Santa Barbara Surfari Jan ’07


Posted on Feb 25, 2007 by PPSC in Surfaris. Comments Off on Santa Barbara Surfari Jan ’07

Lisaryner
By Lisa Ryner
The Pedro Point Surf Club Safari to Santa Barbara led by Roy “Radar” Earnest for 25 years now, falls on Martin Luther King weekend every year. This was just the kind of road trip I have been yearning to do more of, so much so that I recently sold my trusty Honda sedan for a Honda Odyssey minivan that I could both sleep in and easily carry surfboards and camping gear. Besides, winter is a great time to travel the California coast – usually pretty good weather, sizable NW swells and no need to book campsites 6 months in advance. So I marked the weekend on my calendar and even requested a couple of vacation days at work to make it a long weekend. Lucky for me, my partner Joel Swartz wanted to join me for the trip. Joel is an amazing open water swimmer and surfs pretty good for someone who only takes a board out into the ocean occasionally.

The weekend was forecasted to be one of the coldest on record especially for central California. In addition, I was still recovering from a nasty cold, so the day before we were due to head south I seriously thought about not making the trip — camping and surfing in freezing weather didn’t seem like a smart or pleasant thing to do while sick. So instead I looked into going up to Napa or Sonoma for a day of spa treatments. When asking for suggestions from a work colleague (who incidentally grew up in Santa Barbara) I got a recommendation for a spa/mineral springs resort in San Luis Obispo instead of Napa. Sycamore Mineral Springs of Avila Beach is only a 2.5 hour drive from Pacifica. What a great suggestion! This would be most of the way to Santa Barbara and if a night of hot tubbing, wellness treatments and fine dining made me feel up to it, we could continue south to hook up with the PPSC gang in Santa Barbara the next day. So we went.

We left Pacifica Friday 11am and made a stop in San Juan Bautista to visit an ex-neighbor who proceeded to show us around town. What a quaint and historical old town and mission! Scenes in Hitchcock’s “Vertigo” were filmed there – I’ll definitely have to watch it again now that I’ve been there. A worthwhile stop, but oops, we misjudged our timing and barely made it to Sycamore Mineral Springs in time for our pre-scheduled massages at 4pm. By-the-way, they were fantastic (and so was dinner at the resort restaurant).

The next morning after taking 3 more hot mineral bath soaks in the private tub on our deck, enjoying a gourmet breakfast with fresh fruit smoothies in the resort dining room, and Joel calling his longtime surfer friend in Half Moon Bay to gloat about how he could get used to these hardcore surf trips, we headed south with a short detour to check the surf in Pismo Beach.
Checkingthesurfpismo
The surf at Pismo looked really clean and fun, especially south of the pier, but after making a call to Roy we decided to head down to Rincon where the PPSC gang was planning to paddle-out.

During the drive Joel was kicking himself for not bringing a Maverick’s sticker to give to a local Rincon surfer. Last year a local gave him a Rincon Pit Crew sticker on Christmas day and he wanted to return the favor. That Rincon sticker is now proudly displayed by a Linda Mar dawn patrol surfer who collects stickers for his surf mobile and is struggling with cancer.

By the time we got to the parking lot at Rincon, Roy was making his way back up the hill with his board on his back and the others (Mike Ryan and Tom Ferro) followed shortly. They had had a fun session with dolphins in the water and a light crowd. I was surprised to find out that these three were the whole PPSC gang. After discussing whether Roy had enough ahi to feed us all that night,, Joel and I suited up and headed down the path to the surf.

