When picking where to go on honeymoon my soon to be wife’s requirements were simple: Special and Sunny. To me this said one place – Southern California.
After my first trip in 2007 I am a SoCal fanboy. San Clemente is one of my favourite places, every visit has yielded a surfable wave off the pier and t-street. Trestles isn’t far, San Onofre isn’t far and according to the promo bumph it gets 342 days of sunshine!
Having toured nearly all of PCH1 and the Southern Californian coast line I wanted to offer my wife the same and to do that in a special way we decided to hire a camper from http://vwsurfari.com/
Bill and Diane were awesome hosts and after a great flight with Air New Zealand we were met off the plane by Bill and Eddy – http://vwsurfari.smugmug.com/Vintage-Surfari-Wagons/VW-Camper-Buses-for-Hire/1979-VW-Bus-Eddie-because/529773_3vQsk/1/21867805_T5xXP#21867805_T5xXP
Special thanks to Bill, Diane and Eddy for making it such a special trip, I’d encourage anyone to experience So Cal via a vintage bus, there is no better way in my (ok, somewhat biast) view.
Being an IT guru (oh all right – geek) I always travel with a laptop, my trusty macbook goes everywhere (it’s almost as well travelled as Surfgsd’s). This presented several issues with the van: security, the faff of plugging in, loading and general additional bulk of taking a laptop on holiday. Eager to solve this and for as many other reasons as I can think of we opted to get an iPad. It’s my first Apple product I didn’t have a real need for and just desired. After a few hours of guilt subsided the iPad started to justify its place in our household with ease. From streaming video, to blogging, to browsing and a whole host of apps that grow better day by day the iPad proved invaluable travelling. From its ease of use in the odd starbucks to films on the go and in the camper when we just felt like chilling out it excelled. We never once missed having a laptop and even acquired the usb connector to backup our honeymoon pics at the end of each day.
By sheer fluke ‘Big Wednesday’, a yearly So Cal Volkswagen gathering, was taking place at San Onofre while we were out there and we got to meet some like minded folk and see some stunning vans (and a mint 356). Despite the surf not being much that day it was nice to paddle out with some new friends and catch the odd party wave. San Onofre has a lot of sea grass that isn’t something I was used to. Near ‘Old Guys’ I caught a long peeling left hander, seeing the sea grass moving around underneath and the rocks/pebbles was a tad unnerving (as did having to walk out with my board upside down – fin facing up)!
San Onofre also scared the crap out of me when I saw two fins in the water. With my rubbish eye sight you can guess they were pretty close! Thankfully dolphins, but another time out I heard rumours of a great white sighting and there was a lot of coast guard activity. Something I neglected to mention to my new wife :D.
Thanks to some time in the water with SurfGSD, a change in life direction (allowing more time in the water) and a renewed desire to get better I’ve been working hard on my stance and popups. With a little more confidence this trip in San Clemente I was determined to get right in on the pier. Previously I had been put off by a pack of high standard surfers that dominated that peak (and the odd kook getting in the way – I did not want to be that kook). San Clemente offers more than one peak and t-street the same so it wasn’t much of hardship. This time out I hustled for position, avoided snaking, got dropped in on by what felt like the same kooks I’d seen before and generally got some seriously long peeling left handers off the pier.
The guide books list San Clemente as an intermediate wave because of its steep access, fast take offs and powerful beach break. Its speed and sharp change in depth leaves a small margin for error, the pay off is an powerful ride with the same speed to play with. Ok so it’s not Pipe or a banzai wave but as beach breaks I’ve surfed go it has to be my favourite, and certainly pushes my buttons and surfing ability.
To compensate for a considerable amount of time in the water I had to take Sarah to a significant number of malls and was even subjected to ‘Eat, Love Pray’ at the cinema. But it was all worth it and I can’t wait to be reunited with Southern California again (please let it be soon!).