Golden State Blues
It's no secret that winter on the West Coast was a bad one for surf. But this spring California has had a good run of both south and northwest swell, lighting up spots from San Francisco to San Diego. For guys like Kyle Buthman (pictured) it's been well received and much appreciated. The following are a few highlights from up and down the Golden State.
ASP World Tour surfer Nat Young honed his craft along the rocky Santa Cruz coast, but these days his career keeps him on the road for weeks at a time. And while traveling to exotic surf destinations around the world sounds fun, he relishes the time he gets to spend at home.
Sometimes the best thing to do is to just stand there and let the wave do the work. Rincon aficionado Gilda Hariri is well versed in this minimalist style and capable of applying it to great effect.
Morning winds from the east turn Trestles in San Clemente into a flawless canvas for a lucky few. Broken up by a series of cobblestone points, the Trestles zone benefited greatly from the long period ground swells.
When Santa Cruz resident Ryan Augenstein isn't up the road charging Maverick's chances are he can be found (or preferably not found) pulling into obscure barrels somewhere between town and Half Moon Bay. It's sharky, cold and uncrowded, which is how he likes it.
Some spots are better left unnamed, and in the case of Central California that's most of them. A lucky few enjoy splendor in the glass at an undisclosed location south of the Tortilla Flats.
Evening light, evening glass. Darshan Gooch wrapping away right at home in Santa Cruz.
Inside looking out, if there's one thing Salt Creek is good for it's glassy tube shots.
Have backdrop will boost. Tyler Smith uses his environs to his advantage along West Cliff Dr. in Santa Cruz.
Sprinting across farmland, hoping fences, ducking down arroyos, it's all part of the surfing experience north of Santa Cruz. And guys like Dane Anderson wouldn't have it any other way.
More than capable of holding her own in the competitive San Clemente lineups, Malia Ward, daughter of former world tour surfer Chris Ward, has developed into a great young surfer. And she has her dad's classic, go-for-broke approach whether it's pulling into barrels or dropping big laybacks.
Justin Adams rock dancing with his single-fin in the cove at Rincon. "He's like an Andy Davis drawing come to life," says photographer Shawn Parkin. "He has crazy surfing style, unlike anything I've ever seen. Pretty awesome."
Mad skies and crazy lip lines, under just the right conditions the surf in Santa Cruz can paint quite a masterpiece.
Curling 10 toes over on the San Diego County line, Tommy Witt proves that the surf doesn't need to be big to be fun. This spring saw a steady stream of consistently surfable days, which was a welcome change of pace from a bad winter in Southern California.
Putting an accent on the close-out section at Steam Lane, local boy Noi Kaulukukui is one of Santa Cruz's resident surfing fixtures. Capable of making any board look good, he's got every break on the east and west side dialed.
One of the most graceful people to ever cross-step a longboard, Kassia Meador finds her footing on a quaint little three-foot day at the Queen of the Coast.
Low tide, closed out beachbreak junk surf can actually be fun, just ask Nate Yeomans. Finding a place to launch near his home in Orange County, the former world tour surfer stays sharp in any conditions.
Young, sending it before he has to pack his bags and head out on the road again.
Full Moon Fever
There's no sleeping in when the rumor of swell rumbles. Steam Lane is perfectly positioned to benefit from both south and northwest pulses, and if that means hitting the beach before the moon's set, so be it.