The Top Springtime Surf Destinations

A reef slab somewhere in NSW, Australia.

A reef slab somewhere in NSW, Australia.

In the past few weeks little pulses of southern hemisphere swell energy have lit up the reefs, points and beaches of the Pacific Coast from Chile to Canada. San Diego does especially well this time of the year with combo swells firing up beach breaks across the county. Here’s a guide to your best travel choices to catch springtime swells.

Trestles: You’re going to fight crowds and the some of the world’s best surfers at the top of their game. But if you want to surf some of the best lined up waves designed for high-performance surfing, than Trestles—Middles, Lowers, Uppers, and Cottons—is the best game around. Don’t like crowds—then surf at midnight. Just remember that we all need to fight to Save Trestles.

WCT surfer Heitor Alves was ripping. He made this.

WCT surfer Heitor Alves was ripping at Trestles. He made this.

San Diego County Beachbreaks: Our more than 70 miles of coastline suck in combo swells this time of the year. Beachbreaks especially do well in the springtime when multi-directional ground and wind swells can make random beachies fire for a couple of hours or a few days.

Baja: Southern Baja can light up with southern hemi swells. The surf can go from flat to overhead in a few hours and then die just as fast. Winds are notoriously fickle on the Pacific side and water temps plummet through June. The dreaded northeasterly winds on the East Cape can kill your epic session in about five minutes. Baja has a rhythm all its own but bring along a fishing pole, SUP, and a friendly attitude, you won’t be sorry.

Serge Dedina dawn patrols remote Baja

Serge Dedina dawn patrols remote Baja

Vancouver Island: Snow capped peaks, bald eagles, friendly surfers, fun beachbreaks and mysto reefs, along with great springtime snowboard and ski runs make this Canadian adventure outpost worth a visit. Great food and arguably some of the most beautiful surfing vistas on the planet make this island and its wave-riding capital of Tofino one of the most unusual and worthwhile surf destinations in North America.

It is cold but beautiful on Vancouver Island. Somewhere near Tofino.

It is cold but beautiful on Vancouver Island. Somewhere near Tofino.

Mainland Mexico: Pick a point or beachbreak. There is a reason why some of the world’s best and bravest surfers flock to iconic and heavy waves like Pascuales and Zicatela. There is no other location on the planet where you can as easily and cheaply score barrels that can spit you out into the light of day or grind you into the sand. The mellow points and reefs of Punta de Mita, Saladita and Sayulita offer a more fun reality for less danger inclined surfers. All in all, mainland Mexico is arguably the most cost effective and wave-worthy destination on the planet. If you’re adventurous there are thousands of miles (literally) of wave-rich coastline that largely go unridden.

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Central and South America: Pick a country. Chile for long left points and the opportunity to ski and board early season snow. Peru for even longer lefts and the world’s best ceviche. Nicaragua for offshore A-frames and El Salvador for perfect but crowded right points. Ecuador is the newest surf destination with warm water, consistent waves and a friendly vibe.

Australia and New Zealand: Unfortunately prices have shot up, so make plans to camp and cook your own food, but with some of the world’s most beautiful and iconic landscapes and diversity of waves, Oz and Kiwi-Land are great surf and adventure travel destinations.

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Why you travel to Australia-it doesn’t get any better than this.

So get out there. Whether you’re at La Jolla Shores, Bells or Chicama, remember that the more experiences and adventures you have, the happier you will be. And congrats to Brazilian surfer turned San Clemente local Adriano de Souza for his victory at the Bells Rip Curl Pro and all of the other ASP surfers for putting in awe-inspiring performances at one the world’s most iconic surf contest venues.

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My Surf Mum

 

Me, my mother and my brother Nicky in West Hollywood before a wedding in 1979.

I wrote about my mother recently in a Surf Mum posting. I spent a lot of time with my mother before she passed away. But as I wrote in my story about her, much of my childhood was spent at the beach with in the company of my mother, my dad and brother Nick.


