[For a decade Spanish surfer Legi Alonso has been travelling the world, collecting stories and images from the countries he visits. Earlier this year he decided to return to the three places where his travels began; California, Indo and Morrocco- for a personal project called ROAD666.COM. As part of a new online series, in collaboration with Wavelength, he’ll be sharing some choice pearls of wisdom from those trips with you, right here. This is Stories From The Road.]
THE GOLDEN STATE
Let’s start with California since it’s one of those mandatory destinations whose attraction goes beyond the waves and surfing. In fact, if you’re planning to visit this place, I recommend that you change your mind so that you don’t spend the whole day at the beach. There’re many other kinds of options for you to discover! This way you’ll find incredible music shops and bookshops; vintage outlets full of wonderful things; military veterans’ staff shops… In short, although California doesn’t usually host world-class waves day-to-day, it’s in itself a treasure chest that will captivate you.
THE BEAUTY AND THE BEAST
However, everything that glitters isn’t gold and the stretch that includes Los Angeles and San Diego is threatened by a series of problems that erase that magical halo of an idyllic destination.
To begin with, the traffic is horrible.
The distances between cities are so long that the Californians use their cars for any journeys, which makes their highways become a snake that doesn’t stop crawling.
For any European accustomed to riding a bike or using public transport, this is an enormous shock that ends up riling you up.
Isn’t there any solution? Of course! The solution is assuming that time on the road will be part of your trip, so you should make the most of it to listen to Johnny Thunders, Muddy Waters or Nancy Sinatra. …Or to learn to eat an XXL menu without spilling a single drop of it on the dashboard.
Naturally, pollution is the direct consequence of all this, especially if you’re close to a city centre. So, far from being able to take a breath of fresh air at dusk, you should be satisfied with the range of oranges that will reward you at the end of each day.
As for social issues, the American society is a prolific but ruthless one.
Do you have a good idea and some support to carry it out? Congratulations!
Don’t you have a penny in your pocket? You’re fucked!
Another crazy subject is the matter of food.
All foodstuffs look like toys: bright colours, bright textures, shapes that seem to be taken from a mould … And that’s not to mention their massive sizes! A small coffee is equivalent to an XXL cubed in any coffee shop in France or Italy.
In short, there’re secrets for all tastes (including bacon gum) and all of them are huge, so be careful not to become a diabetic or a sumo wrestler in the short run.
Even more considering how little it costs to eat badly and how ridiculously expensive it turns out to be ‘eco – bio’.
But, let’s go to what matters to us. In regards to surfing … Organize yourself by zones depending on the time of the year you go.
Summer usually picks south swells that are perfect for Trestles, San Clemente or Huntington (remember: be patient! Crowds are insane in all of them).
On the other hand, if you travel in winter, you’ll be more likely to surf at spots that work with northswells such as Ventura (our favourite, maybe with a bit of luck you bump into Dane Reynolds in the water), La Joya, Rincon or, hopefully, Sandspit.
If you want to surf calm, Oceanside, Carlsbad or Cardiff are good options because, despite not harbouring peaks of such quality as those mentioned before, they do have kilometres of beach where that’ll be more quiet.
Finally, try to avoid inter-season periods such as November or April since they’re periods of transition in which there’s no swell type and those of the next season don’t enter with enough force. These periods are as hateful as the days when there’s no school (remember: music shops and staff shops!)
At this point you’ll ask, what the hell happens with the north?
The truth is that we’ve only travelled the ‘101’ to Santa Barbara because the distance to Santa Cruz is huge and it doesn’t have many options along the way, especially if the rental of your car is linked to a limit of miles.
You’ll probably find it more profitable to take an internal flight from L.A. to San Francisco, move around that area (Pacific Beach …) and then return to the comfortable heat of the south.
As for the north of Mexico … There’s nothing noteworthy except the good prices of tequila.
If you’re looking for waves, you’ll have to go down to Rosarito, which is one hour away from San Diego. From here on, and even to Ensenada, you can find a handful of righthanders without many people around (Salsipuedes, Baja Malibu, Km-38 …). For sure, just move to Baja if there’re good forecasts and preferably in winter.
If you’ve got time and money for petrol, going down to Los Cabos is a good idea since the area of San Lucas is full of fun rights without a single soul around. Of course, take a good ‘carro’ and if you get into a bar where there’s a match, go with the local team. Don’t argue! You’ll live more.
… Hopefully enough to take a look at our second ‘Story From The Road’, which takes us to the north of Morocco.
Translation: Paola Alonso González
Photo: José ALberto Prieto, Sergio Suárez Riaño, Legi Alonso.