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Posts Tagged ‘Oxnard’

SandSpit

Epic Sand Spit circa ’09. Pretty sure I was in the pit for the first half of this wave, then hit this section and pulled back into it. Photo: David Molleck

 

I found myself sitting on the break wall  at Sand Spit tonight watching one intrepid soul doing his best to make to the most of the meager wind swell on offer.  Though it was small it also looked a bit on the fun side.  Did I turn around and run back to my apartment to get my board for a paddle?  Not even.  I had a mediocre surf a Emma Wood in the morning that more then filled my surf quota for the day (Check out the April Surflog for more on that surf).  Then I remembered back eight years ago when I first came out here and didn’t even have a car.

I surfed some of the most deplorable Sand Spit one can imagine.  I would have been super stoked on a session that I was at the moment bearing witness to.  Eight years is a long time.  Throw in another three years or so of constant travel to some of the world’s best waves prior and one’s perspectives can really change.  Up until the past two years ago or so I never would have believed that I could even be considered a jaded southern Californian surfer.  I thought my east coast surf ethic would stay strong.  In a way it has still.  I with out a doubt paddle in far more conditions then my born and bread Californian friends.

Rincon22414

Near Epic Rincon Photo: Chris Lisanti

At the same time I have in the last eight years surfed nearly every single wave in the Ventura/Santa Barbara area epic at least once.  Spots like Rincon I have had so many days that would make any normal surfer grin from ear to ear and experience the wave of his life on that I have lost count.  These days such has almost worked to my own personal detriment.  It’s hard for me to get into average Rincon, or small Sand Spit, sub par El Capitan.  I have seen these waves at their best.  I have caught some of the best waves of my life courtesy of them.

There was a time when I first arrived here in Santa Barbara that I was constantly finding the “wave of my life”.  Today my causal expression when asked to describe the conditions is most likely “Best of the worst” or “better then not surfing I suppose”.  I still have plenty of stoke and love surfing more then anything else in life.  At the moment I am having a real difficulty finding that fire in my eyes that I used to have.  I want to recapture that.  I want to go out there and be stoked on two foot Sand Spit and an eight turn ride at Rincon.

Hollywood

Hollywood By the Sea absolutely going ballistic. Photo: Christopher Dunlea

What do we do when the magic appears to be running out?  I have been surfing 24 years, been a professional, challenged and pushed my limits.  Where do I go from here?  One thing that is for sure surfing is still the love of my life.  Every facet in my day to day is catered around finding the best surf I possibly can.  If I miss a day I still feel as bad about it as I did when I was eleven.  I guess I just need to reconnect with that inner grom that at the moment is ashamed of who he grew up to be.

I remember when I was fourteen I rode my bike 3 miles in February to the beach.  The air was maybe 2oF and the water I was furiously peddling to get to a balmy 38F.  I would get to the beach already frozen, pull on usually wet and cold 5/4/3 and paddle sometimes windblown knee to thigh high closed out dribble and it meant everything to me.  Lately I have felt lost and I think the main reason is because I lost my stoke, my soul.  I guess the new plan is to rediscover this, find my stoke, my soul and let my inner grom out and forget about this being an adult stuff.  I think I have let the real world cloud my priorities for way too long.

I am going to  get back on my bicycle, ride down to the beach and surf and forget about everything else cause in the end all that bullshit society has made me believe was important to me and suppose to make me happy hasn’t.  When I was sleeping on the couch at my current apparent back in 2007 with nothing but four surf boards and a back pack full of clothes just shredding anything and everything I could were some of my happiest times here.  These days I have nice things.  Friends are envious when they walk into my apartment.  All the while I am miserable.  Get ready, for a change is soon to take place.

Hollywood21115

The dream is still very real. It’s out there for the taking…Photo: Chris Lisanti

 

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Could this have really happened?  That was my first thought as I compiled June’s surf numbers. I put an unprecedented amount of time in for a month that is usually barely ride-able at best.  The north pacific decided to keep the ball running through the bulk of June.  At the same time the south pacific graced us with just enough magic to remind everyone here in central California that south swells actually do exist north of Point Mugu.

Besides mother nature who is not even close to making up for the skunking we faced here in the 805 this past winter, there are a few other factors I need to acknowledge that allowed me to maximize the most out of my surfing in June.  First I must thank America for their great unemployment system, sure I only get around $230 take home a week, but I don’t have to work either.  Although it is a pain in the ass to fill out the five question form, put it in an envelope adhere a stamp and take it to the post office.  First off I am unemployed, so why is it that the government thinks I can afford a packet of stamps?  That shit ought to be postage paid.  Then do you know how hard it is to find a mailbox these days?  The post office near my house closed down.  How the fuck a U.S. Postal Office closes is beyond me.  Damn broke ass government.

I think they do it on purpose to make things more difficult for free loaders like myself to get those unemployment forms in.  I have to give a shout out to my girlfriend Heather for keeping me out of the Wild Cat more times then not.  I had no idea how much more time I could spend surfing and how much better I can surf when not hung over till 5 pm everyday.   My overly stoked surfing buddy Trevor whom with out his blind love for absolutely terrible waves and grom like surf stoke kept me in the water more then a few days I would have not even bothered.  Besides all of that it was a super fun  month of average to good California in surprisingly warm water.  Here are the numbers and as usual feel free to enjoy daily surf updates in the surflog.