We also saw dolphins and enjoyed waist high lumpy surf textured with a bit of wind chop. The crowd was indeed light and mellow until a couple of guys paddled-out in skin – yes skin! And as you can imagine not the water, nor the air, were warm. Were they crazy? One guy took a wave and that was it – he headed back to shore. The other guy it turns out actually only had the top of his wetsuit off, tied around his waist, and he clearly wasn’t a kook – made nice longboard maneuvers, was noseriding, etc, and took more than his share of waves. In fact, when Joel and I decided to go in and I was lucky to catch one of the bigger waves of the session, this same guy takes off inches down the line from me totally destroying any chance I had of making any maneuvers of my own and I couldn’t shake him no matter how close I rode behind him. It could have been the best wave of my session if it weren’t for him. Oh well, the wave took me all the way inside and overall the vibe in the water was relatively sharing. On the way back up the hill a couple of young surfers with shortboards exchanged pleasantries with us and informed us that “that guy snakes everyone, so don’t take it personally”.

Cold and hungry we got out of our wetsuits – wishing we had remembered to fill our gallon jugs with hot mineral spring water from the spa – and ate leftovers in the Rincon parking lot.

Before heading to Refugio we stopped at the Lazy Acres Grocery for provisions. This place is a healthy food lovers dream, similar to Whole Foods, but even pricier. We fondly call Whole Foods: “Whole Paycheck” and we now call Lazy Acres: “Whole Paycheck and a Half”.

Arriving at the campsites we found that Alp, his wife Elizabeth and their two dogs, Cassidy and Melvin, were also part of the PPSC Safari gang. Alp was in the water catching a sunset session on what looked like hip high waves all to himself.

Dinner was a communal affair with chopped ahi in pasta with red sauce around the campfire. Tom supplied some superb wine – the bottle I brought was re-corked after tasting Tom’s. The meal was excellent. The campfire grew as Elizabeth continued to stoke it. Our growing fire attracted a neighboring couple who joined our group. All kinds of great stories were being told of previous surf safaris and other adventures around the warmth of the fire.

Aroundthecampfire
Stories around the fire (photo by L.Ryner)

After a starlit walk on the beach we all hit the sack for a good night’s sleep. Joel and I were very toasty in the minivan with double flannel sheets, sleeping bags and extra blankets. In the morning the thermometer on the inside of the minivan read 37 degrees – we were thankful that neither of us had to make a potty run during the night.

For breakfast I made a pot of hot oatmeal and Elizabeth and Alp supplied sausages and croissants. Breakfast was an extended affair while the sun got higher in the sky and warmed the day. It was decided that we would check out “Campus Point” a relatively un-crowded point break on the UCSB campus (duh).
Breakfastrefugio
Breakfast is served (photo by L.Ryner)

Once we all finally got in our vehicles, dogs and surfers alike securely seat-belted, our caravan of 4 surf mobiles made the drive to Campus Point. The surf there was really tiny, but with nice shape and no one on it. Next we caravanned to Deveruex’s, one of Roy’s favorite secret spots on the other side of the campus. The surf there was bigger and very glassy due to the kelp beds. Alp, Joel and I decided to suit up and test the waters here. Roy, Mike and Tom decided to head back to Campus Point. I think we made the better call.

Groupcheckingsurfdevereuxs2
Groupcheckingsurfdevereuxs_4
Checking the surf at Deveruex’s (photos by L.Ryner)

We started out by riding a few small waves on the reef straight down from the path, but the waves at the point seemed bigger, so Alp and I paddled that way. Turns out the lowering tide and thick kelp made successfully riding these waves very difficult, so after many attempts I finally headed back to the inside where I found Joel with a huge grin on his face and barely having time to catch his breath between riding wave after wave by himself. Seeing how happy he was the highlight of that session for me.

The sun was getting low and it was time for Joel and me to pack it up and head back to the Pacifica. We left the water, with Alp still surfing and Elizabeth walking the dogs. We took a souvenir rock from the beach with two nice barnacle holes in it that we thought would make a good toothbrush holder (later it disintegrated on my bathroom counter – oh well).

On the way out of town we stopped at a roadside cafÇ in Goleta called the Timber Farm CafÇ for some late lunch and found the place deserted, but supposedly open and serving food. The building was constructed of old timbers from an oil pier. The walls were at least a foot thick of solid wood timber and the place was expansive with a dance floor and banquet room adjoining the already large lunch room.