Josephine Alexandra Fournier Dedina, 73, passed away at her home near the beach Feb. 23 from ovarian cancer. Known as Jo to family and friends, she lived in Imperial Beach with her husband of 54 years, Michel Dedina.

She was born in London, England, in 1937, the youngest of three daughters of Lou and Dorothy Fournier.

My mother and father on their wedding day in 1957 in New York City.

German bombing raids during World War II and the experience of being evacuated to the north of England later influenced her anti-war and environmental activism as well as a future career on behalf of children’s welfare.Upon moving to Imperial Beach with her family in 1971, Jo quickly became involved in ultimately successful efforts to preserve the Tijuana Estuary from development, during which time Jo met Mike and Patricia McCoy.

“I really loved her. I really did,” Patricia said.

The two woman had a lot in common. Both grew up in World War II England and shared a “wicked” sense of humor and love for the environment and justice.

“It’s hard to put it into words but she was a very spirited and principled person, and she taught her boys to fight for what was true and right and I think that it shows,” Patricia said. “She brought them up to respect these things, people rights and that sort of thing.”

My mother and my little brother Nicky at Carlsbad State Beach in the late 1960s.

In 1974, Jo and her family moved to El Salvador in Central America for a year.

There, she volunteered in an orphanage. The poverty and injustice witnessed played a role in her decision to earn a law degree at the Thomas Jefferson School of Law.

For 30 years, Jo specialized in juvenile justice to aid children and families across San Diego County as a public defender and judge pro tem.

The Dedinas traveled widely and lived in Paris, London, New York City, the Cornish Coast of England, Los Angeles, El Salvador and Morocco.

My brother Nicky, my mother, my Swiss Uncle Emile Moura and me. San Felipe around 1972 or 73.

Both warmhearted and quick-witted, Jo loved cooking and entertaining for family and friends.

After retiring, she spent time gardening, doting on her three grandsons, reading mystery novels and doing the daily crossword puzzle. She loved visiting family abroad, before advancing multiple sclerosis made travel too difficult.

Family members, including her niece, Zena and her husband, Martin Bray, frequently traveled from England to Imperial Beach to see her and help care for her as her health declined.

“She kept her spirit until the end and she never let people see it get her down except for close friends,” Patricia said.

Jo is survived by her husband, Michel Dedina, their two sons, Serge and Nick, and three grandsons, Israel, Daniel and Paolo.

A memorial service will be held Sunday, March 6 from 1–4 p.m. at the Dempsey Holder Safety Center in Imperial Beach in the lifeguard station.

In lieu of flowers, please send donations to the Imperial Beach Boys & Girls Club.

First Trips to Mexico and Central America

When I was a kid back in the early and mid-70s I traveled and lived in Mexico and Central America.

In 1972 I visited San Felipe with my Uncle Emile and Aunt Jill who were visiting from Switzerland.

Then in 1974, my dad loaded up a Ford Econoline Van and our family headed south to El Salvador for a year, traveling through Guatemala and Belize. What an incredible trip.

Another view of the market

Image via Wikipedia

We visited the ruins in Tikal and Palenque and wandered around Chichicastenango with an Indian family.

When I started surfing my dad took me and my best friend Tim Hannan on our first Baja surfari that included surfing with dolphins, gray whales and riding perfect right point waves.

In 1982 at the age of 18, I took a trip to Michoacan with Imperial Beach Lifeguards Richard Abrams and Jim Sullivan. The waves at Ticla were dreamy 6′-8′ A-frames. We even got chased out of the water by a giant hammerhead shark.

The trip occurred right before I started my freshman year UCSD. Our airline tickets cost $80 roundtrip. They were super cheap because we purchased them just after Mexico’s horrible peso devaluation and prices hadn’t yet been adjusted.

When a bunch of locals, some with pistols tucked in their pants, went on a Mexican Independence Day borrachera, I got a little nervous. But we got home okay. 

It is still one of the best surf trips I have ever been on.

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