Huntington Beach --Home Alone

 


Jeff Deffenbaugh looks for a familiar face at Huntington Pier
SWELL.COM: How long have you been surfing Huntington?
JEFF DEFFENBAUGH: Eighteen years.

 

Describe Huntington's waves for someone who has never surfed it.
It's extremely varied. Some days you've got perfect peaks and other days it's just plain horrible. Huntington is one of the only places where you've got so many different kinds of waves -- heaving shorebreaks, big, mushy outsiders, walled-up swells, peeling lines. It just takes so many different swells, and there are so many variables that change day to day. It's not like Lowers, where you can say, "Oh, the rights are better than the lefts today." Today, for example, I got up and checked it and it was just shorebreak. Later, my friend called me up and said, "The wind started blowing offshore and the tide went out. It was perfect -- where were you?" It helps to check it often. Huntington's best advantage is that you can just tear the lips off waves. The worst thing is that the best days are few and far between.

What about locals? Is there a heavy vibe out there?
Uh, no. It's moderate. I usually surf with my brother or Jay Larson. Some days I've paddled out and there are like 20 guys out and I won't know anybody. It tears me up inside. There are just so many visitors trying to catch a wave for the first time.

What do you normally do when beginning surfers get in the way?
I can't tell you how many guys have paddled out there and don't have a clue what they're doing. When somebody gets in my way, I'll point down the beach and say, "This is where you should be! That way!" But Huntington is just so accessible that you can't control it. It's not like Windansea where you have this tight crew managing the break. Kooks getting in the way are an everyday event at Huntington.

It's kind of a tough call: on the one hand, these visitors are boosting the local economy and, on the other, they're clogging up the lineup.
Yeah, but we don't see any changes. They just raised the annual beach-parking fee from 60 bucks to 100. Locals don't even get discounts, whereas in the past, they used to. I've kinda been in a bad mood lately. Just the other day, some guy who I've never seen before got in my way while I was paddling out and almost killed me. Then, he tried to say it was my fault. It's just so frustrating.

What are some of the best days of surf you've had?
I've had the north side breaking on a northwest swell, crossed up with a little bit of south, 6 to 8 feet, barely any current, perfect rights and I'm getting barreled on every wave for three hours straight. And because it's a bigger day, there's no one out. And on the south side, on the exact same swell and day, I've had the reverse -- all perfect lefts.

Where are the best places to hang out in Huntington?
There aren't any anymore. Let me tell you this: anybody who is a local hardly ever hangs out downtown. Huntington has become so large and spread out now. If I ever want to see any of the older crew, I usually head down to the Sugar Shack.

What about surf shops?
There really aren't any surf shops that cater to the Huntington locals. I can't even walk into a surf shop anymore and grab a bar of wax. The guy behind the counter looked at me the other day and said, "Can I help you with something?" I said, "I'm just grabbing a bar of wax." The guy was like, "Do you work here?" And I said, "Dude, my name is Jeff. My photo is right there on the wall." Then the manager stepped in and said, "You dumbass. That's Deffenbaugh." The kid replied, "I thought he was bigger." It bums me out: they gotta recognize the local crew.
 

Huntington Beach is the alleged Surf City: a land of palm trees, riots, reform madness, body art, heat sheets, pink stucco, tar babies and a surfing Walk of Fame. Huntington, like many of Hollywood's sagging heroes of yesteryear, has undergone some major cosmetic surgery over the past few years. The Pier alone has been reconstructed some half dozen times. Mom-and-pop liquor stores and surf shops have transformed into block-sized palaces equipped with movie theaters, health food and top-rate surf goods. Like it or not, the days of Huntington as a mellow little surf town are over.
 
 

Despite all the surrounding changes, the waves remain unchanged. Diehards swear by the break, claiming it's the ultimate surfer's wave, and others just laugh and say that contest organizers can have it every day of the year, for all they care. Whatever the case, there are still classic California days to be had at the Pier. Just wake up early one morning and if it's a peaky swell with Santa Ana winds, you'll side with the diehards. The division between the two main breaks is a logical one.
 
 

SOUTH SIDE

While most outsiders think of the south side as a summer hot spot, it's not always the case. Locals say it works better during winter, when northwest swells wrap around the Pier to create peaky rights.
 
 

If you watch any of the ASP events over the last few years, you'll see that the south side can be less than ideal during summer. It blows out easily with prevailing south or westerly winds arriving from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. The wave lacks gusto at high tide, producing the famous death trench between the outside bar and the shorebreak. And during larger swells, you're dealing with a 200-yard-long closeout. You're lucky if you squeeze in more than a couple of maneuvers out the back.
 
 

That said, it still does get good. With the right bars, right winds, right tide and right swell, you'll want to make out with the pilings.
 
 

Best tide: medium to low

Best swell direction: NW

Best size: shoulder- to head-high

Best wind: E
 
 

Perfecto-meter: 7 (1=Lake Erie; 10=Jeffreys Bay)

Bottom: sand

Ability level: above average

Bring your: shortboard, longboard, fish, funboard, pier-shooting abilities

Best season winter

Access: free parking on side streets and meters

Crowd factor: zoo

Bicep burn: 6 (1=knee-high Waikiki; 10=triple-overhead Ocean Beach)

Poo patrol: 1 (1=clean; 10=turds in the lineup)

Shark danger: 1 (1=none; 10=bring an iron cage). Watch out for the pilings.
 
