Surfed Out in San Francisco

Work stations were abandoned, bodies ached, suits remained sodden and stoked smiles prevailed; all the result of an unrelenting run of quality swell and sand at Ocean Beach, San Francisco. In the words of one local, "we’ve been surfed out for two months. We’re almost waiting for it to get small again, so we can get out lives back in order."

Throughout December and January photographer Don Dianda arose to the sound of rumbling whitewater. He would amble down to the beach, camera in hand, and snap off high quality surf porn of every peak in sight.

All of a sudden I found myself taking my time to get ready to paddle out instead of the usual mad dash. If a really good wave came and someone else was in position I didn't get frustrated. There would be more. Jackson Buttles

"In the 17 years I've been surfing the beach, I've never ever seen a run like this. It fired almost everyday for 2 months!" Says Jackson Buttles, a local to OB. "After getting so many good days in a row, it felt like many of us fell in a trance. How many days til that happened? I have no idea. But all of a sudden I found myself taking my time to get ready to paddle out instead of the usual mad dash. If a really good wave came and someone else was in position (at points I've never seen the beach as crowded as this year) I didn't get frustrated. There would be more."

Readers unfamiliar with the fickle backs and volatile nature of Ocean Beach should not consider these flawless lines as the norm. "There are seasons where it's almost never good," says Buttles. "The storms are too close and bring southerly winds, or the sandbars get blown out by a big swell early and never recover, among a million other variables."

Another exhausted local, Woody Robinson, describes the two month stretch with some reverence: "This the most consistently big and clean winter I've ever seen in SF over the last 25 years," says Robinson. "I'm not sure which day was the best, but the run we had during the last 10 days of December was epic."


Struan Gray

Writer and Content Manager