Surf Sessions: 34
Days Surfed: 24

Total Water Time: 62 hrs
Total Waves Surfed: 932
Average Waves Surfed per Hour: 15

Spots Surfed:
Emma Wood: 9
New Jetty: 6
Santa Clara River Mouth: 6
Mesa Lane: 4
Lower Trestles, San Clemente: 2
El Capitan: 1
Rincon: 1
Hammonds: 1
Leo Carrillo, Malibu: 1
Oxnard Shores: 1
Pitas: 1
Solimar: 1

Top 3 Surf Sessions taken directly from the June ’13 Surflog:

3)6-27-13 AM Session: 4-6+ft, Santa Clara River Mouth
Time in Water: 2 hrs, 45 mins

Waves Surfed: 33
I knew it was going to be solid today.  Everything just depended on the wind.  I got to the Harbor and there was some WSW wind on it and things were really foggy.  New Jetty had a wave but it looked average at best and bit on the crowded side for what was coming in.  I took a walk down to River Mouth and sure enough there were clean enough peaks coming in.  It was hallow as hell.  I saw a wave spit while I was checking it.  I paddled and it was way heavier then I had expected.  Full on double up bowls and some creepy rouge close outs from the west.  I managed a handful of crazy barrels the first half of the session. As the tide came up it became a rip fest out there.  It was solid and super fun to surf in waves of consequence again.  I came in due to exhaustion from fighting the current.  I decided to kick it in the lot for a chance at another session in the afternoon.

2) 6-29-13 PM Session: 3-5+ft, Santa Clara River Mouth
Time in Water: 2 hrs 15 mins

Waves Surfed: 36
I got a late start today courtesy of a full black out at the Wild Cat.  I don’t even remember walking in.  I was hung over as  fuck all day.  The surf was firing so finally I manned up at the end of the day grabbed Heather and headed to surf.  Luckily the wind decided to stay down and the surf was firing.  Ryan met up with us and we trotted down to the reeds where it was going off.  Barrels, kill-able sections everything you would want out of a surf.  There was almost no crowd.  The sunset was amazing and water was warm. I must say it was another great day of surfing.

1) 6-28-13 AM Session: 3-5+ft, Oxnard shores
Time in Water: 2 hrs

Waves Surfed: 38
I decided to check Rincon first thing this morning and seriously almost vomited at the destruction the new highway expansion program has done to the sanctity of Rincon.  Of course it will not be till the winter when we find out if the sea wall extension will cause extra backwash in the bottom of the Cove.  Lets hope not, but hey who cares as long as there can now be three lanes of bumper to bumper traffic instead of two.  I was at the bottom of the trail when I ran into to regulars, die hard Rincon locals and good friends of mine.  Both were not very enthusiastic.  We were chilling up in the lot for a spell when I got a text from Ryan that Oxnard Shores was on.  Considering the tide and swell direction I figured he was spot on.  I booked it down there and as I was changing all these guys were getting out.  I was afraid it had already turned off.  The Shores is one of those very fickle spots.  To my shock they said it was firing and that they were just too tired to surf anymore.  Gordo pulled up and we paddled.  Sure enough it was about as fun as waves can get.  Head high to over head, glassy, perfect A frame bowls up and down the beach.  I got my first ten waves before the half hour mark.  It was amazing, not a drop of water out of place.  Not really hallow although there were a few shacks.  Just completely rip-able surf.  I went to fucking town.  Might have been one of the best sessions I have had all year.  Soo much fun.

Just another perfect end to another perfect day of surfing in the month of June.

Just another perfect end to another perfect day of surfing in the month of June.

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What can I say about the month of April for surfing other then it was yet another month full of let down and frustration.  After a terrible winter I still had a shred of hope that it might be a good wind swell season.  Sometimes I get my best waves in the hard gail force north westerlies.  Wind swell with its shorter period allows certain mysto or novelty spots to come alive for a brief moment.  There are literally dozens of spots up here that only break once or twice a year if at all.  When they do break it is always a treat to surf them.  Of course this year with the exception of one very weak ass surf at Summerland Beach there were none of the above mentioned sessions.

I did my best to stay wet sandwiching in surf time between my work and hectic party schedule.  Here is the month of April by the numbers.  Enjoy my very sick OCD.  As always visit the Surf Log daily for the full scoop on my surfing, party and life in general.

Surf Sessions: 17
Days Surfed: 16

Total Time Spent in Water: 27.5hrs
Waves Surfed: 474
Average Waves Caught Per Hour: 17

Spots Surfed:
Rincon: 4
Santa Clara River Mouth: 4
New Jetty: 3
Emma Wood: 3
Summerland: 1
Cstreet: 1
Pitas: 1

Top 3 Surf Sessions:

3) 4-18-13 AM Session: 2-4+ft, Santa Clara River Mouth
Time in Water: 1.5hrs
Waves Surfed: 24
River Mouth fucking delivered!  What a barrel fest.  I got the call from my boy Ryan at around 7:30 that the wind was off shore down south.  With some small south and fading NW in the water the combo action was just screaming beach breaks. Throw in a lower tide and things were finally looking up.  I got to River Mouth and it looked a little smaller then I was hoping. The sand bars were as I had expected a bit torn up from all the wind the past week.  Still there were some solid chest to head high pits to be had.  There were plenty of guys out, but plenty of peaks spread up and down the beach.  I suited up and was stoked for some fun waves.  I started at the north end of the reeds where I found a sick little left sand bar that was hallow as hell.   I picked off three really fun ones there before running further down the beach where conditions seemed a bit larger and more heavy.  My boy Ryan was sitting on a suck up little A-frame all to himself and I joined.  We traded some good ones although the current was a bit tricky with strange rips and it was a bit lully. None the less I went to work super pumped that morning.

