Cowell's Beach, as seen by SlugVideo! Click for an updated
In town, right next to the City Wharf. In the summer, you
can rent sailboards and get lessons from Club
Ed in this sheltered safe spot. 'Cowel's' happens to be the very best
beginner wave for surfers in the country. Check out the surfers right now.
Click on the picture for a bigger version. In the winter on the very biggest
storm days, sailors will go out here in 60mph white-out 'Victory at Sea'
conditions. Not for the faint hearted, or the sane. Sharks
are rarely seen here. Park on parking meters.
West of Lighthouse Point, this popular launch has good parking
and a rigging area. Gear has to be carried across the street, and down
steps to the beach, and the sailing is a combination of fast slalom next
to a big kelp bed which makes for flat conditions and wave sailing on a
really nice slow breaking wave which erupts into a notorious 'killer' beach
break. Masts get broken here! The wind is often less than other sites. Great
Whites have been seen here. Free. Its called IT's Beach for a reason. On
hot summer days you can sometimes see why.
IT's beach is right next to the surfing museum
and just around the point from Steamer Lane, one of the best waves in the
USA. Here's a live picture of Steamer Lane.
Updated every five minutes. Click on 'Reload' to get an update.
Natural Bridges State Park
'NB's' is at the far West end of West Cliff Drive. More wind
and less beach break than IT's, but it does cost $6 to park in this State
Park. Locals usually buy an annual pass. It has great parking, a super
grass rigging area, a very long walk to the beach across soft sand, plenty
of kelp to snag the unwary, and sometimes a swim to the wind line. Outside
the wind line, conditions are usually between 4.0 and 5.0 with lots of
BIG ocean swells further out. The kelp beds are a great source of amusement
to locals, and a major source of frustration to visitors. Great
Whites have also been seen here.
And if you are curious about exactly how hard it's blowing
right now, check right here!
20 miles North West of town on Highway 1, this site is free
and features rugged wave sailing conditions with upwind slalom conditions.
Slalom is a slight understatement because ocean swells can get enormous.
Top professional sailors rate this as a top wave location. Ian Boyd is
a regular here, and the Angulo boys have been known to make the trip from
Maui just to sail these waves. I had my bare feet lacerated by the mussels
on the reef. Others have been lacerated by the Great
Whites known to frequent this spot.
Here's a nice sequence taken on a typical Davenport day:
A couple of miles further up the coast from Davenport. No
decent parking, an OK rigging area and a scramble down rocks to the beach,
some locals prefer Scotts to either Davenport or Waddel, probably because
it is less crowded and the downwind launch is easier (but not easy). Ten
sailors is a big crowd here. Sharks cruise by
here. Good upwind wave sailing with bump and jump straight out. Sometimes
the wave son the reef suck right out leaving the unwary sailor to attempt
a 'rock jibe'. Its nice to be fully powered right off the beach. The inside
break is often big and breaks close to shore.
Waddel Creek State Park
North of Scotts Creek, just South of Anno Nuevo. Classic
wavesailing at the State Park. Site of the 1995, 1996, 1997 and 1998 'Seatrend
Challenge' marking the return of professional wave sailing contests to
Santa Cruz. Alex
Pang has a nice web site featuring all the contestants performing loops.
Check it out at Loops
Galore. Rig on abrasive gravel and dirt. Its a great place though,
and on mellower days is a good place to try wave sailing. Sometimes crowded. The
Great White Shark just loves the Elephant Seals that live right next door
at Anno Nuevo. Don't imitate seals here! The beach break is often big but
tends to break further out. Waves can be logo to mast high.
Say hello to Steve West, he's always there!
Here are a couple of whales in the shorebreak at Waddel.
And here is a Great White shark at Waddel. Whoops, I
mean here is another whale showing a fin!