Would You Rather Chase Big Lumps Or Novelty Corners? - Stab Mag

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A certified member of the "Lumber Division". Photo by Christopher Schade

Would You Rather Chase Big Lumps Or Novelty Corners?

After a brief reprieve between stormy bouts of rain and swell, California’s current atmospheric river looks to continue providing both.

news // Jan 8, 2023
Words by Holden Trnka
Reading Time: 2 minutes

You might have heard a thing or two about the “atmospheric river” that has drenched, flooded, and destroyed much of Califonia’s coastline. Sorta hard to not hear about it. 

As reported by the Associated Press, “Successive powerful weather systems have knocked out power to thousands, battered the coastline, flooded streets, toppled trees and caused at least six deaths.”

A support piling from Capitola Pier takes up new residence inside Zelda’s restaurant. Photo by New York Post

Despite the mass devastation, the only thing that moves the needle for us surfers is waves. And, as the “bomb cyclone” faded and the unruly swell pulled itself together, a variety of Southern and Central California surf spots lit up. 

Yesterday morning, Blacks Beach was a gladiatorial arena — a deathmatch between men with two leash plugs and hulking walls of water. At the same time, Seal Beach’s shorepound triangles were being attended to by Kelly Slater, whose presence was the talk of the town.

If you live in California, it’s been pretty hard not to score these last few days — especially if you’re partial to fickle novelty waves.

On ordinary swells, we end up seeing photos of the same spots on repeat, while the “secret” spots of the world go unphotographed — as they should. 

However, this hasn’t been an ordinary swell and, refreshingly, a handful of spots that usually lie dormant (aka “novelty waves”) have received a rare influx of wavelength energy, and our feeds are now full of often unseen coves.

This swell provided hundreds of surfers the opportunity to surf their local harbors, inlets, and southeasterly facing coves which usually — maybe even for years at a time — resemble a lake.

And it’s not quite done yet. After a brief reprieve, it looks like another handful of large-to-frightening sized storms are bearing down on the Golden State.

“A very active weather pattern across the Pacific Ocean will continue to push energetic and fast-moving low pressure systems toward the West Coast,” the National Weather Service said. “California continues to take the brunt of the heavy precipitation and strong winds associated with these systems as we head into the first full weekend of 2023.”

Where you gonna surf?

More importantly, where’s James Slades gonna surf?


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