Our south county coast does very well on peaky combo wind swells. That is
why the fall is my favorite season in Southern California.
Last Tuesday, Nov. 9, was a classic morning. The South Side of the Imperial
Beach pier finally came alive. There were also peaks from the pier to the
Boc’s to be had.
On Wednesday my two groms Israel and Daniel patrolled the South Side.
Israel, a freshman at Coronado High School, said, “Matt Wilson was running
into the water yelling, ‘Barrels for breakfast.'”
On that morning, Zach Plopper, Ben McCue and I crossed the border early and
surf checked the TJ-Ensenada coast.
We settled on San Miguel for a session with no crowd and 2- to-4-foot crystal clear
waves. Just like Baja Norte is supposed to be.
Early Saturday morning, Israel, and my youngest son, Daniel, a seventh grader at
Coronado Middle School, departed for Ventura with surf dad extraordinaire
Jason Stutz, and his son Jake.
Jason called me later in the day and said, “The boys surfed with Dane
Reynolds at Emma Wood. I told them that we could go home. It doesn’t get
any better than that.”
Daniel said, “Dane is super cool. He was shredding and almost landed a
It was great to see Nado shredder surfer Taylor Jensen ripping it up in the
new surfing DVD, Fresh Fruit for Rotten Vegetables. I love watching Taylor’s new school approach to longboarding.
On Sunday morning I checked the surf at dawn and was surprised to see waves
breaking at the Sloughs. Chris Patterson and I surfed the shorebreak alone
Speaking of the Sloughs, Phillip “Flippy” Hoffman, a North Shore and Sloughs
pioneer, passed away on Nov. 10. Flippy surfed the Sloughs with Dempsey
Holder and a crew of Coronado surfers, including John Elwell and Chuck Quinn.
“Flippy often came down to IB to surf the Sloughs with Dempsey when my
brother Jim and I were just starting out,” said Jeff Knox. “We were very
impressed by his ability and his impish humor. He was an absolute classic.”
Dempsey’s grandson, Nado resident John Holder, is serving in the Peace Corps
in the Dominican Republic. He writes, “Been busy travelling around a bit and
trying to get things done here on this crazy island. Finally settled into my
cottage so I can sit and write and think in peace.”
John will be home for holidays and is looking forward to some surfing
solitude south of the border.
A chapter about the Sloughs and its pioneering surfers, including Dempsey and
Walter and Flippy Hoffman, John Elwell and Chuck Quinn, among others, can be found in my new book, Wild Sea: Eco-Wars and Surf Stories from the Coast of the Californias, which will be out just before Christmas.
Don’t forget to register for the 28th Annual J.R. Memorial Longboard Surf
Classic on Saturday, Nov. 27, 7 a.m. at the Coronado Shores parking lot.
This classic event, sponsored by the Coronado Surfing Association, is one of
the highlights of the surf season and is a benefit for the CHS and CMS surf
And finally—best of luck to the Islander Water Polo team during the
challenging CIF tournament. I really enjoyed my first year as a Nado H20
Polo dad (Israel played on the Frosh/Soph team), especially talking surf
with fellow polo and surf dads Chris Carroll, Howie Frese and Steve Merrill
during the games this season.
See you in the water.