I just returned from a great trip to Southern and Central California, eventually making my way to the city of San Francisco. It was so special to connect with old friends along the way and learn about the new chapters in their lives, see the places where I once lived, and surf the pacific coast again.
I first landed in Huntington Beach for an art exhibit that my friend Phil Roberts put together called "The Art and Soul of Surfing". He met me at the OC airport to pick up the painting below titled "Sea Smoke" 24x72 the day before the show started. I brought a fresh single fin surfboard and my painting in a board bag and checked it on my flight - pretty classic to unpack my board and painting in the airport. Ha!
*The artists featured in the exhibition have captured their core love of riding waves. The influence of their pure “surfer stoke”, the addiction that is surfing, has driven their careers and their artistic lives. The exhibition features works of art from the most legendary surf artists in recent history, including the “Godfathers of Surf Art”: John Severson, Rick Griffin, Bill Ogden and John Van Hamersveld. In addition, current day legends Rick Rietveld, Ken Auster, Kevin Short, Wade Koniakowsky, Ashton Howard, Melinda Morey, Kevin Ancell, Sandow Birk and Bill Stewart are represented.
It was a great opening and the exhibit will run all summer long at the Huntington Beach Art Center- stop by and have a look. Thank you Phil for all your hard work and a great exhibit.
After the show I spent a few days visiting friends in Dana Point and hitting some of my favorite surf spots and local grinds. (I even managed to squeeze in an overnight Tuna trip out of SD). We surfed Trestles early morning and scored 3-5ft glassy waves - it even rained a bit on us in the water which is very rare for Socal. Always stoked to be in the water with my boys no matter what the conditions. We hit one of my favorites spots for lunch, Pedros Tacos in San Clemente; Fish Taco and Rolled Tacos are the bomb. San Clemente has a special place in my heart, my wife and I spent almost 8 years there and it is always great to return to our roots.
One of my best friends and his wife have been traveling the coast of California with their two dogs and 2 year old daughter in their RV, just camping and surfing along the way. I drove to Santa Cruz to meet up with them and join the adventure for the remainder of my trip. I have never been to Santa Cruz and it was cool to check out a new spot. Unfortunately the surf had been on the decline the entire week and it was small and weak for the breaks that we wanted to surf. We check Pleasure Point and Steamer Lane in the mornings, but the tide was -0.25 and completely drained these spots. We drove north to a spot called Willow Creek, a wide open beach break that was pulling a little more swell and scored some fun waves.
As we continued up Highway 1 after Santa Cruz the coastal landscapes were full of huge mountains and trees, rolling farmlands, and cool blue pacific shores. We ended up in Half Moon Bay close to the harbor and point where one of the biggest waves in the world breaks in the winter time - Mavericks. Even though it was not the season for this giant beast to awaken, it was incredibly inspiring to stand on the shores of this famous big wave surf spot where so much history has been made.
Another one of my best friends who lives in San Francisco came down to camp with us in Santa Cruz and also drove down from the city to surf each day just north of Half Moon at a beach called Montara. It was pretty wild to see how diverse and different the waves and landscape of Central Cal were; always exciting to experience new places and surf spots. We eventually made our way into the city after an early morning surf at Montara and headed straight to an incredible oyster farm on Tomales Bay, about an hour north of the Golden Gate Bridge. Coming from Florida I was stoked to compare how these oysters would be to home and they are hands down some of the best I have had. We took the coast back toward the city and stopped at Muir Woods to walk through the ancient Redwood Forests; it was so amazing to be standing next to these giant 600-800yr. old trees. Before heading back for dinner in the city, we were lucky to catch the sun setting over the Golden Gate Bridge and stopped for a couple pics.
I feel so lucky to have connected with some of my best friends in life and share some waves and new experiences together. Each trip I take I come home with a deeper feeling of appreciation for so many things in my life. I cant wait to hit the road again!
Make your dreams jealous -AH