2) 4-12-13 AM Session: 2-4+ft, Rincon
Time in Water: 1hr 45 mins
Waves Surfed: 23
I don’t know what came over me that got me out of bed before 9am but somehow I was up and ready to surf.  I had checked the buoys the night before and noticed a real jump in the swell.  As I was cruising down south I saw that Santa Claus had some waves indicating a possible wave at Rincon.  I pulled off and sure enough the Cove was going off with a very light crowd.  I ran back up to the lot, texted Trevor that he was blowing it and paddled.  What a session.  I can’t remember the last time I had that much fun.  There were at least a handful that went to the high way.  My legs were killing me by the end of the session.

3) 4-30-13 AM Session: 4-6+ft, Santa Clara River Mouth
Time in Water: 3hrs
Waves Surfed: 53
What a fucking session.  Man I am so glad it is finally south swell season and I have a feeling the summer may just make up for the dismal winter we got stuck with.  I slept in a little bit being still a tired from the weekend festivities.  Trevor and I met up in Carp and rolled south with the intentions of checking the River Mouth and if that was sub par possibly running to Malibu.  On first inspection although plenty of size things looked a bit walled with the occasional scattered corner.  We gave The Shores a look over at Fifth St, that was looking more organized but a bit on the weak side.  The debate was then River Mouth or the ‘Bu. I hate driving away from potential thus we suited and charged the Mouth.  As it turned out it was a very good decision with tons of really good left and right corners.  I had some cherry ones and I stuck  the biggest full rotation ally oop of my life.  What a session.

Since the surf sucked and I spent more time at the club then in the ocean here is a picture of my crew and I traveling down the road to Fancy Town.
Cat Party

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December has with absolutely no contest become my favorite month of the year.  As a surfer one would consider such a comment rather absurd.  The days are the shortest of the year, air and water some of the coldest.  Here in Santa Barbara it is one of the more consistent months with usually good conditions, even in this the shittiest of winters ever.  For me it means over half the month not having to work allowing me to remember what it was like back in the old days when there was always time to find the best possible spot with the best possible conditions any day any time.

The smash and grab short sessions I am usually afforded courtesy of the rat race, although nourishing barely fulfill the daily/weekly does of stoke it takes me to get through this drudgery that is life.  It is very refreshing to have that luxury for over 15 days ever December to be able to just kick back and surf.  There were some key days this months.  Rincon dished up over a week of epic conditions mid month that left my legs hurting so bad by the end of it I was walking cowboy style.  The beach breaks decided to remind me just how deep I could ride the tube thanks to hard offshore winds and some really good sand bars. Even town managed to serve up a day or two.  Here are how the numbers panned out.

Surf Sessions: 27
Days Surfed: 25

Total Time Spent in the Water: 48.5 hrs
Waves Surfed: 740
Average Waves per Hour: 15

Spots Surfed:
Rincon: 7
New Jetty: 6
Emma Wood: 6
Mesa Lane: 3
Hollywood by the Sea: 2
Hammonds: 2
Silver Strand: 1

Top 3 Sessions (as per the Surflog)

3)12/22/12 PM Session: 3-5+ft, Rincon
Time in Water: 2hrs
Waves Surfed: 16
Wow I went to fucking fancy town last night.  Too much booze, too much party and a bit too much gnar for one night if you ask me.  Pat and I woke up at around 1pm all fucked up and hung over with little if any recollection of what happened. We got some breaky at Garrett’s since neither of us were in any condition to surf at that moment. Also it was cold, rainy and there appeared to be a SE wind plaguing things anyhow.  After a fine repast we got our act together and cruised to Rincon where it was mother fucking firing.  Things had glassed off.  The lines were perfect and there were barrels everywhere.  I had about six waves through the cove that could have been the waves of other’s lives, as for me it was just another perfect day at Rincon.  I got one in the cove where I was in the barrel for nearly the entire ride.  Had to easily be a ten second plus tube.  Sooooooooooooooooooo Goooooooooooooooooooooooood.   Now its time for Round three at the Wild Cat.

