Goleta Surfing: A Point is Born

A new surf spot (Photo credit: Goleta Surfing)
By Tom Modugno of Goleta Surfing
So December 28th, 2023 brought a nice swell, as we documented on our last page Late Christmas. But we didn’t mention a new spot that broke very nicely. We were keeping a sharp eye on it, waiting to document someone surfing it.


While I personally didn’t get any photos of the event, our friend Phillip did and was nice enough to share them with us. Like any new spot, it has several nick names. But let’s back up a bit and remember how this break materialized. Because new surf spots don’t often just pop up overnight…..

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Back in January of 2018, we had a major catastrophe in Montecito that took several lives and caused a lot of damage. In panic mode, the County needed to get rid of a lot of mud, fast. The emergency response depended on it.

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So dumping a lot of the sludge at Goleta Beach County Park was hastily approved, much to the chagrin of many Goleta folk. Convoys of trucks carried tons of the Montecito mud and dumped it into the ocean at Goleta Beach, day in and day out, for weeks on end.

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Obviously, the fecal bacterial levels in the water jumped, and Goleta Beach was closed for 6 months afterwards.

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Given the situation, they didn’t have time to really think it through, but they dumped the mud horizontally along the beach. The result was the Montecito sludge was soon washed away with no increase in sand build up on the beach.

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The following year, 2019, the County found itself with a lot of mud and debris from Montecito again, so the obvious answer was Goleta Beach! But this time the Santa Barbara County Public Works Department called it “beach nourishment”.  And they did something else different. Rather than just dumping it and watching it wash away, they pushed it out with a bulldozer.

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So they dumped the sludge vertically, making a jetty of sorts. Lo and behold, the sand started to build up behind it!

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Whether it was intentional or a happy accident, the County found a way to bring Goleta Beach back. Sure, the water might be a little contaminated for a while, but….it’s only Goleta.

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But something else caught the eye and imagination of every surfer in town. In 2019, a new point break was born! But what to name it….?

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Several names have been heard; Hammonds West, Artificial Point, Monte’s Mysto, Poop Point. We were sort of partial to naming it after one of Montecito’s most prominent celebrities, since Montecito provided the material. But some fans found “Oprah’s Point” offensive, and we certainly don’t want to offend anyone….


So we decided to take the advice of a longtime Goleta surfer and we dubbed it, “Dumptrucks”.



So, back to December 28th, 2023, While throngs of surfers paddled on top of each other at the usual spots, Dumptrucks was lighting up like a roman candle. Unnoticed.


Well, not completely unnoticed. One young hot shot with a neon wetsuit had an eye on it, but she brought the wrong board.


So the sets continued to roll through, empty as can be.


Until finally, near the end of the day, two young Goleta chargers showed up to finally make Dumptrucks a legit surf spot.



And the barrel embraced them.


Carlos Castro and Pat Robertson had already surfed a few times this day, at a few different spots, but they saved the best for last.





What better way to end a long day of epic surf. A thick lip embraced the young pioneers as they rode into Goleta surf history.


Wave after wave was ridden as the sun slowly dropped.


The ancestors of Goleta surfing were surely pleased. This wave is better than anything ever ridden in this spot before.


Carlos and Pat were not the first guys to surf Goleta Beach. But the wave has always been a mush burger at best. A novelty wave.


But we’re sure the Zandona brothers and their friends will be thrilled to see what a Goleta Beach wave can look like now, compared to this 1965 version as seen on their video Goleta Pier Shooters.


And we owe it all to our well-to-do friends down south that needed to get rid of some mud. Lucky for us, their sludge don’t stink….


Stay tuned, we won’t be surprised if Surfline installs a webcam at Dumptrucks soon. But they better hurry, before Mother Nature washes it all away.
See more at GoletaSurfing.com


Written by tMo

Tom Modugno is a local business owner, surfer, writer, and community activist. He also runs GoletaHistory.com and GoletaSurfing.com

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  1. Nice Tom. I saw that setup and was wondering if it would get ridable. Thinking about the estuary mouth there, over the years I’ve seen a few breakers kinda like mission creek mouth. I’ve seen takers there a couple of times. All these kinda spots would probably have a bluebird day once a decade. Surf on, Garth!

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