On Saturday, 7/28, I took the longboard down to Salt Creek for a bit of a paddle. With an upcoming trip to Scotland in hopes of scoring the mythical and renowned rock-shelf reef waves at Thurso East, it seemed like a good idea to ratchet up the fitness level for that sport, since I have been sorely remiss in ocean time of late. I didn’t expect much in the way of surf, and when I got there, that was indeed the case. Weak dribblers pushed in at the Point with probably a dozen people scrapping over them. Bumpy outer sandbar mush and closed-out shorebreak filled in at Middles with just a few guys out. So I set my 9’0″ in the water and started paddling towards Heroin’s, the rare winter break on the far North end of the long crescent-shaped beach, and which also wasn’t breaking at all today.
A couple minor waves came to me along the way, near Gravels, so I rode one fun left and a pretty decent right. After 20 minutes or so of paddling, I reached the end of the sand and the start of the boulders. With minimal swell, a bright idea popped into my head: up the adrenaline level a bit by paddling through the gaps in the rocks near shore. It turned out to be pretty fun, not too dangerous with such a weak swell, and definitely added a tiny norepinephrine hit to an otherwise endorphin+serotonin-oriented day. And by now the steady paddle and serene blue ocean and sky were starting to get those two pathways flowing nicely, as well. In this happy state of mind, the next destination was the clump of rocks a couple hundred yards offshore and in front of Heroin’s point.
Got there in a few minutes of easy paddling, and the occasional waist-high swell created swirling eddies between and occasionally washing over rocks covered in sharp mussels. Based on this, plus the fact I didn’t wear any booties, decided not to try and climb up on the rocks. So I left the swirling serenity of that space, and started paddling towards a secluded pocket of sandy beach between the sandstone rocks of the north headland and the boulders on the main beach. It was easy to see fingers of sand between the rocks by looking for their tell-tale pale aqua green coloring, so I followed them to shore, until the last few yards, when sea grass-covered smooth rock didn’t present any problem at all to walk over and reach the sand.
As expected, I had the beach to myself. The sandstone cliff had clinging vines running down it, and stands of tall bamboo along the base, so it gave the beach a tropical feel. One wouldn’t expect to find something like this in South OC.
The mile paddle back seemed to go quickly, with the endorphin levels now elevated, and when I caught one last wave at Middles to end the 90 minute paddle/surf session, I knew I would have to return to this place soon.
Unfortunately, I didn’t bring the GoPro along with me that day, so wasn’t able to capture the solitude and beauty of this unexpected place. But I intend to bring the camera next time.