2)12/16/12 PM Session: 2-3+ft, New Jetty
Time in Water: 2hrs
Waves Surfed: 54
What a surf…See blog “We Certainly Could Have a Worse Lot in Life

1)12/29/12 PM Session: 5-7+ft, Hollywood by the Sea
Time in Water: 2hrs 15mins
Waves Surfed: 25
I woke up on my couch yet again with a pile of crumpled up tortilla chips all over me around 8am.  Another failed night at the Cat.  Failure?  I think not. All my friends were there, my favorite bar tenders were working.  I had a hell of a time.  I looked out my window and the wind was onshore and the tide super high.  Awesome I could sleep in.  By noon a slew of calls started coming in about how the wind was off shore in Oxnard.  Hollywood had some good sand the previous day so I figured I would just go there.  Trevor and I rolled down there and it was fucking firing although a bit inconsistent.  Just head high plus barrels every where with virtually no crowd.  My boy Ryan was surfing at Orange House and we joined him.  From there it was on.  I got a triple barrel on one wave and had some crazy deep ones.  Then this freak set of like 15 10 foot waves came in and cleaned us all up.  I was pushed all the way back to the beach then the reverse rip was so bad I almost thought I was not going to make it back to the line up.  Besides that it was a pretty unreal session.  I told my boys “now if I can only get laid at the bar tonight this may be one of the best days of my life”.

December was one big speed blur of surfing, kind of like this frame grab from Silver Strand.

December was one big speed blur of surfing, kind of like this frame grab from Silver Strand.

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In the land of the right there exists at least one goofy foot’s last stand.

This week’s UCB makes a winner out of Mauriello taking a break from giving out lessons in good morals and instead throwing down good UCB topics.  He asked I write about a certain little wave that both of us have a spot for in our heart.  A surfing spot like none other.  One that has teeth, one that has its own certain charm of gnarl in and out of the water, a surfers surf spot, Santa Clara River Mouth in Ventura California.   I have decided the best way to explain this place is by giving you a run down of an average summer morning for me.

Summertime

An fun looking morning at the River Mouth

 

River Mouth (that is what the locals call the break) is located about a 45 minute drive south of my home here in Santa Barbara.  On a nautical map it exists a few feet below sea level and sticks out a bit further then most beaches in the area allowing it to pull in swell from all angles and then amplify its intensity thanks to the bottom.  In the Late Spring, Summertime and early fall River Mouth goes off courtesy of south swells that sweep down the beach and usually barrel.  Even if its not hallow the waves still throw out like a mother fucker.  On just the right swell angle the place can almost break like a pseudo left hand point break.

In the summer I have to get up pretty early if I want to score the place without wind.  Although Ventura Harbor, where the River Mouth is located is a swell magnet its also a wind magnet.  Usually by 10 am the wind will get on it and by noon the surf is completely blown out.  River Mouth is not one of those waves that you can surf when its windy.  Most of time it gets so messed up getting a ride is impossible.

My first alarm goes off at around 6am.  I like to call this alarm my ambitious alarm.  It was the time I used be to stoked to get up and surf at when I was really fit and living the surfing lifestyle.  These days I hit the fuck you button usually because I am fighting off a hangover from the night before.  The next alarm goes off at 7am, but usually I field at least two calls from creditors before who I owe money to since my pro surfing career went up in smoke back in 2008.  I mean seriously who would extend a $10,000 credit line to a guy who barely made $20,000 a year?  I think if your that stupid you get what is coming to  you.   My credit rating is fucked for life at this point anyway so I say suck it. Thanks for the wake up call though.

At seven I poke my head out of the covers, but summertime is also fog season meaning more days then not its all grey, damp, cold and nasty out.  This makes getting out of bed rather difficult.  Usually I crawl back under the covers for a spell till Alfie decides he wants breakfast and is all over me meowing, clawing my face, licking my face, basically letting me know if I don’t get up and feed his ass soon I am going to be his breakfast.  Not wanting to be eaten I usually comply by 7:30 unless I’m really hung over and then its every man and beast for themselves.  If I am really hung over it means I drank enough to kill most human beings and I feel so sick that I hope Alfie will eat me alive.

By eight I am finally out of bed.  I pull out my computer and check the buoy readings to see what the day is going to have in store for me.  Driving to River Mouth costs me around $10 in gas round trip so I like to make sure I am actually going to be able to surf.  I am not going to give away the readings I look for cause it took me years to figure that out and it is something that has to be earned.   If things look appealing to me.  I pack my board, suit, booties, fill up my water bottle, grab a banana, brush my teeth then cruise. Usually I hit my boy Ryan up to let him know I am coming if he has yet to get me a surf report.

On the way down I let my ipod shuffle take over.  I skip all the slow tunes only stopping at pump up music.  As I am coming up the hill past Sharks Cove in Montecito I do the look back of death.  Ofcourse it’s flat.  It is summertime and there is no way there is enough north west to break the place.  It is one of my favorite waves so I can’t help but pretend just for a moment that it could be going off.  As I drive by Summerland I check the beachie down there and although too small to surf it is a good indicator of the swell angle.  If things look good there I may pick up the pace.

Then when I get to Carpinteria Santa Clause Lane becomes my next indicator.  This is more or less for both wind and swell size.  If its at least knee high there I know River Mouth will have chest high sets.  If things look good there I pick up the pace even harder.  By this point I am cruising at 80mph weaving in and out of traffic pretending I am in the movie “Ronin” most likely singing at the top of my lungs to whatever music I am blaring.  I have the heat blaring as well cause I hate to be cold before a surf.  It just puts a damper on the whole thing.

Nothing like brown water to make you feel safe and healthy and remind me of home.

