Wax On, Wax Off: Winter!

Perhaps winter
arrived a couple of weeks ago, but this week seems to have marked the true beginning
of the season for surfers and snowboarders of California's South Coast. The usual
big swell of early December showed up like clockwork, albeit in diminished
proportions since its visit to Hawaii earlier in the week. After the storms
cleared earlier this week, Southern Californians woke up to see the San Gabriel
and San Bernardino Mountains glistening white with the first really hefty snow
of this winter, visible in high definition through the cold, crisp air.

Bear Mountain and Snow
reported a dump of 14 inches of cold-weather powder on Monday,
enabling staff to open the rest of the Mountain and refine the lips, pipes and
tables of the park to their desired proportions. Man-made snow is sticking
better, too, and they're making it in full force. Lower elevation stragglers
like Mt. Baldy and Mountain High, too, have been opening
up and looking better.
All week, surfers
in Orange County have been excitedly murmuring about the swell that brought The Eddie back to Waimea and was rumored to be bigger than any swell in the past
forty years, equaling or surpassing the Makaha
swell of 1969
that called for the evacuation of North Shore residents.
Groups of tech-dependent surfers huddled around their computers, balking at the
huge swath of purple that covered Surfline's
swell models, waiting for the long-period NW lines to travel the rest
of the Pacific and hit our beaches.

Late yesterday and this morning, thee swell arrived. Although not as big as the El Ni­­ño swells of early December in
2005 and 2007, waves at a few North Orange County spots reached double overhead
on the bigger sets this morning, pumping clean, glassy peaks into a light
offshore wind. If you picked the right spot, it was, to say the least, a
classic early December morning for surfing in Orange County.
For more info
about early winter swells, check out this awesome article and photo essay by Sean
at Surfline.com.

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