Posts Tagged 'ocean beach'

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).

Java Beach Has Perfect Sized Coffee Cups

coffee cup at ocean beach san francisco

The waves at Ocean Beach today were a little too big for my tastes and abilities, but the coffee at Java Beach was perfect. The small sized coffee served at the beachfront cafe is an ideal 10 ounces. Just perfect. I prefer a medium sized wave and a 10 oz coffee.

This Is Why You Should Never Check The Surf Cam at Work

ocean beach san francisco surf cameravia ob-kc just before 10:00 on 1/13/14.

Just as you start settling into the five-day work week, it’s only a matter of time before you instinctively check the local surf cam. Today, I lasted a whole hour before visiting ob-kc for my fix, hoping it might be a sloppy mess not worth waking up for, but instead I saw an empty right hander peeling without a soul in the water. It apparently wasn’t as good as this still shot made it look, but all it takes is one good wave to make a session and this would’ve done it.

Frederick Knob To The Pacific Ocean

frederick knob ocean beach

The elevations in this town are crazy. Walk 20 seconds and you’re 50 ft higher from where you just were. On a clear day – a really clear day – you can see the Pacific Ocean from the top of Frederick Knob where it meets Buena Vista Park.

Posing For Tourists At Ocean Beach

I was surfing at Ocean Beach today, and it was good. I surfed for just over an hour and came in when I figured the drift pulled me up the beach enough. Ciji drove down with me and was enjoying the sunny day on a blanket down the beach where I first paddled out, so I had a little walk ahead of me to make it back to her.

Today was one of those days at Ocean Beach where you didn’t feel like you were at Ocean Beach. The sun was out. There wasn’t any wind, and the waves were cracking.

Sun is a huge variable when surfing Ocean Beach. Paddle outs seem less of a challenge when the sky’s blue. Bigger waves seem more makable. It was one of those days.

After a fun surf I had a big smile on my face as I made my way down the beach towards Ciji. I walked passed a group of ten or so middle-aged Asian women who were taking photos of the ocean like they’ve never seen it before. They all seemed just about as happy as I was.

As I got closer to the group of women, they turned their cameras on me. Dripping wet and holding a surfboard I probably looked pretty “California” to them.

One of the ladies ran directly in front of me and snapped a photo. She was maybe two feet away from me. I stopped. The smile on my face never went away, and I decided to acknowledge the impromptu but welcomed photo shoot by throwing up a peace sign with my hand.


It was as if the peace sign was an invitation for a full fledged photo shoot. Everyone of the women shrieked with joy when I stopped and made the peace sign.

Immediately I was surrounded by the entire group as one person took turns playing photographer while the other women gathered behind me. I stood with my surfboard holding a peace sign in the air for several clicks of the camera.

I asked the women where they were visiting from and was told China as they looked down at the screen of their cameras, reviewing the photos they just took with me.

I thanked them for bringing the nice weather to San Francisco during their trip, waved goodbye and made my way on down the beach.

Not a bad way to cap off a nice day in the ocean. I only wish I had one of the photos.

PVC Surfboard Rack For A Bicycle

Surfing in San Francisco is tough. The water is cold, the currents are strong, and I’ve been told there are sharks. If you don’t own a car, or have a buddy who owns one, the actual act of surfing in San Francisco is tough. It’s more than three miles from my apartment to Ocean Beach. I don’t own a car. I own a bike.

Since I moved to San Francisco I’ve had a love hate relationship with surfboard racks for bicycles. On the one hand they got me to the beach for a surf, but on the other hand they all had design flaws. If one rack didn’t require you to bolt it on your bicycle forever, the other would force you to turn you bicycle into a horse trailer. My favorite of them all is the rack that turns your bicycle into an SUV!

If your only mode of transportation is a bicycle, and you want to surf, it turns out your best option is to build a rack out of PVC pipe, glue, hose clamps, and pipe insulation. This entire surfboard rack can be built for under $20 (considering you already own a hacksaw and screwdriver) and with a slight design change you won’t have to permanently fix the rack to your bicycle. Here’s how I did it:

Slice up some 1″ tee sections of PVC (larger if your frame size calls for it) with a hacksaw and affix them to your bicycle frame with hose clamps. For extra grip between the tee sections and my bicycle frame I lined the inside of the tee sections with strips of old tire tubes.

