The Coast News Group
The deck can be reshuffled after a storm. Looking for good waves where there previously were none can be rewarding. Photo by Chris Ahrens

New spots near home

Admitting this is like telling my Democrat friends that I once (okay twice) voted Republican. Anyway, here goes: I love rainy days.

I know last week’s rain brought misery to many, mostly in the form of erosion. We ourselves sprung a rather expensive leak that sent me onto the roof in the rain, countless times. I am truly sorry that many outdoor activities have been canceled and everything you own is muddy and mildewed. I feel bad for all of that.

And I honestly promise to help anyone who needs help cutting fallen trees or digging out of a mudslide. Contact the Coast News if you need me, and you will find that I’m there for you. That said, I still love rain.

Maybe that’s because I was raised in Southern California, a desert turned artificial oasis where drizzle brings headlines like, “Savage Storm Sweeps Southland,” or “North County Residents Vow to Rebuild.”

Maybe it’s because the Catholic School I attended had “rainy day sessions,” a policy that allowed us to leave school at 1 o’clock rather than 3 whenever the streets were damp. While that didn’t do much for my education, it sure increased my prayer time.

The reasons above, along with the rain washing the smog from the air, the greenery of the hills and the snow in the mountains that I could again see from my front door, all contributed to my love of rain.

Surfing in the rain was another thing. While it kept the majority away from the beach, my friends and I reasoned that we’re already wet, so what’s the big deal.

And the rain could also serve as a great reset button for surfing. Rain sends tons of sand from cliffs and lagoons and deposits it either on the beach or onto a sandbar near shore. This is where being a surfer who has put in their time pays off.

Someone who has surfed for more than a few years will know where to look for those metaphorical, unattended Easter eggs that appear for a short time before they are washed away by the next swell. Such sandbars can create peaks that will not appear on an electronic surf forecast. And the reward of finding them belongs exclusively to those who have the patience to seek.

While I vowed decades ago to never reveal secret surf spots, I will give you a hint. Once the rain has cleared for a few days, look for waves to form down current of any sand source: river mouths, drainpipes and cliffs not stabilized by cement are all worth a glance.

If you don’t find a wave there the first time you look, check again on a different tide, or when the swell has increased or decreased in size or direction.

Since these new sandbars tend to form near sources of pollution. (Sadly, a few uneducated people still wash down their driveways, and chemical fertilizers, pet crap and motor oil find their way into our playgrounds.)  Because of that, it’s a good idea to wait a few days for things to clear up before paddling out.

In the meantime, take a walk on what’s left of the beach and see what you can find.


As you, no doubt, realize by now, the Cardiff Reef parking lot has been pretty much demolished by high tides and big surf. Not to point fingers, but this seems like something the state, in its wisdom, would have anticipated.


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