An empty restaurant usually makes me worry about the quality of the food, but we were hungry so took a chance. Turns out the sandwiches were great — made with freshly baked bread, noticeably farm fresh ingredients and freshly grilled tri-tip or chicken – yum! I hope I can find the place again someday (right off the freeway in Goleta).

The drive home was pleasant and took just about 4 hours. That night we slept in the comfort of our own bed, very satisfied with our little surf adventure made so special by the people (and dogs) participating in the ’07 PPSC Santa Barbara Safari. Thanks Roy! We’d definitely do it again.

This year’s trip fell on a weekend that was forecasted to be one of the coldest on record especially for central California. In addition, I was still recovering from a nasty cold, so the day before we were due to head south I seriously thought about not making the trip — camping and surfing in freezing weather didn’t seem like a smart or pleasant thing to do while sick. So instead I looked into going up to Napa or Sonoma for a day of spa treatments. When asking for suggestions from a work colleague (who incidentally grew up in Santa Barbara) I got a recommendation for a spa/mineral springs resort in San Luis Obispo instead of Napa. Sycamore Mineral Springs of Avila Beach is only a 2.5 hour drive from Pacifica. What a great suggestion! This would be most of the way to Santa Barbara and if a night of hot tubbing, wellness treatments and fine dining made me feel up to it, we could continue south to hook up with the PPSC gang in Santa Barbara the next day. So we went.

We left Pacifica Friday 11am and made a stop in San Juan Bautista to visit an ex-neighbor who proceeded to show us around town. What a quaint and historical old town and mission! Scenes in Hitchcock’s “Vertigo” were filmed there – I’ll definitely have to watch it again now that I’ve been there. A worthwhile stop, but oops, we misjudged our timing and barely made it to Sycamore Mineral Springs in time for our pre-scheduled massages at 4pm. By-the-way, they were fantastic (and so was dinner at the resort restaurant).

The next morning after taking 3 more hot mineral bath soaks in the private tub on our deck, enjoying a gourmet breakfast with fresh fruit smoothies in the resort dining room, and Joel calling his longtime surfer friend in Half Moon Bay to gloat about how he could get used to these hardcore surf trips, we headed south with a short detour to check the surf in Pismo Beach. The surf at Pismo looked really clean and fun, especially south of the pier, but after making a call to Roy we decided to head down to Rincon where the PPSC gang was planning to paddle-out.

During the drive Joel was kicking himself for not bringing a Maverick’s sticker to give to a local Rincon surfer. Last year a local gave him a Rincon Pit Crew sticker on Christmas day and he wanted to return the favor. That Rincon sticker is now proudly displayed by a Linda Mar dawn patrol surfer who collects stickers for his surf mobile and is struggling with cancer.

By the time we got to the parking lot at Rincon, Roy was making his way back up the hill with his board on his back and the others (Mike Ryan and Tom Ferro) followed shortly. They had had a fun session with dolphins in the water and a light crowd. I was surprised to find out that these three were the whole PPSC gang. After discussing whether Roy had enough ahi to feed us all that night,, Joel and I suited up and headed down the path to the surf.

We also saw dolphins and enjoyed waist high lumpy surf textured with a bit of wind chop. The crowd was indeed light and mellow until a couple of guys paddled-out in skin – yes skin! And as you can imagine not the water, nor the air, were warm. Were they crazy? One guy took a wave and that was it – he headed back to shore. The other guy it turns out actually only had the top of his wetsuit off, tied around his waist, and he clearly wasn’t a kook – made nice longboard maneuvers, was noseriding, etc, and took more than his share of waves. In fact, when Joel and I decided to go in and I was lucky to catch one of the bigger waves of the session, this same guy takes off inches down the line from me totally destroying any chance I had of making any maneuvers of my own and I couldn’t shake him no matter how close I rode behind him. It could have been the best wave of my session if it weren’t for him. Oh well, the wave took me all the way inside and overall the vibe in the water was relatively sharing. On the way back up the hill a couple of young surfers with shortboards exchanged pleasantries with us and informed us that “that guy snakes everyone, so don’t take it personally”.