At this point my boy Ryan has most likely gotten back to me on what’s up.  His intel is very important cause I have to make a decision once I am past Rincon and La Conchita if I should exit at Sea Cliffs and go surf Emma Wood or continue on to River Mouth.  Rincon and La Conchita are also good indicators as well.  By this point I start getting sleepy and have to pinch myself, pull leg hair, pluck eye brows, whatever it takes to not fall asleep behind the wheel ending up flipped in a ditch somewhere.

Rincon can be a good indicator too if the left up top is breaking.  From there I drive past Stanley’s, Hobsons, Trailers, Father John’s and Pitas. There are usually terrible little waves along all these spots that come winter can be all time. Pitas actually does get south swell it just does not break well on them.  From there I pass the palm tree nursery before getting sight of both the Gold Coast and Emma Wood.  This is the moment of truth right here.  If there are waves at Gold Coast then there are definitely waves at River Mouth.

I drive past Emma Wood and laugh at the near thirty guy crowd.  South of Emma is Ventura Campgrounds or the top of the point at Cstreet.  Depending on how this spot looks I can pretty much tell with absolute certainty if I am going to score.  I always make sure to flip off Cstreet on the way by cause I hate that wave.  I get through the town of Ventura and the stub jetties of the state beaches and Pierpont come into view and always entice me with their siren song of waves that always look good from far but are far from good.

Finally I exit off the 101 and work my way to the Harbor at this point whatever direction those flags are blowing will make or break my morning.  If they are slack then its going to be glassy.  Usually they are blowing north west.  I pull into the Harbor and drive north toward the dunes.  I park in front of the highest dunes that are located halfway between New Jetty and the Surfers Knoll.  From up there I can see all the breaks of Ventura harbor and decide where I want to surf.

My surf check dune.

This dune and I have developed a very personal relationship over the years.  It has seen me jump for joy, cower in fear, vomit from the night before, drop to my knees and cry back when Adrienne and I first broke up.  I have taken many of pisses up there.  There is five years worth of decomposing banana peels up there because I eat my banana while checking the surf.  I have thrown a few angry tantrums up there.  Like I said its my dune.  I once whipped Mauriello really hard with a long dune grass vine and got all mad about it.  In consolation I whipped myself just as hard and he was right it hurt like hell.  I think we both had welts from the whipping for a week or so.

This mornings banana discard.

Looking North you have New Jetty and the far big jetty is South Jetty a wedgey right that almost never breaks and when it does is super hard to surf. New Jetty is one of my favorite waves in the area but unfortunately due to poor sand distribution it has been a deep hole all season.

This is looking south from the dunes. The closest wave is called Surfers Knoll which can be really fun in the late winter early spring, but usually too washy in the summer. Past that is the River Mouth sand bars which stretch about a mile or so south till you get to McGrath State Beach.

If I decide I am surfing River Mouth I repark  my car either in the Knoll lot if it is a week day and uncrowded or in the marina lot across the street if I am looking to be low pro and stealth.  The funny thing about parking in the marina lot is that there are all these no beach parking signs, but everyone parks there any way and they are not “strictly enforced”.  I also like to park in the Marina lot cause there are less crack heads, meth heads, bums and heroin addicts hanging around there.  My old photographer Dave and I once saw the cops come arrest this crack head in the Knoll lot.

It was pretty funny.  The dude broke free and took off to the bath room and flushed his stash.  When he came out there were six cops guns drawn.  Then they took him down with very excessive force.  He made some really strange grunt like squeal when then tackled him to the pavement then bashed his head.  There are robberies in the knoll lot at least once a week if not more.  I just try and stay out of that parking lot.  I have been robbed three times there.  It has gotten to the point where I have hallowed out a spot underneath my driver seat where I stash my phone, Ipod and money.  Its not quite north shore bad where you have to leave your windows down and your car open so they wont get smashed, but there is for sure a large number of degenerates who coagulate in that vicinity.

“Strictly Enforced” ha, the harbor patrol is too busy busting crack heads to worry about parking issues.

There are always sketchy things going on in the parking lot and in the marsh reeds that line the river mouth.  From what I have been told there is pretty much an entire bum civilization back there who feed off all the dead marine life and sea birds that constantly line the beach.  I literally saw five dead birds there today.  Four pelicans and duck.  Last year there were tons of dead seals all over the beach and I once saw a dead dolphin as well.  All the currents flow towards that place and the water quality is far from ideal.

Bum food…another one bites the dust…

Usually I surf a section of sand bars called the Reeds just before the actual river mouth.  I always seem to get my best waves there and its easy to line yourself up because you either sit on the north, south or middle of the reeds.  It is also a bit of a hike from the parking lot and most don’t bother to walk past the first few sand bars.

This is the reeds I like to line up with. Behind those reeds is Bumville.

Sometimes the banks further south in front of the River Mouth can be better on long period swell.  If your willing to walk that far you can be sure to beat most of the crowd.

Hmmm whats that in the far left corner you ask? Let me answer: A power plant and an oil field. Oxnard is a beautiful place.

The Tar

The 805 is constantly riddled with an abundance of tar that naturally and most likely not so naturally courtesy of all the oil rigs seeps up from the ocean floor, coagulates into balls and finds its way to the beaches.  River Mouth is one of those beaches that is especially bad.  Once on the beach the tar heats up from the sun and becomes a gooey mess just waiting for you to step in it.  I have giant tar stains on just about everything I own.  My boards are constantly riddled with the brown mess.  As a matter of fact I stepped in a nice ball of tar yesterday before my session.  

