It's been California dreaming this winter as a steady barrage of west swells have been hammering the coast seemingly since the first of the year. From Maverick's to Rincon, Dana Point to Blacks Beach - literally all have been firing.
During an average West Coast winter, Championship Tour vets usually seek out tropical climates with more consistent surf, but when California turns on, it's still one of the best places on the planet to be a surfer. And when the world's best stick close to home, you know it's good.
"Heavens yes, California you've been rockin' and rollin lately!" marveled Sage Erickson on Instagram.
Down south in Orange County, Griffin Colapinto, Kolohe Andino and friends have been having a field day. From an all-time score at Salt Creek, to playful T Street sessions and punts at the San Clemente Pier, the crew have been feeding off of each other. Over the New Year's holiday they missioned up to British Colombia for some snowboarding, but after hitting the reset button Colapinto and Andino's batteries seem to be fully charged.
Meanwhile, San Clemente resident and 2018 Rookie of the Year Caroline Marks battled her way through L.A. traffic to score in the Ventura zone. Maybe it was her Florida roots coming out, but she landed at Mussel Shoals. The older and more powerful she gets the more she looks like Mark Occhilupo incarnate. Based on what she's able to do on the big, chunky right-hand point, she's going to do some damage on Tour in 2019.
At one of the premier Ventura beachbreaks, former tour flyboy turned guitar picker Timmy Curran had a magic link-up with Chad Compton. Not exactly a split peak, Compton took off and got barreled on a right. As he came out, Curran took off down the beach on a left and got barreled, aiming directly for Compton. It's a literal playground of perfect peaks.
Not to be overshadowed, the Queen of the Coast has been doing her thing. Everyone from Tom Curren, to Dan Malloy, to Patrick Gudauskas have been spotted in the lineup lately. Conner Coffin has been getting his laps in, finding enough space to lay down some beautiful carves. The cold may have eventually got to him though as he's opted to split back to the North Shore.
"Quick strike mission to Hawaii and I'm already surfed out," posted Conner Coffin after trading his wetsuit in Santa Barbara for board shorts in Hawaii.
It's been downright frosty in the Central Valley, but the action at the Surf Ranch has been cooking. There's been no shortage of talent in the water in Lemoore, but once again Kelly Slater one upped everyone with his switch-stance tube ride on the left. Encased in a thick wettie, booties and gloves, Slater illustrated exactly how cold it's been there. The daytime temps have barely crawled above 40-degrees with the water temp in the same neighborhood.
And, of course, Maverick's has been doing its thing lately. Between rain squalls and bad weather, the conditions have come together enough to keep the local big-wave scene happy. As this article is being written Mavs is 25 feet at 19 seconds. It's a scary, angry ocean out there today.