After a so called El Niño winter we were motivated to keep a close eye on Surfline’s extended forecast headed into spring. In late April I noticed a Solid WNW Swell was headed for the Lost Coast of Northern California. Forecasted at 2-3 times overhead with perfect weather and ideal conditions we agreed that it would be worth the venture north.
The Lost Coast hosts a series of point breaks that are perfectly positioned to hold large swells out of any direction. Many of them require a boat or jet ski to access but can be hiked to if the tide is right and you are well prepared and have packed plenty of PB&J’s. We were fortunate enough to make some friends with some of the Locals and catch a ride on a cozy boat with all the amenities also allowing us to bring multiple boards and a few cold ones for the trip home.
The Man in the Grey Suit
Even though the conditions and waves can be good, surfing the Lost Coast is no cake walk. The water is rarely higher than 60 degrees with little visibility and the spooky feeling of a potential unwelcome visit from the old man in the grey suit… AKA Great Whites.
The Shark Research Committee has reported 5 attacks in Humboldt since the year 2000. Though none of the reported attacks were fatal the images of the bitten boards and wounds have found their way all over the internet helping keep the crowds to a well sustained minimum. One of the victims is a Teacher at Humboldt state and was back teaching on crutches a week after providing a chunk of his leg as an appetizer to a whitey near Eureka.
After surviving a couple of large sessions on the Lost Coast in April we looked again to the Surfline extended forecast for some warm water south swell to chase headed into May. Sure enough there was a purple blob gone platinum in the southern hemisphere sending large swell towards the west coast and of course Baja California! So we packed up the big sticks left the thick wet suites behind and started the Trek south.
1,761 mile Journey
The entire Baja peninsula hosts a series of point breaks but there are a few that stand out for big South swells. Though the weather, water temperatures and clarity are a different world from the Lost Coast, Baja still presents its own challenges. Many of the surf spots require over 100 miles of pot hole ridden wash board dirt roads with many unmarked turn options. Then if you are lucky enough to arrive and the wind is off shore the surf could be great but when on land you are constantly getting sand blasted by the so called “Moon Dust”of airborne dirt floating in the air and making its way into every nook cranny and crevice of your boards, gear and vehicle. There are also very little amenities at most of the remote breaks so it is best to bring food and be prepared for a flat tire and to camp out overnight.
After a couple of days chasing swell across the Moon Dust we decide to treat ourselves and point it down the San Jose Del Cabo to warm water and luxury accommodations. Though the warm water and desert breeze was nice as we enjoyed the last couple of days of swell, we couldn’t help but remember the contrast of the cold but silent solitude we were able to experience up north. As they say “Variety is the spice of life”. Where to Next?