With summer quickly approaching, we Southern California surfers know that our addiction to waves is about to hit rock bottom. The northwest swells of winter that give San Diego County the best chance for good surf are long gone. The springtime combination-swells that turn our beaches into playful skateparks are on their way out. So, unless you have a trip planned to the Southern Hemisphere, you might as well start getting mentally prepared for the hype and letdown of San Diego’s south swell season.

But even with the invasion of tourists and the parking battles that will surely ensue, San Diego’s beaches are still one of the best places in the world to be. The water is heating up, the articles of clothing on the beach are getting smaller, and if you’re looking for ways to get your adrenaline fix on, Four EL has some ideas that might keep your heart racing and your body in surfing shape till fall (and surfing nirvana) arrive.


1) Go For a Dive

Throwing on a mask and fins to take a look at the world below the surface of the water has numerous benefits for a wave-starved surfer. Not only does it give you a chance to see the fish, plants and reefs you don’t normally see from your board, but holding your breath and pushing yourself to dive deeper can act as an exercise to get your lungs in shape for the first big winter swells. Whether you’re swimming out from your local break or heading to La Jolla Cove to experience some of San Diego’s clearest water and most abundant fish population, the best way to stay in tune with the ocean is to be in it.

Four EL tip: If you want to boost your man-cred more at the next barbecue, bring a speargun on your next dive. Your buddy’s homemade hummus doesn’t stand a chance against the fish you just caught by hand.


2) Go For a Paddle

Finding ways to stay in the water is always the best way to cure the flat-spell blues, that’s why we recommend going for a paddle. With 70 miles of coastline in the county ranging from beaches, to calm bays and harbors, to scenic cliffs, there’s plenty to explore for all levels of paddlers. If a casual cruise is what you’re into, you can rent a kayak at numerous locations throughout the county. But if you’re looking for a more ambitious workout, get on a prone or stand-up paddleboard. Both prone and SUP’s are great surf-muscle workouts. But if you want to really feel the burn, we recommend going with the SUP, which will not only workout your shoulders but will build your core strength and help with your balance.

Four EL tip: Pick a paddleboard race at the end of the summer to give yourself something to train for. By the time race day is over, you’ll be shredded and ready to start paddling into monsters. For race suggestions, check out http://www.eatonsurf.com/Events.htm.


3) Shape Your Own Board

If you can’t surf, you might as well kill some time by attempting to build your own craft. With the rising cost of board-building materials and the prevalence of the machine-shaped surfboards, it’s not as common to have neighbors who are backyard shapers these days. Remember where you could poke your head in and watch a board being built from foam blank to finished product? Similar to how the average American doesn’t fully understand how our food gets from the farm to the table, the younger generation of surfers has been far removed from the skilled art of surfboard building. Fortunately for them, there’s a local San Diego company that’s keeping that experience alive. Shaper Studios offers everything from tours of their shaping facility, to private shaping and glassing lessons, all the way to renting your own shaping bay once you’re ready to build your own boards. If nothing else, the process gives you a new-found respect for the art of building boards; maybe it’ll make you think twice before you haggle for a bro deal with your shaper next time you order a board. (www.shaperstudios.com)


4) Go For a Skate

Along with having some of the best surfing right here in our backyard, we’ve also got some amazing skateboarding. If you’re into bombing hills and feeling like you’re riding giant waves, we’ve got tons of neighborhoods with big hills and smooth asphalt. If you’re into flowing around a bowl while pretending to rip into the face of the wave, numerous cities in San Diego County have well-maintained, concrete skateparks. When the summer heat gets too hot to be outdoors, you can always head indoors to ride some of the best ramps in the world at the Aura Skateboarding Co. facility in Vista. Aura acts as a training facility and ramp design center where skaters of all skill levels can go and progress in a safe environment and even take lessons from their highly skilled staff. (http://auraskateboarding.com/)


5) Get Crafty

With the exponential growth of the craft-brew industry, San Diego is quickly becoming known as the Napa Valley of craft beers. Though drinking beers may not help you become a better surfer, drinking beers and talking about surfing is the second most prominent activity in a surfer’s life. With breweries and tasting rooms throughout the county, there’s bound to be a location near you or, better yet, get a group of friends together and hop on a brewery tour bus for an experience you’ll never forget … or never remember. (http://www.sandiegobrewtours.com/ or http://www.brewerytoursofsandiego.com/ )


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