Surf City USA, Huntington Beach, a beat­ing heart, of all that is Amer­i­cana surf cul­ture and art

Surf Girl - - Spot Check -

Surf City USA, Huntington Beach, a beat­ing heart, of all that is Amer­i­cana surf cul­ture and art. The Pasea Ho­tel, a surf-lovers dream, here we are, right on the iconic spot. The show is on, a dash to grab wheels to pedal straight to the pier. Dreamy, per­fect waves, can’t wait one more sec­ond, pad­dling straight out, we’ve been beck­oned. On we push, to the In­ter­na­tional Mu­seum of Surf­ing, to dis­cover the roots, burst­ing with his­tory, wide eyes soak it in, deep down into the grass­roots. Mys­tery is clear, the first ever skate­boards, the Z Boys, Dean, the broad-chested Hawai­ian who in 1912 first took waves on his surf­board in SoCal; ev­ery­thing is here.

A mar­malade-hued sun­set of fire or­ange dreams and we rise early to ex­plore the desert. Past the Coachella Val­ley into Palm Springs we go, hik­ing the Agua Caliente In­dian reser­va­tion for a look across all th­ese an­cient king­doms. In­hal­ing deeply, we feel the soul of the land, recharge our minds, lizards scut­tling past. This land… oh, how you are grand. Then we head back to SoCal and we meet Izzy and Coco Thiyani, own­ers of Surf Diva - the world’s first all-girl surf school. They tell us how they were told they were crazy for want­ing to cre­ate an all-girls school. Yet now how far their jour­ney has taken them, no longer a duo.

We meet friendly lo­cals, the leop­ard sharks and seals, whilst pad­dling out in our kayaks. We learn how it’s been dis­cov­ered that kelp is rich in en­ergy, a sus­tain­able source of fuel be­ing stud­ied at the pier’s Marine Sci­ence De­vel­op­ment Cen­tre. As we pad­dle out under the warm af­ter­noon sun, pods of dol­phins come tan­ta­liz­ingly close. The swell has picked up and our eyes are bulging, golden shad­ows on the sun-set­ting wa­ters, friendly noses of danc­ing dol­phins around us as we scores end­less, per­fect waves. Up we head to Blacks Beach and Tor­rey Pines State Park, we peer at the dra­matic cliffs and twin­kling peaks be­low. We find hid­den paths, pad­ding down with boards un­der­arm, to the Pa­cific jewel prof­fer­ing lit­tle peel­ers that keep us play­ing. San Diego we toast, fish ta­cos in our bel­lies, San Cle­mente calls us close, and then on­wards to Tres­tles.

Fun waves at play, again on foot, we ex­plore ev­ery nook. Mus­cle Beach ma­nia and skatepark play.

High­way-bound and mix tapes loaded, a scent of new shores char­gin’ us North­ward. Venice Beach-bound and city sky­line loom­ing, touch­down on the board­walk – wheels cruis­ing, bright wall spray and lo­cal chat­ter, Venice a Val­halla, Cali cul­ture rich. Fun waves at play, again on foot, we ex­plore ev­ery nook. Mus­cle Beach ma­nia and skatepark play. Palm trees swayin’, a Nir­vana wink­ing, closer we get, to the cross step, Mal­ibu our fi­nal stop. Peel­ers play­ing as we draw close, sin­gle fins cruis­ing and we’re burst­ing out of the car, in the fi­nal throes. How fast can you pull on your wet­suit? Thirty sec­onds and out we shoot. Is this real? I’m in a fan­tasy, it’s all I dreamed, Cal­i­for­nia, you’re more than you ever seemed.

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