Late Christmas Surf

Photo by Goleta Surfing

December 28th, 2023 a swell was predicted and well advertised on the news.

89
The big hype was due in part to the extremely high tide that was going to coincide with the large swell. Emergency personnel were on the scene first thing in the morning, just in case. Also, they wanted to check out the swell….
91
The tide was pushing up to unusual levels as this young man contemplated his line of trajectory.
93
I don’t remember ever seeing the surf threatening to break through to the Campus Lagoon. Of course, that doesn’t mean it’s never happened….and it didn’t happen this time either, but it threatened.
a5
At the point it was evident the swell had arrived, right on schedule. And the crowd was not bad, probably due to the excessive tide height.
a2
a3
Despite the high tide, some good sized waves were caught.
2
3
A light morning offshore breeze feathered the waves back beautifully.
a25
a27
But after the drop, thing could get dicey pretty quickly. The waves weren’t really  lining up into the cove like Campus is known for.
a24
But even a short ride can make for a nice photo.
a22
Already things were shaping up nicely, but we decided to come back a little later, when the tide drops and see what develops.
97mf
Not surprisingly, when we returned, parking at Campus Point would have entailed a long wait. So we opted for the Goleta Beach lot, where we found local legend Michael Furukawa sizing up the situation before paddling out. Even Goleta Beach had some intimidating shore pound.
b23
As we enjoyed the scenic walk up to the point, it was clear that a lot of people surf these days….
99
b7
But when you live in such a beautiful place, who can blame them!
100
5
And with the lower tide, the large waves became a little more user friendly, as it were…
jb1
Local favorite John Bircham was out enjoying the wave he’s been surfing for most his life.
jb
b15
Lots of other locals were scoring, so if recognize anyone, let me know and I can add there name.
6
a16
a18
a21
1
b16
As the sun slowly dropped, it began to make shooting a little difficult. But it was time to head up the coast anyways and see what another popular point was doing…
85
Coming around the point at the state park, we weren’t surprised to see evidence of the extremely high tide.
87
It also was no surprise to see the crowd settled in the cove. Surfers, surfer’s significant others and photographers were almost sitting on top of each other, socializing and gawking at the the show in the water.
b6
And the show in the water was no less crowded. I didn’t have the patience to count, but a friend told me she counted 127 heads in the water.
b4
It was  a sight to behold.
b5
b3
I know from experience it’s not fun to surf in these conditions, and it’s dangerous. But they were all out to get their wave on the Big Day.
b1
Some say really good surfers are not affected by crowds. I spoke to several really good surfers this day, they were definitely affected by it.
b
c10
That being said, there were still some good rides to be had, despite the obstacles.
b9
c2
d2
13
This spot has become a “go to” location for surfers from north and south when their normal spots are too big or too crowded. I heard folks on the beach talking about Rincon being “maxed out” and I saw a lot of SLO county bumper stickers in the parking lot.
c17
c12
c11
There were a wide variety of surfing styles to be seen, which keeps things interesting.
14
The waves were plentiful, but not lining up they way they usually do here. Closeouts were common, offering opportunities for some creative exits.
c16

And every now and then, a big wide swinger would roll through and reset the whole line up.

f
These guys both dropped in on that seagull that was clearly in position…
c15
e
As the day wound down, we were hoping for a beautiful sunset to finish things up. But dark clouds moved in and muffled everything.
d5
Making for some dark and grainy images.
d4
But it was still clear to see the thickness of the lip.
e2 2

Suddenly a loud buzzing sound filled the air and I thought a swarm of bees was approaching, but it was only a drone, adding to the circus like atmosphere.

d1
The approaching darkness made it easier to have fun with speed blurs.
d6
Gotta love the enthusiasm!
f6
11
Several people noticed I captured an image of the Loch Ness monster. Like I said, folks were coming from all over to surf here. Even Scotland.
12
f1

Just as I was about to wrap it up and join the mass exodus out, Simon Murdoch walked back up from a long one into the cove. After exchanging greetings, he decided to grab one more, and within minutes he got this ride.

f3
f2
c9
Quite a day. Even though it was extremely crowded, everyone seemed to get along well and enjoy the late Christmas present. And more was on the way. Stay tuned…
tMo

Written by tMo

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

What do you think?

Comments

0 Comments deleted by Administrator

Leave a Review or Comment

One Comment

Celebrate National Train Your Dog Month in January

Driver Injured in Head-On Collision on Cathedral Oaks