5 Silver Linings of Spring Surfing

Spring may be my least favorite season for surfing, but there are a lot of redeeming qualities. Photo: Skyler Fitzmaurice.

Spring is probably my least favorite season to surf in Northern California. The wind is blowing strong and often from the northwest, wave sizes begin to drop, foggy days become the norm, and to top it off, the water can get even colder than in winter due to upwelling. pesky water that contributes to the Fog of the Bay Area. However, the spring surf is not so bad. As the seasons change and my surfing habits change, I’ve reflected on what spring surfing means to me. Turns out there are some pretty awesome aspects to riding the waves in spring that, while they don’t change my opinion that spring is the worst season, are worth enjoying and give me something something to look forward to.

1. The Joy of Wave Chasing

Spring is a time to look for waves in places where I don’t usually surf. Without the awesome constant winter waves at my local Ocean Beach, there’s suddenly more reason to take a little longer to check out the local novelty wave or head down the coast in search of another place to surf. Sure, OB can provide me with plenty of days during the winter where I want to seek out a more sheltered break, but the warmer weather and extra sunlight certainly do a lot to get me out and about in search of new waves.

Spring break in Santa Cruz

Spring surf doesn’t have to mean small waves, just messy ones. Photo: Skyler Fitzmaurice.

2. At least there’s still some swell

When it comes to wave size, while spring might not be winter, at least it’s not summer. Spring may not have the massive peaks of long-period northwesterly swells that pound the west coast during winter. But the season is no exception. The same northwesterly winds that cause the coasts also whip up a good swell. As long as you are able to find cover from the breeze, you should still be able to find waves, unlike the long flat spells that often plague the later summer months in Northern California.

3. Lower expectations can mean more fun

I’ve thought a bit in the past about expectations and surfing, and the conclusion I’ve come to is that there’s a pretty strong correlation between pre-session expectations and the amount of enjoyment during the session. In general, the higher the expectations, the less fun. Even though the waves are really good. In winter, the waves tend to be better, and therefore expectations rise, and as spring arrives, overall expectations drop considerably. I stop watching the forecast so religiously and just go surfing when the tide is right and there is swell in the water. So instead of being disappointed when the waves aren’t as good as I hoped, if the waves are really okay, I’m more than happy.

Spring surf at Fort Point

The local “novelty” wave. Photo: WS.

4. Surfing in spring often means waking up earlier

Living in San Francisco has spoiled me. All winter, my routine has been to wake up around eight in the morning, check the cameras, cook breakfast, and start writing while keeping an eye on the conditions at Ocean Beach. When you live only a few miles from a beach with a surf cam, especially one as finicky as OB, there’s no reason to head to the beach unless the waves are nice. When the perfect combination of wind, tide and swell hits, I hit. Good, but a bit slow and the waves are a constant distraction throughout the day.

Spring surfing requires a different kind of commitment. With afternoon winds being a near certainty, especially as we get closer to summer, the mornings are often the only time to get a session in the books with cleaner conditions. And while waking up early can be a pain, there’s something special about waking up at the crack of dawn, sneaking into the kitchen to make coffee and toast while my housemates are asleep, and getting out before nightfall. work to put on neoprene and rub the sleep of my eyes with salt water. Then I come home and get to work with no surf distractions and some fun already scheduled for the day. And if the tides are wrong in the morning, there’s now a whole afterwork to plan for that didn’t exist this winter.

Slackline by the beach

Slacklining can be a great way to get your groove on when the waves are flat. Photo: Tim Mossholder//Unsplash.

5. An opportunity to try new things

In winter, I devote a lot of time and effort to surfing. A big part of why I surf is the joy and sense I get from getting better, so when the winter swells come around I want to be in the water. Spring allows me to ease off, slow down and remind myself that I surf for fun too. And if the wind is howling or the waves are flat, I have an extra hour or two to do something I wouldn’t have time for if I was surfing. This spring, I’m going back to slacklining. For the past two weeks, as spring conditions have really set in, I’ve headed to the park instead of the beach after work, finding my stream on a line tied between two trees rather than a piece of moss and resin floating on the water.

To be honest, these are just my personal reasons for (secretly) loving spring surfing, and I’m sure there are a million other reasons. As a writer working remotely, I often have the luxury of getting in the water in the middle of the day and choosing when I want to surf, whereas for a 9-5 office worker (if those still exist in our strange new world) spring means being able to surf at times other than the morning now that daylight saving time has passed. Maybe spring surfing is your favorite time of year? It’s definitely not mine, but there’s still a lot to love about it.

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