Of Course There’s A Weed And Waves Festival In Bolinas
Those NorCal hippies are at it again.
Rumbling down 101, armed with a new California’s driver’s license and a white ’82 Volvo sedan that had limo tinted windows and drove like a tank, we were headed south to Bolinas.
Having convinced a couple of high school friends to join what I promised was a cosmic intersection, we were on a mission to score outside our regular northern haunt, Bodega Bay. It’s 1993, well before the Internet, cell phones and accurate surf forecasts. The book “Surfing California” by the legendary Bank Wright and whatever hints we got from the salty NorCal locals was our guide.
After a few wrong turns—there are no road signs for Bolinas—we found our way to the town’s main drag. Buffeted from the brunt of the North Pacific’s turbulence by the Bolinas Bay and Bolinas Lagoon, when nearby Stinson Beach is dreary and out of control, it was immediately apparent Bolinas provided a more protected option. Bohemian with omnipresent psychedelic vibes, and only 20 miles north of San Francisco, it’s a world unto itself.
The scene at Weed and Waves 2019, Bolinas, California. Photo courtesy Jeremy Portje/Marin Independent Journal
We suited up and jumped in the water, making the most of the three-foot semi-closeouts. It wasn’t the epic surf we’d been cackling about for the last hour, but it was fun…and it got better.
Huddled together, waiting for sets, we noticed somebody riding a horse down the beach—a woman, in the shorebreak, astride on a bareback mare. Topless. Her breasts bounced vigorously.
It was pure teenage delight. Surfing, hippy tits. Like bare breasts in the wind, Bolinas was wide open.
Last weekend, the town of 1,600 played host to its first annual Weed and Waves Festival, a free affair put on by the cannabis delivery service Marin Gardens and 2 Mile Surf Shop, in conjunction with the Bolinas Commons. As its name would suggest, the event is focused on ganja and getting barreled.
Don’t mind if we do. Photo courtesy Jeremy Portje/Marin Independent Journal
In true NorCal form, it was a blustery, soggy day, with shit surf, but nevertheless, the beach was cleaned, Patrick Trefz’s film “Surfers’ Blood” was screened, art shows were wandered through, music played loudly over the airwaves, purveyors of pot shared wares.
The scene at Bolinas continues to evolve since my first visit 25 years ago, and some have been critical of the slow but inevitable influx of visitors and attention to the area, driven by tech cash and hipster appeal. But Bolinas seems to be able to take care of itself. The town has a history of doing its own thing. There is no official website or point of contact in the municipality. Road signs pointing to the town are religiously torn down.
Over the years it’s attracted a diverse and creative cast of characters, including Beat hero and founder of City Lights Book Shop Lawrence Ferlinghetti. When the Haight got too hot in the ‘60s, Grace Slick of the Jefferson Airplane hid out in the hills, too. Jerry Garcia of the Grateful Dead relocated to Stinson in ’71. His wife at the time, Mountain Girl, famously kept a healthy herb garden.
More recently, Joel Coen of Coen Brothers fame, and surfy artist Barry McGee, have found inspiration in the free-thinking, free-wheeling atmosphere.
In 2003, Bolinas voted to declare itself “a socially acknowledged nature-loving town.” So there’s that.
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