This is a strange swell. Two different breaks; two different swells.
Here is a screenshot of the Surfline report for Sandspit, in Santa Barbara, California yesterday afternoon as the new swell worked its way down from north to south along the coast. Looks kinda fun, right? Typical winter swell, right?
It was amusing to watch it in live action. The dense crowd looked like a flock of ducks fighting the current in a river. They would all paddle with their noses in the same direction, even though the current was much stronger and faster than they could hope to paddle against. They would all paddle toward the jetty. Then the backwash would suck them all out and to the left. Like the ducks, no real chance to paddle into the ideal position. Just turn and go. If you got in the right spot, you were assured of a fun little barrel. If not, you either became one with the backwash, flying into the air, or you were dropped into the sand with the surfer next to you scrambling to get out of the way. The swell direction seemed pretty good for Sandspit.
Looking for good waves along the coast to the south, they were few and far between. They either had size and lousy shape or they were too small to be fun. Something was just a little strange about the swell’s behavior.
Then, this morning it happened.
Our favorite spot lit up!
Strangely enough, the strong typhoon-driven swell from the W/WNW that closed the North Shore (Hawaii) beaches manifested itself as more of a southwest swell. As with most west swells, just a couple degrees of direction can dramatically change where the waves will be good and where they won’t even show up. I guess it mixed in with a little bit of pure south swell. As a result, Surfline is calling Trestles “Good” today, a designation seldom used in this area.
Most of us usually don’t like a “Good” designation because it tends to draw a bigger crowd to deal with, but it sure is fun to see our favorite spot start the summer season a little early. So, come on down and join The Crowd.