California Cliché

“Devil winds screech through Santa Maria's cemetery as I round the corner heading east of Goleta.” “Ocean Beach, the new miracle mile, the new Baja Malibu, the new Pipeline…” “Surfline ruined everything!” “California Über Alles!” “San Clemente is the new surfing talent hotbed.” Oh man, what to say about California that hasn’t already been said a billion times. We're not reinventing the wheel here. But one interesting topic is the psychology of the Californian surfer, specifically the misconceptions that we’re a nomadic bunch — that we carelessly wander the Californian coastline looking for some sort of forbidden fruit.

This winter, I think we realized that we’re all quite fine settling with surfing triple digit crowds at waves like Rincon, Lowers and Blacks. We're better family men and women now. We've been given time slots of 30-45 minutes to jump in the water before picking up little Johnny from school or getting back to the office. Gone are the days of pissing off the wife and hopping in a friend's van, joint and a beer in hand as the crusty van peels off the lawn, tires smoking with the reckless intention of Baja or bust. Nowadays, it seems as though responsibility has won.

Groms don’t even have the slightest conception of traveling outside of their little surf bubbles, which leaves us only with the old. We pity the old. We paddle around them like sharks circling a dying blue whale. So, for our California Issue, this winter we went with a little old and a little new. We revisited some old familiar faces and we met some new ones along the way. This photo post is a little teaser of what's to come. —Peter Taras

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