San Francisco’s Ocean Beach Through The Eyes Of An East Coaster

East coast surfer and Ice Tubes reader, Bill Miltenberg, recently made a trip to San Francisco and experienced Ocean Beach for the first time. While the surf wasn’t up, the infamous beach left yet another lasting impression on one of its visitors. Below is Bill’s OB experience ~

San Francisco ruined everything. I had already worked it all out—New York City (where I’m currently moving to—all of my belongings are in a storage unit near the Battery Tunnel as of this post) and San Diego were the only real places I could honestly say that I wanted to live. Whereas New York offered jobs, friends and surf, San Diego was my dreamy California escape location. There simply was no room for San Francisco.

But, a work opportunity placed me out there for three days, and after a day of bouncing around Market Street and the Union Square area of the Financial District, and with the help of one @dmadey and Ice Tubes, I hopped on the MUNI 5 bus out to Ocean Beach. Within 40 minutes, I went from a New York-like urban downtown to the Pacific. From all the videos and sites I’ve seen dedicated to capturing the essence of being a city surfer, it felt like San Francisco was hiding a major secret: you can live a true city lifestyle without missing a dawn patrol—all without a car.

Once I made it to the end of the line, Ocean Beach reminded me of Long Beach, New York in late November—cold, grey and maligned by onshore winds. Waist-to-chest with 15 mph winds didn’t look all too appetizing as I sat without neither a board nor a wetsuit on the beach, but there were guys still getting good rides (at 2:30pm on a Monday…don’t surfers have to work?). The Swellinfo forecast had been showing similar conditions for the weeks that I’d been checking it in advance of my trip, which I’ll just assume is the August norm—cold, grey, waist-to-chest with onshore winds.

But the potential was clearly there. I walked around and spoke to a couple guys from Wise Surfboards, and heard November is possibly the best month for Ocean Beach. For me though, even on a cold and grey day during the city’s worst month, I saw the potential of living, working and surfing in San Francisco, following the If Only, for finding things to do in SF, — completely throwing a wrench in my New York/San Diego plan. That, and the local Anchor Steam beer was damn good.

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