Coming at you live from Santa Barbara – Less ice but hopefully more tubes

My wife and I may have left our hearts in San Francisco (along with a pretty nice rent controlled apartment!), but we left ’em for the beautiful beaches of Central California. From here on in the new outpost for Ice Tubes West is Santa Barbara, CA.

We’ve been here for about one week, and I’ve already scored some nice little waves. While it’s been flat since then my alternative to surfing is to bike to the beach for a dip in the ocean, which I did today in my board shorts on a balmy November afternoon :-)

santa barbara leadbetter beach

Just Left Warm Water And Big Waves In New York For Colder Water And Smaller Waves In California

All the surf mag Instagrams are posting about the waves in New York last week. I was lucky and happened to be on Long Island when all the action was happening. Today I was back in San Francisco. The weather was great. Hot day at Ocean Beach kinda great, but the waves were tiny little suckers. Fine by me, but funny how the Atlantic had all the energy and warmth while the Pacific was doing just enough to let you surf.

Here are a few shots from today. I got out smack in the middle of the workday on account of me being in between jobs at the moment, so while it wasn’t all too awesome it was nice surfing OB somewhat to myself.


doug bottom turn ob 10.6


Of Course I Surf, I Grew Up On An Island

I moved to California over ten years ago, but I began surfing way before then – in New York. Whenever a landlocked person or someone adverse to the ocean asks me how long I’ve been surfing they’re usually amazed when I tell them it’s been almost a couple decades. To which I then inform the inquisitive person that I did, in fact, grow up on an island.

Well, I’m back on the island this week and was welcomed home to rippable surf. My brother and I shredded Gilgo on Monday, returned for more on Tuesday but had to give good old Robert Moses a try due to the rising tide. The swell was pretty scattered – a la Ocean Beach, San Francisco – but still plenty rippable.

Chris is the guy going left in the first photo below, and I’m doing my best stalled out turn in the pic that follows.

You may have longer periods of flat spells depending on which island you grew up or current live on, but let’s be sure about one thing – if you’re on an island you better be surfing.

Watch Out for Spearfishermen in the Lineup

ocean beach spear fisherman

This seems crazy. I know almost nothing about spearfishing, but would assume that good visibility in the water is a necessity for identifying a fish and being able to propel a spear directly towards it. I’ve opened my eyes during plenty of duck dives at Ocean Beach and didn’t see much more than the nose of my board. There wasn’t anyone surfing when this guy slowly made his way into the ocean, although three people did paddle out once the spearfisherman made it past the break. I felt I should have told the surfers about the guy snorkeling around them with a really sharp projectile object, but I guess that’s just part of the fun of surfing Ocean Beach.

Jaws Themed Surf Van

jaws vw surf van

Ocean Beach, SF, CA, is a fun, let’s say, place to surf. It’s also a great place to see all sorts of weird things. After a pretty lackluster but expected start to summer surf conditions here in northern California I scored some fun waves on a Sunday before the 4th of July weekend. While I was driving home I passed this Volks surf van as the owner was getting out to pick up a coffee across the street. Doubt I’m the first person to photograph this guy’s Jaws inspired artwork of a vehicle, but if you look closely I capture the owner’s dog in the back left window and it looks like the little guy is about to become shark food!

Ocean Beach Local

pelican at ocean beach

I’ve been taking our camera to more places with me recently. For every 50 shots there are five that turn out Ok. This was a good one. I know so because I posted it on the Gram and an honest to god photographer told me it was a “great photo!” So there’s that. The waves at OB were horrible, as they have been since its spring. The beach is still a fun place to pass time with a Tecate, camera, wife and dog.

My Hipster Surf Quiver Is Complete

surf mat

I’ve been sitting on this post for a long time and I’m not sure why. I completed my hipster surf quiver back in January on a trip to Guerneville.

The town’s five and dime was showcasing this surf mat in its window, and I happened to be strolling by when it caught my eye.

I’ve surfed a wooden board for a couple years now thanks to my brother Chris gifting it to me after he brought it out to San Francisco with him on a trip. Now, with a surf mat, my hipster quiver is whole.

The mat’s inflated for this photo, but I’ve yet to surf on it (which is pretty hipster).

A Swell View Of A Swell

Temps are high, surf is high, and I’m high (up that is). 15ft+ swells hit the Northern Californian coastline this weekend, and you get a good sense of the size of the waves if you see them from the top of the Marin Headlands. That horseshoe of swell in the center of the photo is about one mile away from colliding with Ocean Beach (upper left).

Bike Light Backpack

Caught this guy on the commute home the other night. Kinda entertaining. At first I didn’t want to try and film while I was riding but the camera work looks pretty smooth!

Sometimes In San Francisco There’s No Telling What The Surf Is Doing


San Francisco is a foggy place. So much so, the fog here has its own Twitter handle. Heck, the city of Chicago sees more ideal beach weather days than San Francisco. Nonetheless, we have waves and waves trump sunshine (if you must choose one).

One other thought here… How many waves has a surf cam caused you to miss out on? You open your computer browser and the surf doesn’t look worth a drive to the beach so you call it a day and do something out of the water. A crumby wave is better than no wave, yea… So thanks Karl, for the Ok waves last week. Wouldn’t have caught ’em without you.


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