voit and Russ and John Elwell there.
See you in the water.
Serge Dedina is the Executive Director of WiLDCOAST and the author of "Wild Sea: Eco-Wars and Surf Stories from the Coast of the Californias."