Fall is the time of year surfers will gladly add a few millimeters of wetsuit in exchange for the summer kooks heading home. To celebrate, here's a short list of some things that make our sweet hometown that much better when autumn makes its return.
Empty line-ups and beach parking
Yes! We finally get our beaches back! The kids are in school, vacations are over and tourists have gone back to wherever it is they came from. You can now slide into all those available parking spots, shimmy into your new full-suit and enjoy the uncrowded waves at your local spot. After your surf, tuck into one of the epic coffee shops to warm up. I recommend Bird Rock Coffee Roasters and Bay Park Coffee as they are two of San Diego's finest and their espresso will rock your socks.
In late September and in October the Santa Ana winds return and the northwest swells get groomed to perfection. These chilly mornings are often less crowded due to the brisk water and later dawns so get out of bed early and be rewarded by watching the day turn from average into something extraordinary. Nothing beats the sunrise and empty perfect tubes.
As a surfer, nothing beats a 1 p.m. kickoff. You will watch the line-up empty out as die-hard fans leave great waves to watch the game and give you the opportunity to enjoy some uncrowded conditions before dark. The downside is if you love the Chargers like I do, you will miss many good waves on Sundays sitting on your couch cussing at the TV. Pick your games wisely and if the surf is good, get out there because you know Rivers is going to break your heart in the fourth quarter.
Julian apple pie
October is apple season in our local mountains and trucking up to Julian is a San Diego rite of passage. Go shred the waves early, grab some coffee and a breakfast sandwich from Kono's in Pacific Beach then head out on the beautiful drive into Julian. There are quite a few options for pie in town but the standouts are Mom's and Julian Pie Co. Try both, but in my eyes there is only one that is best and that's the Julian Pie Co., hands down. Try the Dutch apple pie and I think you'll agree with me. While you're up there, try some local wines at the Orfila tasting room in Wynola, and for bonus points do the gold mine tour just out of town, it rules.
The beach hike at Torrey Pine State Beach is always killer but go in the late afternoon and watch the cliffs light up during magic hour. Afterward, head up into the bluffs and look out on your beautiful ocean. From that vantage point look for whales heading north, dolphins riding some waves and the local osprey catching fish. It's breathtaking to say the least and it's Instagram gold.
Do you have some favorite locations that best represent fall in San Diego that you think we missed? Share them with us on Instagram #discoversd
As a lifelong San Diegan, Ken Lewis has surfing and ocean life in his DNA. As a 30-year surfer himself, Lewis has worked in the surf and skate industry for most of his career. Send him your thoughts about the surfing world to firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Instagram @hanger18.