There are many amazing attributes that set San Francisco apart from the rest. One of its most prominent features is the close proximity of the city to the Pacific Ocean, and more specifically, the striking distance of Ocean Beach (OB). A perfect stretch of sand to escape from the hustle-and-bustle of an urban pace, OB also doubles as a world-class surf break when all the ingredients combine in just the right way.
Although there aren’t head-high+ tubes reelin’ out at OB right now, there are some playful, fun summer waves to be had in the water. Currently, as of Saturday morning, we’re looking at 2-4′ waves that are pretty soft and mushy. The odd A-framed set will show, and provide a more snappy ride, but overall it’s pretty small and mellow out there today. The sky is overcast, and there are light winds blowing from the SW. Low tide is at 5.18 pm today, but it’s only 2.04 ft. High tide is at 12.10 pm and it’s at 5.2 ft.
Yesterday held similar conditions, but with only a handful of surfers, and so much room to spread out down the beach, the session was really fun and enjoyable. You never know at OB, it’s one of the most fickle, constantly changing breaks imaginable, but it’s always a pleasure to surf, especilly when you have a day planned in the city.
If you’re looking to score OB at its best, you’ll probably have to be down here sometime in the winter, or perhaps in the fall when wave energy starts to make its way back to the Northern Hemisphere.
NW, W, and SW swells do the best at lighting up OB, and it can handle just about as big as it gets, depending on the current shape of the sandbars and specific direction of the swell. An E wind, if you can catch it, blows off-shore and is ideal.
If it’s firing out at OB, good luck. Between the rips, currents, close-out sets, and overall action that’s present when it’s big, just getting out can be the crux of your whole session. But when it’s on, it’s world-class, no question.
On the north end of OB is Kelley’s Cove, which provides easy parking, and is where the shots that accompany this post were taken Friday afternoon. On the south end look for Sloat Ave. The three miles of beach in-between these two landmarks are the zone. The swell looks to be about the same through the weekend, so if you’re in the area, or maybe on your way down for the Outside Lands festival don’t forget your surf gear. If you lack gear, but are down to get wet, try the Aqua Surf Shop at the end of Sloat Ave. It’s a good shop located across from the zoo. You can give’em a call too, 415-242-9283, and make sure they have what you’re looking for before committing to the drive. With the reasonably warm water temps, mellow swell, and full-moon about to pop tonight, you might even want to consider a late-night session. The moon has been up and bright the past few evenings, and the surf has been pretty enjoyable.
(Surfing via an almost full moon Thursday night, Bolinas)