Secret Spots

Discussion in 'Surfing' started by Chilly Willy, Feb 7, 2019.

  1. Chilly Willy

    Chilly Willy Well-Known Member

    Feb 15, 2004
    USA New Jersey
    Let's hear about your secret spots, past or present. Does anyone have a secret spot up their sleeve? Please, no specifics -- I don't expect anyone to blow up their own or anyone else's spot. But I would love to hear some stories. How did you find it? How long did it stay under wraps? Is there even a such thing as a secret spot anymore?


    Here's what got me thinking about it: I went for a spot search two weeks ago and zeroed in on a killer little spot that was largely off everyone's radar. It wasn't anything exotic or unreachable, but it was just down a random street that was very seldom checked. The beach entrance was kind of hidden and it wasn't very exposed in terms of lateral visibility, so it was simply unlikely that anyone would even bother checking there. There was a little notch in the beach, so it behaved like a small point break with an easy paddle out and very consistent rights that held through the mini cove. It was amazing having my exploration to pay off and discovering my own spot, like a little piece of winter paradise just off the beaten path. While everyone was bumping elbows at the more visible, more crowded, and not-as-good breaks down the beach, I was quietly slipping up to those reeling rights with just one buddy. We scored three empty sessions over the course of two weeks on three consecutive south groundswells. One of my favorite mental photographs is one of us running up to the point with our boards under our arms, stoked out of our gourds at the conditions, no one else around, and a sliver of sun just cracking the horizon. That last session was Tuesday morning DP.

    The rub: I showed up after work later that same day for my fourth session to find out that the spot had completely blown up! I counted at least 24 heads on it, all cluttered up at the point. The cat was fully out of the bag and fur was flying everywhere. It was a lineup of mostly shortboarders pockmarked with clunky SUPs, drop ins galore, guys were carelessly walking on and off right over the dunes, and I could hardly find a place to park. Oh, the heartache!!! (I am half kidding about that, but also half serious.) It's human nature to blame my buddy for spilling the beans -- despite my warnings to "DO NOT TELL ANYONE", he blabbed to another buddy of ours. That other buddy happens to have a big mouth and runs in those shortboard crowds. I'll never know for sure if that's how the word got out, but there's a shred of comfort in pointing the finger while pretending that the spot was truly secret and could never have possibly been found by anyone else. Still, it was great while it lasted and maybe one of my favorite recent surf memories knowing that I had myself a little secret spot to myself for a while.

    Update: I just got confirmation that our big mouthed mutual buddy did in fact leak my spot to some other guys. So annoyed. Big Mouth Matty is definitely off "the list". Or even better, maybe better to keep it 100% to myself next time. Lesson learned.

    The spot, all blown up. Just off camera to the right is a clump of more than a dozen dudes sitting right on at the peak.
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2019
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  2. shadydave

    shadydave Well-Known Member

    Mar 10, 2014
    Ayer Ma USA
    Chirping birds bring in the hawks every time. :cool: The best kept secrets are just that. I find it more rewarding to catch the ones in plain view unoccupied because swell info duped the masses into believing there is no swell.
    Glad you scored the 3 sessions you did.
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  3. zippy

    zippy Active Member

    Mar 24, 2008
    USA New Jersey
    Gotta give credit to a member of this forum (you know who you are) and being included in a "board train" for this memorable session at this 'secret spot'.

    I was responsible to relay a board around 100 miles to the next person in the board train. After texting the person handing off the board to me to arrange a meeting, and not really coming to an agreement, I finally just texted him that I was going surfing and told him where, in case he might want to meet there. He then told me he was also going surfing also and that I could meet him where he was going if i wanted. It was only a half hour drive so I did. I arrived early to find an empty parking lot and decided to check the waves. As I walked over the dunes and looked at the waves it dawned on me that this might be a memorable session! The waves were perfectly peeling down the beach for what seemed like the lenth of a football field from right to left. The wind was offshore, and with nobody in the water it was hard to judge the size but I could tell it was at least 3-4'. Soon after getting back to my car other surfers began to arrive and we all started suiting up. I was told in a nice way not to share this location if possible on social media, because it was 'secret'.
    For the next hour a handful of stoked, friendly, hooting and hollering surfers all shared and enjoyed the reeling rights that broke so perfectly on that newly formed sandbar. Everyone was having fun and catching their share of waves, but as the time went by the wind began to pick up and eventually blew the swell down and made it hard to even paddle into a wave. I rode a 9'8" Phillips Blue Max and it worked really well in these conditions.
    If my friend hadn't shared this location with me I would have just surfed the bigger but crowded usual spot I go to because I'm too lazy to explore. I love how our sandy beaches are always shifting and creating new bars to suprise the person willing to take the time to explore. Even in New Jersey, the armpit of the east coast, we can score world class waves!
  4. Artz