Cold and hungry we got out of our wetsuits – wishing we had remembered to fill our gallon jugs with hot mineral spring water from the spa – and ate leftovers in the Rincon parking lot.

Before heading to Refugio we stopped at the Lazy Acres Grocery for provisions. This place is a healthy food lovers dream, similar to Whole Foods, but even pricier. We fondly call Whole Foods: “Whole Paycheck” and we now call Lazy Acres: “Whole Paycheck and a Half”.

Arriving at the campsites we found that Alp, his wife Elizabeth and their two dogs, Cassidy and Melvin, were also part of the PPSC Safari gang. Alp was in the water catching a sunset session on what looked like hip high waves all to himself.

Dinner was a communal affair with chopped ahi in pasta with red sauce around the campfire. Tom supplied some superb wine – the bottle I brought was re-corked after tasting Tom’s. The meal was excellent. The campfire grew as Elizabeth continued to stoke it. Our growing fire attracted a neighboring couple who joined our group. All kinds of great stories were being told of previous surf safaris and other adventures around the warmth of the fire.

Stories around the fire (photo by L.Ryner)

After a starlit walk on the beach we all hit the sack for a good night’s sleep. Joel and I were very toasty in the minivan with double flannel sheets, sleeping bags and extra blankets. In the morning the thermometer on the inside of the minivan read 37 degrees – we were thankful that neither of us had to make a potty run during the night.

For breakfast I made a pot of hot oatmeal and Elizabeth and Alp supplied sausages and croissants. Breakfast was an extended affair while the sun got higher in the sky and warmed the day. It was decided that we would check out “Campus Point” a relatively un-crowded point break on the UCSB campus (duh).

Breakfast is served (photo by L.Ryner)

Once we all finally got in our vehicles, dogs and surfers alike securely seat-belted, our caravan of 4 surf mobiles made the drive to Campus Point. The surf there was really tiny, but with nice shape and no one on it. Next we caravanned to Deveruex’s, one of Roy’s favorite secret spots on the other side of the campus. The surf there was bigger and very glassy due to the kelp beds. Alp, Joel and I decided to suit up and test the waters here. Roy, Mike and Tom decided to head back to Campus Point. I think we made the better call.

Checking the surf at Deveruex’s (photo by L.Ryner)

We started out by riding a few small waves on the reef straight down from the path, but the waves at the point seemed bigger, so Alp and I paddled that way. Turns out the lowering tide and thick kelp made successfully riding these waves very difficult, so after many attempts I finally headed back to the inside where I found Joel with a huge grin on his face and barely having time to catch his breath between riding wave after wave by himself. Seeing how happy he was the highlight of that session for me.

The sun was getting low and it was time for Joel and me to pack it up and head back to the Pacifica. We left the water, with Alp still surfing and Elizabeth walking the dogs. We took a souvenir rock from the beach with two nice barnacle holes in it that we thought would make a good toothbrush holder (later it disintegrated on my bathroom counter – oh well).

Walking the dogs (photo by L.Ryner)

On the way out of town we stopped at a roadside cafÇ in Goleta called the Timber Farm CafÇ for some late lunch and found the place deserted, but supposedly open and serving food. The building was constructed of old timbers from an oil pier. The walls were at least a foot thick of solid wood timber and the place was expansive with a dance floor and banquet room adjoining the already large lunch room.

An empty restaurant usually makes me worry about the quality of the food, but we were hungry so took a chance. Turns out the sandwiches were great — made with freshly baked bread, noticeably farm fresh ingredients and freshly grilled tri-tip or chicken – yum! I hope I can find the place again someday (right off the freeway in Goleta).

The drive home was pleasant and took just about 4 hours. That night we slept in the comfort of our own bed, very satisfied with our little surf adventure made so special by the people (and dogs) participating in the ’07 PPSC Santa Barbara Safari. Thanks Roy! We’d definitely do it again.




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