 

NORTH SIDE

Same equation as the south side of Pier, only opposite. The north side is commonly known to be best in winter when northwest swells create a machine-like right-hander next to the pier. But paddle out here during a glassy, overhead southwesterly, and you'll find one of the best peaks for miles. Even on days that look ugly, there's always some wave that hits just the right sandbar to produce a ride that'll make you feel like Bud Llamas in his heyday.
 
 

Best tide: medium to low

Best swell direction: SW

Best size: shoulder- to head-high

Best wind: E
 
 

Perfecto-meter: 7 (1=Lake Erie; 10=Jeffreys Bay)

Bottom: sand

Ability level: above average

Bring your: shortboard, longboard, fish, funboard, pier shooting abilities

Best season summer

Access: free parking on side streets and meters

Crowd factor: zoo

Local vibe: tell them you know Corky

Bicep burn: 6 (1=knee-high Waikiki; 10=triple-overhead Ocean Beach)

Poo patrol: 1 (1=clean; 10=turds in the lineup)

Shark danger: 1 (1=none; 10=bring an iron cage). Watch for fishing lines and barnacle-encrusted slabs of concrete.
 
 
 
 
 
 

Sugar Shack Cafe (213 Main St., 714-536-0355). Cooked by surfers, for surfers. Nice place to chill outside and take in the scene. The head chef says she is really picky about the food and recommends the Tuna sandwich for first timers.

Wahoo's Fish Tacos (120 Main St., 714-536-2050). This healthy Mexican food is probably the most popular grub in Southern California -- and they even play surf/snowboarding videos while you chew.

Longboard Restaurant and Pub (217 Main St., 714-960-1896). If you have leathery skin, a receding hairline and wear lots of floral T-shirts, this is your pub. Good spot to have a few drinks and eat greasy bar-food.
 
 
 
 
 

Huntington Beach has an endless sea of accommodations. Here are few of the more affordable ones:
777 Motor Inn, 16240 Pacific Coast Hwy, 714-846-5561
Beach Comfort Motel, 118 11th St., 714-536-4170
Beach Inn, 18112 Beach Blvd., 714-841-6606
Best Western Regency Inn, 19360 Beach Blvd., 714-962-4244
Comfort Suites, 16301 Beach Blvd., 714-841-1812
Edelweiss Inn, 7561 Center Ave., 714-373-4999
Hilton, 21100 Pacific Coast Hwy, 714-960-7873
Holiday Inn, 7667 Center Ave., 714-891-0123
Huntington Suites, 727 Yorktown Ave., 714-969-0450
Huntington Surf Motel, 720 Pacific Coast Hwy, 714-536-2444
Ocean View Motel, 16196 Pacific Coast Hwy, 562-592-2700
Pacific View Motel, 16220 Pacific Coast Hwy, 562-592-4959
Princess Motel, 18382 Beach Blvd., 714-848-8422
Quality Inn, 800 Pacific Coast Hwy, 714-536-7500
 
 
 
 
 

For a healthy consumption of surf history, go to the International Surfing Museum (411 Olive St. 714-960-3483). There are all kinds of impressive relics: a hood ornament of the Duke riding goofyfoot, the original 16mm camera used to film the Endless Summer, an evolution of skateboards and surfboards and much more.
 
 

For the clubber, drop in to the Shark Club (714-751-6428) in Costa Mesa. Rave the night away in the multiple rooms for techno, R&B, etc. For the athlete groupies, Dennis Rodman and Mo Vaughn like to hang there with their posses.
 
 
 
 
 
 

All in Huntington Beach:

311 Boarding Supplies, 1506 Pacific Coast Hwy, 714536-9311

Beachcombers Surf and Sport, 207 Main St., 714-960-0031

Board Riders, 300 Pacific Coast Hwy Suite 408, 714-377-9191

Board Shack, 5942 Edinger Ave Suite 103, 714-377-7804

Chuck Dent Surf Center, 311 5th St., 714536-8887

Huntington Beach Surfing, 8351 Clarkdale Dr., 714-962-3515

Huntington Surf and Sport, 300 Pacific Coast Hwy Suite 408, 714-960-2266

Jack's Surfboards, 412 Pacific Coast Hwy, 714536-9509

Line Up Surfboards, 7272 Saturn Dr. Suite C, 714-842-1648

Michael Surf and Sport, 414 Pacific Coast Hwy, 714-960-0880

On Edge Board Shop, 22311 Brookhurst St., 714-965-9283

Sakal Surfboards, 201 Main St. Suite A, 714-536-0505
 

Huntington Beach #1
 
Location:  Huntington Beach, California      Smithgrind.com

Description:   The absolute worst skatepark i've ever seen.
 
Specs:   Curbs, small unridable banks.
 
Price:   Free
 
Description:   Very small park next to the high school. Can be mildly amusing for the street skater if you don't expect too much.
 
 
Specs:   Ledges, small bank, small rails, small pyramid.
 
Price:   free
 
Skater Comments: Add Your Comment
Tell us what you think about this park.

Mark Devine: WELL I KNOW IT'S NOT A SKATEPARK BUT IT LOOK'S LIKE A HEAP OF  ----ING SH-T.
 
HUNTINGTON BEACH, California
This is a new club called 3-n-1 YO-YO Club run by Gordi Morey formally from the Kite Connection at the Huntington Beach Pier.  The club is held each Saturday from 3:30 P.M to 5:00 P.M. at the Calvary Baptist church in the courtyard , 8281 Garfield Ave. Huntington Beach California.  You can contact Gordi at (714) 842-2935 or by e-mail at Gordi Morey.
 

 

 

 

 


 

 

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