Three Days Spent Chasing Northern California's Elusive Emerald Dragon - Stab Mag

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Three Days Spent Chasing Northern California’s Elusive Emerald Dragon

Max Beach, Nat Young, and half of San Clemente lay siege to Ocean Beach.

elsewhere // Dec 21, 2023
Words by Holden Trnka
Reading Time: < 1 minute

“It’s not for the faint of heart, that’s why most people do their 5-10 years and they bounce,” said third generation San Francisco local Matty Lopez, regarding the surf community in his native city.

The beating heart of said treachery lies just offshore — a 3.5 mile gradient of shifting sand, apexing swell, murky green water, and sharks. Ocean Beach is a mythical, neer-be-flat chunk of coast which, on a handful of days each year, serves up a big board buffet of stand-up tubes.

As one of the few beachies in the world where good surfers ride 7 foot + pintails, positioning is everything, and slowing down is often impossible. Outer bar tubes can be infuriatingly elusive, and many sessions end with no more than some pocket rides, a stretched leash, and an inflamed sense of ‘humility.’

Above, Max Beach and a handful of pros make The Beach look far more approachable than any layman could attest to, scoring three days straight at the cold, vision-heavy minefield.

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