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Thoughts on our recent run of epic winter surf

Well mid-December through late January 2021 was a magical time to be a surfer…..with historic runs of NW swells and tasty conditions for most of the Golden State. We have had to live with so many challenges due to the national and global pandemic. Coronavirus has stopped or altered so many things: business plans, personal plans, eating options, social options….even professional surf contests. But alas, it could not stop epic swell events like the ones we just experienced. Powerful surf follows no protocols and no mask could hide or contain the smiles of surfers from Hawaii to Mavericks to Mexico, and all the nooks and crannies in between.

What really made an impact on me for these swell events was the new age reality of connectivity of monitoring and then experiencing these swells. The hype and coverage beginning on the shores of the Hawaiian islands, to the sequential arrival of surf in Nor Cal, and then the cascading delivery of juice and joy southward. Photos, videos, stories all in abundance. And with an awareness for geographical reality, we as surfers know that swell energy does not care for, nor respect, county lines or international borders. Shoots, these swells ignored the most famous horizontal line on earth, the Equator, as swells found an expiration on the southern hemisphere shores of Ecuador, Northern Peru and beyond.

On an individual level, these swells delivered memorable moments that provided a self-serving justification for being a surfer in the first place: trying to maintain composure as an outside clean up set steamrolls through the lineup; timing your rock launch to paddle out between sets; doing the math on the matrix of wind, tide, crowd, wave direction and other variables; feeling the balance of peril and position for a larger-than-normal take off; and the sweet release of rail and friction as a good ride on an overhead plus wave unfolds under your feet.

Northern Peru - far from left out on our recent run of NW winter swells

The connectivity of these ocean swells between locations, latitudes, cultures, technology, and surfers is a new normal. How can we as members and supporters of the California Surf Museum come to embrace and engage all of California as we mission forward to preserve and celebrate surf culture. These last swells touched all of us who were watching or participating. It is our challenge to funnel that positive oceanic energy into our own pockets of human activity and life moments.

Hopefully you were able to taste some of it, and were not left out.

– Eric Noel Munoz / CSM VP
February 2021