In a word, the West Coast summer surf season has: Sucked.
Looking at the summer of 2007 in surfing terms, it has been a disaster. Not a disaster in the Hurricane Dean sense, or the earthquake that rocked Peru, or the tornado that hit Brooklyn and flooded the subways, or the poor souls lost in the Utah mine disaster, but a sort of reverse disaster, a placid disaster, as in Lake Placid, with a capital P and that rhymes with T and that stands for Terrible.
“I have lived in Santa Cruz since 1978 and this is the flattest summer in
memory.” – Surf Tech’s Will Church
From one end of the state to the other, this summer has gotten a unanimous raspberry. There have been exactly two swells of memory in the last five months. April saw a semi-boomer sweep the coast, but according to Surfer Magazine's Randy Ward, that swell had its downside in certain parts of Orange County: "Even with all the hype and photos from that April bombing swell, all my go-to spots were out of control and/or hacked by south winds. I got nothing from that swell only to see photos of spots a few minutes away that I never surf going off."
A couple of months after that, the Fourth of July swell was a mixed blessing: The waves were actually overhead, but it was the Fourth of July, just in time for every goombah on a body board or a Soft Top to float into the line of fire.
Like that volcano in Alaska that is threatening to erupt and throw off airline routes, the flat spell has waylaid the best laid plans of men and contest organizers. The surf conditions at the US Open in Huntington left some pining for the days of plastic helmets and Sunny Garcia and Rochelle Ballard getting worked in the pier.
Even longboard contests suffered. On Friday, the 17th of August all the good intentions of the contest organizers of the Malibu Invitational to benefit cancer survivor Lyon Herron had to he put on hold, as First Point couldn't produce enough wave energy for them to hold their event.
Santa Cruz is a town that loves a south swell with the gumption to get around Point Conception, but this summer has seen an almost complete lack of love or gumption. Will Church is in charge of inventory at Surf Tech, and he has been getting a lot of work done this summer: "I have lived in Santa Cruz since 1978 and this is the flattest summer in memory. I have been SUPing for some exercise. There has been waves up the coast at sharky and freezing cold water Pomponio, but I leave that to people that are young and bold that have time to chase waves all day (I am a family man now). SUP is huge here and summers like this push it even further."
Church has his fingers on the pulse of board sales at Surftech. He says that board sales are effected less by surf conditions than weather, but the lack of surf changes the types of boards you sell: fish, longboards and SUPs. We sold piles of Lairds, big Softops, and the big Munoz Tuflites for SUP and could have sold grips more if we had them. Sad to say, but sales are more affected by bad weather on the east coast in summer and foggy California summers than the amount of quality surf. Can you say, “summer is fashion driven! Yea, I thought so!”