Stab Magazine | California's got El Nino's number

California’s got El Nino’s number

Words by Jake Howard Save for a couple of swells here and there, summer in California was shit. And even when the waves came they were closed out or clogged up with Wavestorms… usually both. But now, finally, we’re into prime Golden State season. For the last week the weather’s been record-breaking hot, the water’s […]

news // Mar 8, 2016
Words by stab
Reading Time: 6 minutes

Words by Jake Howard

Save for a couple of swells here and there, summer in California was shit. And even when the waves came they were closed out or clogged up with Wavestorms… usually both. But now, finally, we’re into prime Golden State season. For the last week the weather’s been record-breaking hot, the water’s warm enough to make trunks the obvious go, the combo swell’s been oh-so choice and there’s nary a barnyard to be found. Thanks to a mix of girthy south and mid-period west, it seems like just about everywhere has had waves — not necessarily huge, but damn near perfect. As far as we can tell, everyone’s been binge surfing, just imbibing on the vibe. Now that the waves have temporarily dropped (the South Pac’s still cranking and we’re not done yet). So we figured we’d catch up with a few of the boys and see where they’ve been scoring.


Morning offshore reap hollow fare and this cat’s got to be sweating his dick off in that steamer. Photo: Tristan Brickner/A-Frame

Derek Dunfee, Windansea
“I’ve been at home. There hasn’t really been any point in going elsewhere. The reefs around La Jolla have been fun, the weather’s been hot, and it’s just kind of that magic time of year in California. I have a couple of different fishes I’ve been riding for the last month or so. I’ve really been enjoying them. I don’t typically ride traditional equipment when I’m home, unless the waves are really pumping. There are so many really creative board builders around here. It’s a privilege to ride what they’re making. So when the waves do get really good like this it keeps things interesting. It wasn’t that it got that big around here, but the conditions have been incredible. We’re in the middle of October and we’re still wearing trunks all day. Hopefully all of this is a good indicator that the El Nino’s legit. I’m pretty much injury free right now, and other than surfing around here, I’m really focusing a lot of my energy on Maverick’s and the contest up there… but for now, it’s pretty nice not to have to think about a wetsuit.”


Dane Gudang’s just a legend, it’s that simple. Photo: ISA

Dane Gudauskas, Oceanside
“We’ve had the Norwegian national team in town for the ISA Juniors. It’s been epic. I’ve been able to travel through Norway a couple of times and have made some pretty good friends there. So when the idea of them fielding a team and coming to California for the championships was being kicked around, we had to support them. I was able to step up and help with the coaching duties. None of them have ever really done the surf contest thing. Surfing’s still growing there, so this is all new for all of them. It’s really refreshing to see it through their eyes. It’s a great chance to hit reset and remember why we all started surfing in the first place. And they just happened to come to town when we’ve been getting all-time conditions. The waves have been smoking. One of our girls made her Round 1 heat in really gnarly conditions. We were all pretty pumped on that. And I don’t know if any of the Norwegians have ever surfed in trunks. They’re loving getting fully lobstered. There’s a museum above the Arctic Circle that helped sponsor the team and before they left they loaded them up with full viking costumes to wear during the opening ceremony. It was epic! We were charging down the streets of Oceanside in full viking gear…nothing like throwing on a full wool outfit when it’s 90 degrees out. But they also brought over some Norwegian beer, so that’s been helping.”


Down the way from Huntington beach, the wedge took in the golden hour’s groove. Photo: Craig Larson/A-Frame

Christian Saenz, Huntington Beach
“The waves in the Huntington area over the weekend were super fun. Not all time, but there were some great waves to be had in the four to six-foot range with some bigger sets. I surfed River Jetties and the Goldenwest zone on Saturday. Goldenwest and the pier had some very peaky, rippable waves with a few barrels as well. It was super spread out with the current and size. The crowd factor was minor. River Jetties was the place to be, especially when the west swell started to fill in. Timmy Reyes stole the show with a triple barrel on a left that had everyone’s mind blown. That kind of stuff just doesn’t happen. We were all tripping. I got mangled on one left when my fins slid out. I got all wrapped up in my leash and destroyed. I felt like a kook until I came up and watched something similar happen to Brad Ettinger. We were both just laughing and tripping on how hard we got worked.”


It’s all nice. Photo: Tristan Buckner/A-Frame

Andrew Jacobson, Malibu
“I guess I should have gone somewhere else, but I haven’t left Zuma for a week. I mean, Malibu’s been cranking, and a lot of the other spots around here have had their moments, but I don’t really see the point in going somewhere else when it’s so good where you are. Finally the summer crowds have eased up. It’s kind of like we get our beach back. This is the best time of year in California. We had a solid south swell that had some size and power, then a good west swell mixed in and that crossed Zuma up really nice. Usually it’s just a close-out, but it’s actually been pretty peaky. Over the last week it’s definitely had some windows. I’ve been getting pretty barrelled. I just feel like I had to take full advantage of every little bit because soon enough we’re going to be back in our wetsuits. It’s been like having an extension of summer without the crowd.”

Nate Yeomans

A-frames, ramps, wedges, barrels… Autumn in California is it. Photo: Cat Gregory/A-Frame

Timmy Reyes, Santa Cruz
“I got the first part of the swell at home around Newport. It was pretty good. Scored a few waves I won’t be forgetting anytime soon. I got a triple barrel at River Jetties, which I don’t think’s ever happened to me there. After that I drove up north to Santa Cruz to stay with Nelly and get ready for the Cold Water Classic. He’s such an amazing friend. We’ve been doing this for 20 years now and we still are able to get up at first light and go chase waves. It’s a blessing. We surfed the Lane a little. But most of the time we’re out looking for our own spots outside of town. There are so many waves up around that area. Nelly has such a good read on what the conditions are doing and where we should be and when. We’ve spent every day of this swell on the move…there’s hardly been time for afternoon golf. To be honest I’m pretty sore. I think I’m a little surfed out.”

Josh Mulcoy, Santa Cruz
“I’ve moved part-time up to Canada, but have been in Santa Cruz and for the last 10 days it’s been nonstop surf. I never surf the Lane or the point. I spent most of my time up the coast. Had a few good mornings at one of my favourite spots up the coast with just the friends I came with. The water’s unbelievably warm, I was shocked. The weather’s super warm too. I guess it truly was summer for the locals.”


More swell on the way, be sure to stretch. Photo: Fred Tracey/ A-Frame


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