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What’s the Deal with El Nino?

Well ladies and gentlemen here we are in the month of December and water temps are still in the mid 60’s.  Is this coincidence with global warming?  Perhaps there is something causing this delightful weather that we are loving in winter…The answer is the kid has come to play this winter.  Yes the famed El Nino has returned to the shores of sunny Southern California.  El Nino in a nutshell can be characterized as an abnormal increase in warm water temperatures that are brought up from the equator.  To most people in Orange County El Nino is just a term associated with rain that will slow their morning commute.  However when this term is heard by a surfer it is a signal of excitement as perfect waves and warm water are looming in the future.

The last time Huntington Beach encountered a significant El Nino was during the winter of 1997 and this brought consistent surf to the region with perfect water temperatures.  Spots along the coast that were not known to produce a surfable wave were suddenly lighting up as hidden gems that could be surfed due to El Nino’s power.  The famed Newport Point in Newport Beach resembled Pipeline on the North Shore of Oahu as it brought countless barrels for the winter.  1997 was a year that every surfer who was there to experience it will never forget…

Now here we are in 2015 the rumors have been spread and the forecast has been repeated that we are in for the mother of all El Nino’s.  Although the rain has not come the ocean temps are clearly warmer than last winter.  We are in the water everyday at Learn To Surf and have just begun to consistently wear wetsuits as this summer and fall were so warm due to the equatorial currents.  There is a buzz in Huntington Beach because the reports are in for the first week of December and big surf looks to be coming our way.

However for the beginner surfer or novice who is just getting back into the sport there is nothing to fear about El Nino.  We still do surf lessons everyday, but you wont be out surfing giant swells.  Rather we will keep you on the inside ridding reform waves.  Our surf instructors are experts at reading tides, swell patterns, and currents to make sure your experience at Learn To Surf is a safe one.  We hope you come down to share a truly once and a life time opportunity to surf during our El Nino as the water is rarely this warm in the winter.

Want To Be A Better Surfer?

You have heard the cliché “Rome was not built in a day” and this saying holds true in learning to surf as well. People often want to progress in surfing at a very rapid pace because we watch surf videos, contests, and people out in the water everyday that make it look easy. The fact is to become a better surfer you just have to go out and surf more. There is a school of thought out there that it takes 10,000 hours to truly master something. To put this into perspective 10,000 hours is a little over a year (1 year and 1 month to be exact) and this means that you would have to surf everyday all day for a year straight to “master” surfing. As enticing as quitting ones job and surfing 24 hours a day sounds it is not a realistic possibility. So the use of ones time becomes paramount when learning to surf as 10,000 hours can be a serious commitment. We all have obligations, duties, and unfortunately jobs to attend to during the course of the day. Surfing is seen as a leisure sport that some cannot devote the proper amount of time to master. However surfing can be some of your most well spent time as it is one of the best forms of exercise and stress relief. There is no magic formula to becoming a better surfer but below are some guidelines that will help you on your journey.


  1. Swim- Hands down one of the best ways to get into surfing shape. Swimming forces you to breathe methodically ensuring you will have better cardio when you paddle.
  2. Row- Getting on a rowing machine for 30 minutes a day will increase the strength of the muscles needed to paddle for surfing.
  3. Stretch- Flexibility is huge often times people don’t put in the work to loosen their bodies up. If your hips and legs are tight the motion of popping up on a surfboard will not come easy.
  4. Hydrate/Nutrition- The body is a machine and our goal is to turn it into a surfing machine. Drinking water instead of carbonated drinks will pay big dividends when surfing and cutting back on junk food gives you better stamina.
  5. Surf- Seems to simple to be true, but the best way to get better at surfing is to simply surf. It’s all about muscle memory the more we do something the more natural it feels. Our body is then programed to continually do an act that over time will be an unconscious reaction.


I am committed to these guidelines as they have made me a better surfer, but my goal is to incorporate them into your life so you will be a better surfer. We are all on the same path in the realm of surfing some of us a just a bit farther ahead on that path. However with time, dedication, and a willingness to become a better surfer that goal will eventually be realized.