Currently my wax is all black and gooey with tar.  The only way to get tar off is with baby oil which works fine, but also makes the shower floor slippery as hell.  I once went down head over heels nearly hitting my head on the tub faucet.  That would be a really shitty way to be found dead naked on the bottom of the tub in a puddle of blood and baby oil.  The authorities would with out a doubt claim I went out in a crazy freak masturbation mishap.  

Winter Time

In the winter its a whole different ball game out there.

Winter is not really River Mouth’s best season.  For the most part the swell direction of the NW’s seem to just come into there as one giant close out as far as the eye can see.  The water is freezing, colder then any other spot in the area and there is no one around.  Even the bums hunker down for the most part.  The only upside to winter is the Off shores.  Ventura Harbor really kind of is the start of the flat plain that runs all the way till Mugu and as a result hard offshore wind sweeps across the open space grooming the surf.  

You know the winds are going to be good if all you can smell is manure from the fields.  Yeah it stinks but the air in the barrel is always nice.  On the whole even with the winds it is still very closed out and usually on a swell anywhere from double to triple over head and stacked as far as you can see.  If your getting out there you are going to take a serious beating.  You will get pitted, but it will most likely just be a big close out tube.  This is the place where the term PGCB (perfectly good closed out barrels) was coined.  You can read more about that in my “I Heart PGCB’s” blog.  It makes for good wide angle barrel photos except for the fact that the current is so bad out there its nearly impossible to stay with your photog.  Dave and I had many of frustrating sessions where we were both getting worked super hard and did not get one decent shot out of it. 

Usually by late winter some really good sand bars can set up more near the knoll and upper River Mouth.  If it is the right swell with the right tide and the wind is offshore you will get some of the best sessions of your life.  I have had some really amazing session on such.  It can be really frustrating too though if you get there too late.  Lots of times those sand bars only turn on for a few hours at best and if you get it at the end of the window you may get one or two amazing ones and then just be back in close out land.  The rips are really bad on theses bars as well.  You will spend the entire session paddling.  

If your diligent and you get first dibs on a good bank you will have it to yourself for maybe a day or two.  Once word gets out all of Ventura, Oxnard and Santa Barbara will be there.  On the whole these bars only last for a few days anyway before the wind goes bad or too big of a swell comes in and tears it apart.  When it happens it can be all time, as good as anyplace.  Here is a video of possibly the best the River Mouth has ever been courtesy of just the right swell angle, wind, rain and sand. It happened in 2005.  I was lucky enough to get two days of this cause I just happened to be here picking up some boards from Jason Feist over at J7 surfboards.

The reality of the winter is more times then not its nothing more then a big close out and if I am going to drive that far I am most likely going to go surf Hollywood or Oxnard Shores where the banks are a bit better that time of year.  The water quality is very poor in winter due to all the rain run off.

Opening the Mouth

The really cool thing about River Mouth is the fact that it is one of the few unfortified river mouths in a heavily populated area.  There are no jetties or controls on it of any kind.  The water flows under the sand naturally allowing for tons of great banks to get created.  On occasion as a result of heavy rain fall it will burst open and when it does great sand can be created.  That does not always happen.  Sometimes it opens and throws out too much sand ruining the spot for weeks.  If it opens and there is not a good swell direction or bad wind the bars wont form good.  This year we got screwed double.  First the mouth opened up way too far to the south and second when they dredged the harbor, which they do every year the sand from that got badly dispersed completely ruining New Jetty for the entire spring, summer and most likely fall season.

Forget about water quality when it opens.  I have had so many bad sinus infections, diarrhea, fevers and other complications as a direct result of surfing in the black water that is created when it opens.  There ends up being dead frogs, fish, birds, tons of trash that all floats out a river that flows for miles inland.  The pesticide run off from all the farms is intense.  We refer to surfing there during such times as “Brown Town”.  Its pretty disgusting.  If its on its totally worth the chance of contracting Hepatitis though.   

For a while a bunch of locals would get together before a swell and actually dig out the mouth to make good sand.  About three years ago Robert from Roberts Surfboards used to rally the troops to dig it out for every good south swell.  That was one of the best spring/summer seasons out there ever.  Even the fall was sick thanks to all the good sand.  I guess the harbor patrol cracked down on it and the last crew to attempt it got arrested and fined.  I don’t think there has been a dig out attempt since.  In the summer and fall it doesn’t rain so its not going to naturally open.

This barrel was a direct result of a man made river mouth opening. Thanks boys, this day was one of the best I ever had out there. Fall 2010 https://surfingruinedmylife.net/surf-log/2010-sessions/october-10/ 10-29-10 entry.

There you have it, my home away from home Santa Clara River Mouth.  I am sure I just pissed off everyone in the 805 for writing this.  You know what I don’t give a fuck. I am there nearly everyday all summer long and surf the place in both the good, the bad and the ugly.  Its a tough wave to surf.  I would not recommend it to beginners, but more moderate to experts.  There are usually tough currents and rip tides so if your not a strong paddler/swimmer drowning can be an issue.  Its an unprotected beach and out at the River Mouth there is not many people around so getting you medical help will take longer then most spots.

