Santa Cruz Surf

Back to where we started a little over a year ago. We traveled up and down the Mexican and California Coastlines, as well as the southern portion of Taiwan. In all of my travels, I haven’t found place with more variety, consistency, and quality of waves than Santa Cruz. The waves lured me here in 2005 when I first started visiting while living in Davis. Once I got the taste, I eventually found a way to live here and fulfill my longest surf trip yet – about five years in a row.

What is it that makes this place so good? The coastline offers a diversity of points, reefs, and beaches that can have completely different wind and wave exposures. That means that almost any day of the year, decent surf can be found somewhere. Time and time again I tell myself and others, “If I was in Florida, I would be surfing that right now” or “in Florida this would be an epic day”.

Santa Cruz surfers get spoiled real quick. They constantly pass up mediocre waves in search of the best conditions (I’m just as guilty of this as anybody here). All it really takes to stay in the water daily here is a little creativity in board riding, plenty of stoke, and a moderate amount of patience. With a hungry eye, you can find a nice peeler around some not-so-crowded corners of this Surf City. Or you can go hop in the water with 100 of your most aggressive friends at the Lane.

Taiwan Surfing Review

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Stoked in Taiwan

Greetings to our dedicated readers from Nanwan, Taiwan!

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We arrived after a very short flight from Hong Kong at the Kaohsuing airport. Our driver proceeded to speed through countryside and towns with death-defying manuevers; we wondered if he knew that the 90 on the sign meant kilometers/hr, not miles/hr. His fast driving got us to Nanwan in time for an evening surf session in front of the nuclear power plant. The water is warm-ish (especially in front of the cooling water outflow), the beach is clean, and the atmosphere is relaxed. We are currently staying at Afei surf hotel, which is a funky little hostel directly across the street from the surf spot.

In the evening, after a few Taiwan Beers, Afei’s orange van took us, along with visitors from Hong Kong and Tokyo, to a very local spot for dinner ($180 NT per person, including beer), followed by a stop for the Taiwanese favorite, bubble milk tea ($30 NT)! [Currently, $30 NT = $1 USD] After dinner we retired to the surf hostel and ended up trading jams on the guitar and dancing with the light-up hula-hoop. The locals invented some new dance moves and got the dogs to play too!

The rooms here are charming, with lots of intricately carved wooden furniture, bamboo beds, wooden bathtubs and fun surfing themed decorations. The charm began to wear off, however, when a dog began yapping incessantly as we tried to go to sleep and again in the morning as we tried to stay asleep. Goats, cats and roosters joined the chorus at times, but their sounds were more entertaining than irritating.

Breakfast is included at Afei’s, for two people we are paying $1200 NT, which is roughly $40 USD. The crew here has been super friendly and most speak some English. This morning they took us for a surf trip to Jialeshuei, where we scored offshore winds in midst of the NE storm that was bearing down upon the island. John got a little river mouth barrel while the other beginner surfers stayed on the playful left next to the point. Two good surf sessions in two days (with warm water to compliment) – we love Taiwan!