    Artz Well-Known Member

    Nov 22, 2018
    Had two secret spots in Baja. Yes “Had” is the optimal word here.
    The first was a place we called Brothers Point. A rock point with Death Slab take off zone. The wave backed off allowing for a nice face to play on before it hit a shallow shelf. On the right swell a tube opened up. Just remember to Kick out before the wave closed out on a rock ledge covered with spiny Urchins. Really nice at high to mid tide on 4 to 6 foot swell.
    The other is now very well known. Los Gaviotas. The wave has changed a lot since the 1970s when they first put the jetty in. From what I have heard the sand filled in and ruined the wave. Surfed there a lot when they were still building the all the homes.
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2019
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  5. Chilly Willy

    Chilly Willy Well-Known Member

    Feb 15, 2004
    USA New Jersey
    Funny you say that. I was thinking that about another spot (not at all a secret though) I had a year or two ago where the coastline dipped into another faux-point/cove setup. Just a funny anomaly for about a month, maybe two. I happened to notice it at the right time and kept hitting up that street. The coastline eventually evened out but it really does pay to do a little wandering now and then to see what’s new and which sandbars are working.
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  6. Surfnfish

    Surfnfish Well-Known Member

    Feb 6, 2015
    a quiet cabin in the woods
    Had an off grid fave for decades that a young Jeff Clark discovered and showed to me, and it was instant love, often surfed it by myself..short drive from the house, change at the car, hike the bluff for a half mile, drop down the goat trail, scramble north over the rocks, paddle out the keyhole...shallow jacking ledge with a critical takeoff over the boils into a flat out speed run down the line...waiting at the very end of the last section was an exposed rock pile requiring a 'hit it or miss it' business decision depending on swell direction...over the decades, lost multiple fins and couple of cracked ribs to it...smaller to medium sized Mavericks days ideal for it...strictly a shortboard wave...once he was ready for it, my son and I had sessions together there that we still talk about today...and remains his fave, still scoring solo sessions there like his pop used to...

    when I pass, my son will paddle my ashes out at that spot, on the same speedster I rode on my best days out there..

    Last edited: Feb 7, 2019
  7. Surfnfish

    Surfnfish Well-Known Member

    Feb 6, 2015
    a quiet cabin in the woods
    Art, what was the spot within a small bay, right hander off the north side, area eventually fenced in and upscale housing built? Maybe K65 or so? Had a fun session there in the late 70's, featuring an entertaining encounter with Ray Kunz, the original Malibu Enforcer
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2019
  8. dsquare

    dsquare Well-Known Member

    May 16, 2013
    USA Hawaii
    My secret spots are areas that everyone knows about but aren't crowded on "flat" days. I'm not on the north shore anymore but some of the most popular barrel and big wave spots are a blast on the right board on days that the reports say are flat. Of course, some days it really is a lake, but those small days often pitch up chest to head high on a 1-3 forecast.

    This is at a spot on the north shore on the 4th of July. Just us and one other family on a holiday at a spot that can see 40 surfers at 4-6 foot in the winter. This was my wife's first time on a true reef break, never had been on anything over waist high. Forecast was 0-2 feet.
  9. Ticowannabe

    Ticowannabe Well-Known Member

    Apr 25, 2012
    One of my secret spots in the 80's was a little known place called, Killer Dana...with the harbor breakwater being put in it seems for a time people forgot that the big rocks on the outside, that the large swells used to start at during its heyday/natural state were still there a couple hundred yards out and they still broke on the big swells...had several years of unmolested enjoyment with a buddy who could keep his mouth shut...and then it got discovered again, so back to salt creek and trestles. And, believe it or not during the winter and when the trespass walking to church and middles was heavily enforced by the military and you had to walk in the water to get there(and even then get harassed) you could find church at its very best with very few if any out. That all ended sometime in the mid 1990's...
    now my well known spots are sparsely contested and the secret spots are still pretty secret...pura vida
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2019
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  10. SeniorGrom

    SeniorGrom Well-Known Member

    Mar 20, 2012
    USA New Jersey
    Our sand is changing weekly. From 2000 - 2008 there were three to four jetties that were right handers and broke consistently with soft long peeling walls at almost any tide. One jetty you would always see loads of cars pulling up even in the dark. Mellow vibe mostly, but crowded. Even during and after beach replenishment these spots worked. Since then it’s changed. Little by little things deteriorated. I’m always touring and evaluating local spots. I get a perverse pleasure seeing vehicles pull up and guys paddle out in absolute junk just because it was good 10 years ago!
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