The wave itself is very heavy and even on a two foot day can pack a punch.  I have broken six boards there, creased a handful more and taken some heavy wipe outs.  It is sharky too as any river mouth can be.  Although I have never had an encounter I have heard stories and most of the larger marine mammals that wash up dead on the beach have giant bites taken out from them.  Half seals are not uncommon to see.  The water is murky thus confusing the men in grey suits.  

River Mouth is an acquired taste suited to the elite hard core surfer.  If your dedicated you will score.  If you read this and are stoked to come down for a surf good on ya.  I will gladly hoot you into a wave.  Please show respect and don’t pull up with a van full of dudes like a certain Santa Barbara surf school has been doing.  At Santa Clara the rule of two is in full effect.  Follow the code and I will be more then stoked to get tubed with you.

The lay of the land just to give you an idea of what we are talking about. I took this during a solid south swell last Summer 2011.

This is Christy’s my favorite janky luncheonette in Ventura located right across the street from the River Mouth parking lot. This place is rad all the tables have collages of pictures of their customers under glass. Kooky and I wanted to go put a picture of us under the glass. I still may. Waitresses are surly, customers strange and food incredible. I have ended more then one session there. Yum!

Its not all sunshine and roses out here. If you don’t like mornings then this is what you will be greeted with usually by 11am everyday if not earlier.

This is two trees in Ventura California and where I took that aerial photo of River Mouth. I had been surfing there for years looking back a these trees and always wanted to go up there. Finally I did some exploring and found my way up to them. Its really cool cause from that vantage you can see all the way to Pt.Mugu in the south and Emma Wood in the North. I met some old guy the last time I was there and he said the trees were planted in the late 1800’s so Mariners could find the way to the harbor. Its really cool there and a nice hike. I do it regularly.

Cant afford Christy’s no worries there is plenty of good eating up and down the beach. Looks like someone has already been gnawing on this guy though. Don’t fret I’m sure there are plenty of other dead animals with in striking distance of this unfortunate.


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Yeah we all knew not to expect much from this coming NW season, but then fall kicked into high gear with plenty of although not epic very consistently fun surf.  November opened up strong with a handful of days at Rincon and the first signs of town breaking.  The first half of the month I found plenty of surf to entertain myself with.  Then in the back half the flat spells from summer we all thought were past came back.  It was not just Santa Barbara that was flat, I mean that is a given since SB is the only water front town that might as well be surrounded by land as far as surf goes.  The whole fucking state was pretty much flat.

Hopefully December will pick things back up a bit and with the incoming forecast at least it looks like the week should be rather fruitful here.  Maybe it will get the ball rolling and we can get a few more fun days this season and I wont have to kill myself. Here are the numbers for the Month of November and the top sessions.

Number of Sessions – 20
Days Surfed – 19
Average Wave Height – 2-3+ft

Surf Spots

Rincon – 8
New Jetty – 3
Emma Wood – 3
C Street – 1
River Mouth – 1
Santa Clause Lane – 1
Oxnard – 1
Little Rincon – 1
Hammonds – 1

Top 3 Sessions:

3: 11/10/10 PM Session – 1-3+ft, Santa Claus Lane
Local wind swell in Santa Barbara is so aberrant it makes finding the right place to surf a little mission.  One day Rincon will be head high the next flat.  The thing about wind swell is that the angle is always changing making certain spots that never break fun and the standards poor.  It all comes down to how hard you want to search.  Today I was not in the mood nor did I have the time to go on a proverbial goose chase.  I headed straight to Rincon after observing some solid swell at Santa Claus yet when I got to Rincon the wind was South although it was NW and offshore up at Santa Claus.  I decided to just drive back there and see what there was to surf or if it was just a freeway mirage.  Turns out it was offshore/side shore three heads spread along the three mile long stretch of beach, waist to stomach high with the occasion chest high nug. Overall it was mostly walled with some racy corners.  I had one really fun Backside tube and brought down a good backside air reverse and a front side ally oop that I was pleased with.


2: 11/5/10 PM Session – 2-4ft, Rincon
As I was driving back from the previous session below I saw tons of waves peeling down Rincon with a very light crowd, maybe fifty guys along the entire point.  Needless to say I pulled off the highway got dressed and powered a second session.  The cove although fun looked pretty long boarded out and smaller then the top.  I went up to Lower Indicator/high River Mouth and snagged a bunch of great five to six hit waves.  I even managed a back door barrel through lower River Mouth.  Then after about an hour and a half that south wind caught up with me and so did the crowd.  It was all good I was pretty much over it by then anyway.

1: 11/6/10 PM Session – 3-5ft, Rincon
What a day.  I could not believe my eyes when driving by Rincon this afternoon that it still had waves and better waves then the day before with better conditions.  I started up top at River Mouth looking for the barrel but although I found some pretty ridiculous ones that I managed to connect from River Mouth through middle Cove I did not find that barrel I was hunting.  After an hour up top I made my way into the cove which courtesy of the negative tide was pretty much flawless with plenty of consistency and only about forty heads out. Most were visitors giving me the local edge.  I only got about a little over an hour and a half but my legs were spent from all the long rides anyway.  As I got out of the water towards dusk I contemplated the fact that every wave I caught this session even my throw aways (meaning I only got eight turns on them) could probably have been the best wave of someone’s life, but for me it was just another day at Rincon.  Im pretty fortunate to have the life I live.

