02 September 2014

We Get Our Beach Back

Yesterday was Labor Day, the unofficial end of summer. The tourists are done touring, the workers are back at work, and the kids are in class again. So even though the sun had already risen into a clear sky by the time I reached the coast, the waves were much less cluttered with surfers than in quite some time.

In fact, from atop the bluff at Calumet Park, I could see only one other surfer at any of the breaks; at South Birdrock, a lonely guy waited patiently. And waited. There wasn't much going on, but I watched for a little while, just in case, while listening to the somehow peaceful cracks and clacks of the cobbles rolling in the shore break.
The steep and muddy path down to the cobblestone beach
There seems to be some ambiguity in the names of the breaks in this part of La Jolla, but I believe I've been surfing Hennemans, straight out from the park - although Franko's Map of San Diego Surfing calls it Hannamonds. To the south, before PB Point, is Hairmos. To the north, toward Birdrock, is Sewers. At least that's what my new friend Jason told me, but even he wasn't quite certain about it.
Hennemans, or Hannamonds
A couple of old dudes with dogs had been watching the surf, and one of them told me that only V-Wall seemed to have anything maybe rideable, with a few-wave set every 10 minutes or so. V-Wall, he said, is about 70 yards south of South Birdrock. Franko's also sticks a peak called Cindy's in that same area. It's kind of like Santa Cruz, with a plethora of named breaks in close proximity.
Ah, but a rose by any other name... did not smell as sweet this morning. So I headed on down the road to Crystal Pier. As I arrived, Howard was leaving the beach with his longboard tucked under his arm. He said the surf was pretty bad, but "The holiday's over and we've got our beach back!" Indeed, the testy mob I'd had the misfortune to surf with there at the start of the weekend was gone, replaced by the familiar faces of a handful of locals, including Hawaiian-looking Eddie (no way I'll forget his name), Brian, and a few others I know only by sight. One of those guys called over to me, "Hey, what's your name? I just know you as the girl with the MINI Cooper." His name turned out to be Harry, and he's a mechanic; with my car having just rolled 100K miles, I wished he'd had a waterproof business card stashed in his wetsuit.
Although the waves were more plentiful than at the reefs, they were weak, disorganized, and mostly walled. I paddled out next to the pier and directly into position for a little left, then waited a while to be in the right place again.
The water was warm and glassy, and studded with shimmery silver fish. Although I only found a few short shoulders, it was a lovely morning to be on the water, surrounded by a small group of friendly surfers chatting and sharing waves. No better way to start the day!


  1. I get confused with the "Hannamonds" & "Hennamens" name too. Different people say it different ways. Confuses the heck out of me.

    1. I wonder if Hennemans is just mumbled Hannamonds?