California on Fire

We know we are in a state of emergency. We salute the thousands of firefighters, working around the clock and putting their lives on the line in order to put a stop to the dozen or so out-of-control blazes blackening Southern California skies. And we feel for the hundreds of thousands of evacuated residents and for the 800 or so families who watched their homes turn to fiery ash. But when there is chaos in this world, chances are us surfers are scoring. And for the last three days, from Northern {{{Baja}}} to Ventura County, we blessed and cursed the 50-mile-an-hour Santa Ana winds that have ripped through the region for 56 hours and counting. Cursed them for all the havoc they wreaked, but blessed them for the gifts they brought to our home break. With a 6-foot-plus northwest and south combo swell running and the strongest offshores we've seen in years, you know what that means at your local sandbar. The following photos offer just a hint of how good it's been in the water while the land's been so bad. As writer/surfer Ben Marcus told us today after surfing perfect, 4-foot {{{Malibu}}} with only a dozen guys out (since PCH remains closed), "I think I died in the fire and went to heaven."

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