Sands of Dependability

Oh my god...there are waves. Photo: Gilley

Rob Gilley

Previously in denial about his photographic past, Rob Gilley now rummages through his trove of mediocrity.

I'm not sure if it's climate change or what, but we've had a lot of good late-season surf here in Southern California. April Fool's Day saw a particularly solid short-interval swell, and it was followed by a fairly similar storm on the weekend before tax day.

I woke up on April 15th to find my local spot over-loading with swell and an extreme high tide. I did the math and couldn't really come up with an ideal alternative, so I just hopped in the van and drove north, hoping that the upper-reaches of the San Diego crescent would be handling the north-west swell.

Driving up the coast highway, I noticed that most spots were suffering from the same fate, but then in the middle of Oceanside came a weird sight: fat, sizeable waves capping on the outside but then re-forming near the sand into perfect, clean, running barrels. Not necessarily breaking in the same spot every time, but by far the best waves I had seen all morning, and a few inside runners even spitting. It was super fun looking, overhead, hollow surf with only two bodyboarders and two surfers on it.

I was out there.

While surfing and enjoying a good shorebreak pounding, I was reminded of how underrated places like Oceanside are. How taken for granted they are. Up and down the coast—and across the globe for that matter—there are certain surf spots that might not be 5-star, but are extremely dependable. The kind of spots that will never make the world's 100 best waves list, but are surfed extensively.

And what I realized is that these spots give us all the love they can, and we show very little back. At least publicly. Off the top of my head, some of these spots include: Oceanside, La Jolla Shores, T-Street, County Line, Emma Wood, Tullan Strand, Santa Clara, The Wall, Ehukai, FreddyLand, Johanna, Papara, Magnatubes, and the better part of Brazil.

So I'd like to take a moment and raise my tall Decaf and say a silent thank you to these under-heralded workhorses—these loyal friends.

I'm sure I'll see one of you tomorrow.

As specific proof of dependability, and as an overall tribute to under-claimed spots, may I present an Oceanside gallery below:

Photo: Gilley

Mike Losness. Photo: Gilley

Photo: Gilley

Seth Elmer. Photo: Gilley

Mike Todd. Photo: Gilley

Mike Todd. Photo: Gilley