Holy Crap! I’m standing at Malibu Surfrider Beach on Wednesday afternoon, August 27th, and the surf is just pounding! I’m talking about super-colossal surf, up to triple-overhead, which is 15-18 feet. No kidding!

This is a once in a decade (or maybe a once ever) event. The surf is booming from Hurricane Marie that’s spinning off the Baja Coast. There’s no danger of the hurricane coming up this far north to SoCal, but, dude, it’s pumping out incredible surf…and with it…

Surf scene


A Surf Scene!

I drove over Malibu Canyon from the Valley to get here at about 12 noon. When I crested the Santa Monica Mountains and headed down the incline to the coast, I could clearly see the sudsy coastline from 10 miles away. Surf was slamming the water into foam.

When I turned onto PCH, the air turned misty with surf-blowback that was drifting a mile or two inland from the tremendous waves that sent the exploding crash of seawater airborne.

hike there


hike back


There were cars bumper-to-bumper from way back at the Malibu turn-off. I had to park about 4 miles away and literally hitchhike back to  Malibu Beach. Here’s the truck that picked me up. I also hitchhike back to my car. I told this Brazilian couple, who were quite reluctant to pick up a bearded me, that I’d put their picture in this blog if they let me in their car, so here it is. Thanks Guys!

The vibe in the air was amazing with young surfers and old surfers, kids and chicks (it seems they’re 18 years-old forever!) walking along the highway, running along the highway, boards under their arms or cameras around their necks like me, hurrying to get to the bitchen’ scene.

It was as if a seminal event were already underway and you had to get there now or miss it forever…which might be true. News crews, Fire Engines, Police Cars, Four-Wheelers along the shore. Rescue Jet Skis in the water. And everywhere people snapping pictures on their phones, chattering, texting, talking about the latest.

“Did you hear the waves are breaking over the highway at Point Magu! The road is washed out!!”

“They say the surf is over 40′ at Paradise Cove!”

“Really, man, I mean it, I talked to a lifeguard, he said it was over 25′ at Zuma this morning. Perfect shape!”

“It’s kicking ass right now at Leo Carrillo, over 20′ at the rock!”



Waves do rise and fall at Malibu. It’s a premier, world famous break it’s true, but these waves were ridiculous. So big, they’re threatening the vintage, and heralded, Malibu Pier. They closed all but the first 30 feet of it yesterday. Pylons are ripped out of the sea bed and swinging in the surf that continues to smash into the trembling structure.



I stood on it to take some pictures of the famous big wave rider, Laird Hamilton and could feel the vibration of the shaky timbers as the waves rolled through. Shiver me timbers!!

I could go on and on! I’m still buzzing from the experience. But the best way to let you see and feel the event is to show you some of the photos I took. I’m no pro photographer, but I do have a new camera and this California Surfing Scene just about photographs itself!

Sea gull


I do want to mention that while the whole human herd was mesmerized by the waves, a sole seagull was focused on a unlucky sea urchin who got churned up and tossed onto the sand because of the rough surf. This seagull was not going to let this little nugget of a feast get away from him. He could care less about the waves, girls, dudes, or any of it. He reminded me of the theme of the poem, Musee des Beaux Arts by W.H. Auden. Look it up if you have any interest in that kind of thing.

Click this link to see what I saw today…

Holy Moly…Surf’s Up!!!




8 Responses to Kawabunga!!! Surf’s Up!!!

  1. robin andrea says:

    Love seeing the photos. It’s really pretty grand that the big waves crashing at Malibu can draw such a great crowd of people to watch in awe.

    • Frank Z says:

      It was a real trip with everyone’s energy filling the air. Quite a moment that I keep reflecting on days later. Thanks for commenting.

      • robin andrea says:

        My sister Lynn is a friend of yours and Annette’s. I love reading your blog. I see southern California in a whole new perspective when I read your posts. It’s not just chaos and traffic there. You see the natural world amidst the throngs.

  2. Beverly Pine says:

    Great pictures! [Were there 2 girls for every guy?]

  3. Frank Z says:

    Hey Greg, Yes he was there…the guy in my pictures on paddle-boarding the yellow paddle board in the red trunks is Laird! Thanks for commenting.

  4. Greg Brandt says:

    I understand that Laird Hamilton shot the pier on a paddle board! See “Riding Giants” if you haven’t already.
    GREAT pics….nice job!

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