Here’s what your bicycle is going to look like on a daily basis with this type of surfboard rack. The PVC tee sections are the only visible part on the bicycle at all times, and they’re super lightweight so you’ll barely notice they’re attached.

With about nine feet of PVC pipe, six elbow sections, and some PVC cement, you’ll be able to construct the arms of the rack that actually hold the surfboard.

Each bicycle frame and rider is different, so the sizes for these sections of the rack will vary. For instance, the rear arm of my rack is longer due to the back tee section being slightly higher on the frame than the front tee section. It’s not an exact science, but you’ll want the bottoms of each arm to be fairly even.

To prevent the arms from disconnecting with the tee sections, holes were drilled through the top part of each arm and threaded with rope so they could be tied to the frame. Tying the arms to the tee section – opposed to cementing them together – allows me the option to easily remove and fasten the rack onto my frame without having to permanently attach it to my bicycle. As you can see, I’ve also added pipe insulation around the arm sections to protect my surfboard.

Due to the 45 degree angle of the front tee section attached to my bicycle frame, I drilled a hole towards the top of the front arm of the rack, which allows me to hook a bungie cord.

The bungie cord counter balances the weight of the surfboard pulling down on the arm, preventing the front tee section from rotating. With the bungie cord secured around my top tube the front arm of the rack remains level and the tee section doesn’t move.

That’s it! Now you just throw your wetsuit in a bag and pedal to some waves.

Ocean Beach, Still Really Weird

[Photo: Tom Prete / Ocean Beach Bulletin]

If your local surf spot is within San Francisco city limits you’re gonna experience some weird things from time to time. Ocean Beach surfers can now add “car in the ocean” to the list.

According to Ocean Beach Bulletin:

A woman drove her Lexus sedan down Stairwell 25 near Golden Gate Park, across the sand and into the surf at Ocean Beach Friday morning.

Check out the Ocean Beach Bulletin’s full story, which has a bunch more pics.

Matt Wilkinson San Francisco Surf Video

We’ve been on a Wilko kick of late, so why not keep it going. Here’s a video of Matt Wilkinson’s surf sessions in San Francisco, accompanied by a track from Australian children entertainers, The Wiggles

The song kind of works, though, don’t you think?

Waxing Your Biscuit in San Francisco

Turns out surfboards made of wood, under 6-feet tall, are actually pretty ideal for riding the waves at Ocean Beach. Chris brought his newly built wooden “Biscuit” out with him to San Francisco recently, and waxed it up for it’s first party in the Pacific.

Grain Surfboards

And here’s what surfing in sunny California is like. Looks like a scene from The Goonies, but the wind eventually did back off and we ended up getting some nice waves on the wood board’s first time in the water.

World’s Best Surfer Perfectly Describes San Francisco’s Ocean Beach Ahead of Surf Contest

Kelly Slater, the world’s top surfer and former Baywatch cast member, is bracing for the cold water of Ocean Beach. Slater, along with 33 other professional surfers, will be in San Francisco for the Rip Curl Pro Search, taking place “somewhere” in San Francisco November 1-12.

The Rip Curl Pro Search will be Slater’s first time surfing San Francisco. While recently speaking to ASP International about his expectations for the notorious Ocean Beach venue, Slater nailed it saying,”I expect cold and paddling.

Never a city to disappoint, San Francisco will certainly meet Slater’s expectations. The average air temperature down by Ocean Beach is 50 – 55 °F, and the water temps rarely break 60 °F (it should be around 58 °F for the event).

Slater and the rest of the pros won’t have the assistance of jet skis for the contest either, making his second point about paddling a most certain reality. As noted by Ocean Beach Bulletin, “the National Park Service has decided to prohibit all personal watercraft except for those used by lifeguards at the event.”

This means that after a surfer rides a wave far inside, taking them close to the shore, they won’t have the option of getting a quick lift back to the break on a jet ski. For people watching the event this is somewhat of a downside, as there will undoubtedly be more paddling than surfing. And that means less chance of seeing Slater pull off something nasty, like this monster 360 air that garnered him a perfect 10 at the Quiksilver Pro New York:

However, the unusual conditions are what makes this such a special event. The people and surf community in San Francisco won’t disappoint either, as we can expect large turnouts for the event. With Ocean Beach providing an almost endless stretch of beach to watch from, and the nearby Safeway offering immediate access to beer, I for one can’t wait for the Rip Curl Pro Search to kick off.

If you can’t make it down to Ocean Beach to watch the event in person, it will be broadcast live on


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