November was all about getting Skunked!!!!!!!!!

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This week the UCB gods, err; just me actually (I am in no way insinuating that I am The God or a god although I could be a god, but I would just settle for leader of some type of sick twisted cult that wears all black sneakers with bright orange shoe laces, spandex shorts and white netted tank tops and worships the invention of processed cheese in a can) makes a winner out of my friend Devin who suggested I do a comparison blog on the surf of last season (being the start of NW season is September and runs through May) to this one.  I thought it a rather good idea and not just worthy of a UCB but a new monthly segment.  As a result for his genius (Devin may really be a genius, he definitely is one of the smartest people I know) I will award him 2 points!

Here is how this segment is going to work.  At the close of every month I will pick my five favorite sessions for the Surf Log and compare them to my favorite 5 sessions from Last winter’s unprecedented near epic El Nino season.  I will also throw down a by the numbers on how many sessions I had for the month, how many days I surfed and which spots I surfed the most.  Enjoy!

October 2010 by the numbers:

Number of Sessions – 31
Days Surfed – 25
Average Wave Height – 2-3ft

Surf Spots

New Jetty – 9
Rincon – 7
River Mouth – 4
C Street – 3
Emma Wood – 3
Pitas – 2
Hollywood – 1
Jalama – 1
Leo Carrillo – 1

Top 5 Sessions

5: 10/13/10 AM Session – 2-4ft, Leo Carrillo
I had high hopes for this session, but when I got to Ventura it was foggy, cold, windy and small.   This led me to car surf for over two hours before using the benefit of intel from both my friends Ryan and Devin I decided to go to Malibu for some late season south swell action and better winds.  I met Devin at Leo where it was a bit inconsistent but fun chest to head high peaks coming in with a light crowd of ten or so sitting on the rock.  Leo is a super tight line up so on an inconsistent day like this ten was still almost too crowded.  I had the whole day and in the course of a three and a half hour session managed to surf a bunch of fun rights despite the typical rude selfish L.A. surf mentality.

4: 10/14/10 PM Session – 2-4ft, Santa Clarita River Mouth
I never have high hopes for an after work session especially if I have to go to Ventura where more times then not the wind is going to be on it.  The Cstreet cam was showing clean chest to head high waves coming in behooving me to believe that the harbor would have good conditions also. I headed that way figuring on surfing New Jetty, but upon checking it noticed that the late season south swell was working its magic on the ledgey sand bars at river mouth, a sight I have not seen since late spring time this year.  I called this new guy at work Kevin, who met me in the parking lot at the knoll and together with about five other guys spread along 8 different peaks we enjoyed glassy slab lefts.  It was a fucking below sea level, backless barrel fest.

3: 10/5/10 AM Session – 2-4+ft, New Jetty

Its pretty ironic that today was also what I would call a “Jersey Session” except unlike yesterday I am using it to describe an awesome surf.  The wind was offshore, a California rarity, sure there is always that myth about “Santa Anna Winds”.  They blow for like a day and a half.  I think if I see a dozen true offshore days a year out here it is a lot.  This morning was one of them.  I pulled up to New Jetty and Im not going to lie it looked a little fat with the high tide and around eight guys one it not making it look all that fun. Then after ten minutes of watching I saw a left or two a bit up the beach from the usual take off spot suck out and throw.  That was enough for me.  What ensued was an onslaught of barrels.  If I did 12 turns the entire session it was a lot.  I got pitted off my ass on left and right keggers all fucking morning till the wind went side shore at noon but it was fine cause I had been out since around 8:30.

2: 10/15/10 AM Session – 3-5ft, Jalama
There is nothing like getting a break from humanity and making the trek up to Jalama especially with no wind and a holding south swell.  Conditions were glassy and the sand bars have finally gotten back to normal allowing for plenty of fun barrels.  I ended up cruising up with Lindsay being her first time there she was more then amped on the conditions. Crowd was surprisingly heavy with a solid thirty guys from T-Cracks to inside Tarantulas.  I mean this time of year your lucky if there are more then five guys out, but the water was crazy warm so I guess it evens out and besides I still got a ton of great waves.    I also found out they sell a Jalama pass for $44 bucks for the year.  Im all over that.

1: 10/29/10 – AM Session – 4-6ft, River Mouth

There are good surf session, there are great surf session and then there are sessions that go down as all time. This morning at River Mouth was one of the latter. It was a barrel factory out there. The first hour was nothing but perfect left and right hand draining barrels with light offshore winds. By 11am I had gotten so many deep barrels I had lost count. It reminded me of really good Hatteras. Everywhere you looked someone was getting spit out of a tube or there was a perfect cylinder running through unridden. After three solid hours the wind came up ending one of the better sessions I have had this fall and in the last six months.

***If you like these little synopses of my surf sessions feel free to visit my surf log on this blog where I post my surf sessions daily.***

Here is my favorite picture of me from October and also from the best session as well.

This guy is all ready to join the cult.

mmmmmm...processed cheese in a can

Stay tuned for last October’s comparisons tomorrow!

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