Four friends, one ginormous city, and the new year. What better way to bring in 2016 then with a last minute trip up the coast? And how bad could things get with a good-sized swell headed right for Ocean Beach?
Well...it didn’t take long for things to get interesting. Not even 40 minutes into our trip, Keegan realized he had forgotten his wetsuit at the house, so we had to turn around. (Are you kidding me!?). In his defense, we had left the house at 3:00am and he had gotten off work at 2. Straight from an 8 hour night shift into a crammed Ford Focus stacked with coats, surfboards, and soaking wet wetsuits from the day before. We turned around in Santa Barbara, floored in back to Camarillo, and grabbed a few essentials and we were off again.
Fast forward, another 3 hours and things got even more hectic. Just on the other side of San Luis Obispo (in the middle of nowhere) we were 25 miles until empty and only 12 miles to the nearest gas station. I pulled into the far right lane, coasting at 55 mph, and hoped for the best. At 18 miles, the car started chugging and then the inevitable happened. We were stuck. It was 23 degrees outside, our car was packed to the brim, and we weren’t going anywhere. Do we call AAA or just start walking?
While all of us were sorting through our wallets trying to find our AAA cards, Tracy thought of calling one of our friends who was making the trip up to SF with us to see if they grab us some gas on their way. They were only 30 minutes behind us and said they’d pick some up. Four guys in a stuffed Ford Focus was pretty entertaining. It was in the mid-20s outside and being from southern California we thought it was going to start snowing at any second. (It never did.) After another 45 minutes, we finally linked up with our friends, filled up with a couple gallons, and moseyed on over to the nearest gas station.
We had been on the road for only 4 hours and we’d already forgotten a wetsuit, run out of gas, and we still had another 3 hours to go until we reached the city. It felt like we were driving and going no-where.
We drove another 2 and a half hours (after re-fueling a number of times) and we were finally starting to see signs for San Francisco. 100 miles away. 85 miles. 50. 20. And then we saw it. It was like we had all just run a marathon and we finally had the finish line in our sights.
We drove around for a bit to check out the sights then made it to where we were staying for the next 3 days and got to unpacking. It was roughly 2 o’clock at this point. Yes, I know we lagged. But the important part was that we made it and we were all in one piece. We got our boards and suits together and headed to the beach.
In the days leading up to the trip, we had been watching videos of pumping surf at Ocean Beach. 8-10ft barrels spitting their brains out. With the forecast looking favorable we were hoping for something similar. When we reached the parking lot, we were a bit stunned. Uhhhh, is this it? It was barely head high and there were only a handful of guys out. Why couldn’t we have pulled up to pumping OB?
We watched the waves for another 30 minutes and then Keegan and I finally had had enough and we were going to paddle out. Neither of us had surfed this far north before and we were prepped for the cold. Armed with booties, a fresh 4/3, and hoods, we ran down to the line-up. We started paddling out and saw a proper set roll through and things took a turn for the better. Wedge after wedge started rolling through and we were by ourselves.
With the skyline behind us and row after row of housing, we had never seen a more attractive backdrop for a session. We surfed for about an hour and had the time of our lives. That session will go down in history. It wasn’t that the waves or weather were perfect, but it was the progression of our trip.
We had forgotten a wetsuit, run out of gas, missed our exits off the freeway, and almost been in a number of car accidents, but we had finally completed what we had set out to do. It was the perfect day in the weirdest of ways, but it was a great way to cap off 2015.