Surfing in Bolinas California


Surfing is Addictive

I love to surf. Can’t be any simpler than that. I found surfing a number of years ago while on vacation in Oahu, Hawaii. I had been in Hawaii a couple times already but this was my first visit to Oahu and with that, a visit there isn’t complete until you head to the North Shore. It was January at the time and the winter storms from the north in the Pacific Ocean were slamming the northern part of the island and it was going off, as surfers like to say. I remember stopping the car on the side of the road and running across the street to see what everyone else was stopped for and looking at. There it was in all it’s glory, the power of the ocean and the people trying to tame it. It was an amazing site. It was one of those moments which don’t come often in life that when you see something, you know you have to do it. I immediately felt it was something I just had to experience for myself.

Fast forward to today I am still surfing and will continue to until I die or am debilitated to the point where I can’t move anymore. It’s that powerful of a driving force in me to want to continue. There’s something about that direct connection with nature that I have yet to find anywhere else personally. I got my wife to try surfing with me once, but she didn’t like it as she felt too claustrophobic in the wetsuit. Which is understandable if you don’t like tight fitting items on your body. Surfing in Northern California you need to wear a wetsuit all year as the temperature, depending on where you go, is from the low 50’s to the mid 60’s if your lucky. The summer months here are typically colder than other times during the year due to the fog that rolls in just about daily. It isn’t until late in the summer that you get a few consistent days of solid warmer air temperatures. Southern California has warmer water temperatures but also suffers from the summer fog months. It’s also a very dangerous sport. My wife doesn’t like the fact that you can get held under the water by even the smallest of waves, and if you panic, well you just can’t allow yourself to panic.

Finding new spots to surf

I’ve surfed many places up and down the California Coast as well as Baja Mexico and Hawaii a number of times. There is still so many more places to visit that are on my list. One of course is the Sea of Japan. While I wait for that I’ll continue to hone my skills on the California coast. My favorite spot here in NorCal is Bolinas Beach. Bolinas is a small unique town about an hour north of San Francisco. The town itself is filled with old school affluent hippies and tourists all year long. According to Wikipedia the population there in 2010 was 1,620 people. You’ll also find transients a plenty living in their cars or makeshift housing. I met a guy there years ago that told me he sold everything he had and he and his dog lived in a tree house somewhere in town. It is one of the most laid back places on the planet, at least in the places I have been. Everyone is easy to talk to and friendly as mutual respect and gratitude go a long way. Getting there is a bit tricky as there are no signs leading you to the town from the California Pacific Highway. The story goes the locals in the town were tired of so many people gawking over the the place they decided to keep ripping down the directional sign until the the powers that be just gave up replacing it.

Northern California surf

Bolinas surf offers two distinct areas. One called “The Channel” and the other “The Patch”. You’ll find the place is perfect for beginner and experienced surfers alike, with the tendency to be on the beginner side. The best time to go is in the summer months when the South Pacific storms are howling and the swell reaches the southern facing coast of Bolinas beach. Early morning and late evening are also typically the best times as the wind during the day is pretty intense. The wind can be helpful however if it’s blowing offshore which helps to shape and size the waves. You’ll find the surfers on all shape and sized boards by typically a longboard or “log” is your best bet. On the right days you can ride the waves from the outside to the inside getting a good long beautiful experience you won’t find doing anything else.

Surfing in Bolinas California is a wonderful experience. I find myself there at least 2 to 3 times a week if conditions are good. If you surf and live here or are visiting the San Francisco Bay Area, get your ass to Bolinas for a session. I’ll see you there!


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