Stab Magazine | Uhhh...How Did California's Best Winter Swell Happen In Mid-June?

Uhhh…How Did California’s Best Winter Swell Happen In Mid-June?

From the lens and forensic mind of one Jimmy Wilson. 

news // Jun 10, 2020
Words by stab
Reading Time: 2 minutes

Ed. note: Something magical happened in Southern California yesterday. Naturally, Jimmy ‘Jimmicane’ Wilson was there to capture it. Swipe through his gallery above for a preview then read below for context. 

Some weird stuff has been going on this year, and that includes ocean activity.

Cristobal was the earliest third tropical storm on record in the Atlantic Hurricane Season. When I was in Florida last week, we even had a semi-proper Nor’Easter. I’ve never seen that happen in June and I’ve been paying attention to shit like this since the 6th grade. I’m 35 now, for reference. 

I flew back to California on Thursday knowing we had some waves coming, and it looked like the June Gloom pattern was finally going to break. On Saturday I checked the usual forecast sites and saw some really strong wind howling through the Channel Islands, so I reached out to the Gudangs and Dylan Graves to meet up early in Oceanside for Monday. It had the look of a solid winter windswell.

The first thing I saw around 5:30AM was Kolohe getting spit out of a double barrel, practically standing straight up. We were freaking out. Couldn’t get out there fast enough.


No feeling like it.

The best part was, Surfline had completely under-called it and the crowd was as minimal as I’ve seen for a day of that quality. I don’t know if they do this intentionally sometimes or not, but I wish they would. Surfline’s calls make a gigantic difference in crowds around here. 

The crew out there was about a dozen or so clued-in locals. Chris Abad was on it. Kolohe and Ian Crane drove down from San Clemente. All three G-boys, Dylan Graves, Alejandro Moreda, and Rylan Ruebens.

Everyone was getting ridiculous barrels. My photos honestly don’t even do it justice. I watched so many waves that I couldn’t shoot because I was battling a bitch of a current, and with the short period, there were a lot of waves blocking my vision that I was unable to document. 

The session lasted until about 8:30AM. By that time, more people were on it, but the tide was filling in and the wind picked up shortly after.

It felt like a full-on winter day. I’m not around to shoot every swell, but I didn’t experience a better session in Oceanside last winter. Super rare to see this happen in June and I know everyone out there felt pretty blessed to be scoring it. It’s usually bigger down south on swells like that, so I was even having a bit of FOMO while swimming thinking about what it was doing in front of my house, but for whatever reason, Oside had better wind and was way cleaner than everywhere. Sometimes you just get lucky I guess.


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