Author Archive for chris.ahrens

Small surf not necessarily something to look down on

I still remember wetting my pants (not literally) to see “The Endless Summer” at the Santa Monica Civic in the mid-1960s. Like every other surfer and even nonsurfers as far away as Omaha, Neb., where the film sold out in the middle of winter in 1966, I loved that film. It did something more than […]

Free for all in the lineup

Do the math. There are a limited number of really good waves that break in North County throughout the year. Most of those waves break at the premier surf spots: Cardiff Reef and Swami’s and the total probably doesn’t exceed a few thousand. Now, consider that there are many times more wave riders than there […]

First winter swell

I clearly recall the day we went to Doheny for the biggest paddle out I had ever seen. Famed California surf pioneer and board building legend Dale Velzy had died and the surfing community was there to pay tribute. After the ceremony my friend Carl and I pulled into a restaurant when the waitress scampered […]

My political policy: Vote like a surfer

Coming off the Manchester Avenue exit I have seen numerous ironic political signs, illegally posted. My two favorites are for judge and sheriff, people we expect will enforce the laws, but continue to break them by spreading their cardboard litter over all over this beautiful city. This year is the worst to date, and it […]

Getting in shape for winter surfing

Not many surfers in Southern California will be sorry to see this summer end. With the coldest water and the smallest, windiest, most crowded surf on record, it was hard to find much to celebrate this season. Of course there were those 2- to 3-foot glassy days with a few friends out, but those were […]

Preparing for the winter surf, part two

I had exited my teens just in time to find Honolua Bay on Maui quaking beneath the swell of the century. The 17-inch wide, 7’10” pintail I had crudely shaped and glassed in my garage proved adequate to the biggest California surf of the previous season, but standing in the shadows of what some would […]

The return of Moose and his quality boards

The other evening I was in Cardiff’s Beach City Burrito, with one eye on the latest Lost video when a near miracle caught my eye — this kid (Kolohe Andino?) did a 360 on takeoff, let the guy behind him catch up and pass him, backed into the tube and spent the next five seconds […]

First day of summer is more a state of mind

Everybody was talking about the weather and not doing anything about it, except the installation artists who continued to throw left-handed jabs at “Magic Carpet Ride,” raising the cool summer temp by a few degrees, reminding us that there is still mirth in a few wild hearts. I had given up hope of ever seeing […]

Surfing the swells of memories

Nostalgia can be dangerous at a certain age. But rest assured it hits everyone sooner or later and surfers are not immune. When I was a gremmie in the ’60s, my father and his friends would tell of 20-foot waves in Hermosa Beach and the then-empty waves at Malibu. The men riding Old Man’s at […]

Why I hate summer in North County

Every year around this time, the Midwest moves here, and I think of moving there. Our town looks too crowded, too paved, too sterile, too anonymous. I realize that my moving would delight some of you, and I want to offer an apology for being so darned negative, so often. Then again, isn’t negativity (one […]