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Surfing @ Swami’s


Surf’s up beach bums! Are we psyched?  Are we stoked? The waves are really juicy today; glassy, cool, totally sweet, awesome and rad.

Saweeeeet! Is that dude trunkin? Trippy. Where’s your suit?

We’re gonna hang ten on the nose. We’re gonna see some righteous surfing out there! Let’s see you in the tube; shoot the pipe dude! Gnarly! Check out the sharkbait! Let’s go tribe!

My dad is a silver surfer. A gray. A senior. He’s a swami. And this is where he hangs.

At the north end of our stretch of beach, next to the Swami’s self-realization resort and spa, is a tiny parking lot at the top of a flight of steps leading to Swami’s beach. Surfers save parking spots for each other and most of the time this tiny lot is as entertaining as the beach below it.

Go ahead and circle it slowly a couple of times just for fun.

You’ll see surfers in every stage of undress, in every kind of vehicle, age, hairdo, body art and discussion. Enjoy the tiki carved into what’s left of a cut down tree in the little grassy area by the road. Park if you’re lucky, otherwise use the highway but watch for bikes!

Yeah, there’s a bike path, but they abandoned it to the stroller pushing power walking moms in spandex and take their chances with the speeding topless convertibles who are watching the amazing view of ocean and mom-spandex, and not the road.

There is one small bathroom at the parking lot and then a looong staircase down to the beach. Be sure you go before you go, ya know? Don’t be surprised if the toilet paper is all gone. Every power-walking mom stops here along her route, and every surfer and tourist. I get it.

But probably the resident bag lady has something to do with it as well.

She’s the one on the bench there surrounded by all of her worldly possessions in plastic grocery bags. It’s hard to tell what she possesses because all of it is also wrapped up in newspaper. And she steps, periodically, into the ladies and carefully wraps up a supply of TP for her own mysterious reasons. I’ve never asked.

My dad has been surfing here and there for a great many years. He is still not considered a local by the locals. He’s seen surfers go all aggro but also met some chill bruddas. His board is cherry. He knows how to shape blanks and glass them.

He’ll be happy to take you out and show you the basics.  Watch out for hotdoggers.

I myself will be holding down the beach. I’m a gaper fo sho. No shame. I brought my camera.

While we’re heading down 138 wooden stair steps, glance left (south) and you’ll see that this strip of sand will take us back over to Pipes, where we walked last week. High tide removes the beach between them, but you can stroll along the asphalt walkway up top anytime. Watch out for those strollers.

If we got here during low tide, we’ll walk right (north) and check out the awesome tide pools. Look for octopus and sea urchins, with anemones and mussels thick on the sharp reef. Tiny fish are caught in small pools along with crabs in the rocks, waiting for the Pacific to return. Watch your step.

I would like to fill you in on the procedures to take should you ever come in from a surf session and step down onto a sting ray. These buggers drift on the sand in any depth of water and surprisingly hate when people step on them. I’m sure you feel the same.

Okay, what to do when one barbs you in the ankle. Scream like a little girl. Bleed profusely. Both of these are good things. Do NOT pee on it. That’s for jellyfish.

Let a lifeguard boil you a bucket of saltwater and stick your foot in it to soak. Add some mussels and a dash of spirulina. When the soup is ready…no, just kidding. When you think you can possibly hobble to the car, go home and take a fist full of pain killers.

Watch your foot morph over the next week, going from pus filled blisters to open weeping sores to scabby healing wounds. Wonder if you can take the hole it made and use it in some kind of creative tattoo to remember the occasion by. Never surf again.

Just kidding again.

Return to surfing immediately, because that’s the kind of awesome gnarly wave-riding dude you are.

Stop by the Java Hut for a hot coffee when you’re done.

Tell ‘em Dale sent you.

Hang loose, dude. Hasta luego.

Published inLiving Larger


  1. Jennifer Steger

    Ha! Thanks for the “watch for bikes” note. Almost got keeled dead last time I was in the Swami’s stretch. And don’t forget to tell tourists about the Cardiff Kook. We always stop to get pics of the latest and greatest attire!

    • I know, right? The Kook was featured last Tuesday: Camping @ San Elijo Beach (with photo). Check it out chicka 🙂

  2. Bonnie Olsen

    I am so going to spend my entire vacation at the beach- what a great insider view ! Take us to secret eateries next? Mexican food dives? Love the blog, Jolie!!


    • Now there’s an idea! Think of all the fish tacos I’d have to eat for “research”! Oh boy.

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