Everyone’s heard of “The Endless Summer,” Bruce Brown’s prolific 1966 surf film that followed Mike Hynson and Robert August on a surfing trip around the world. Only thing is, summertime in Santa Barbara is the pits for surfers. Pretty much every ounce of Southern Hemisphere Juice is blocked by the Santa Barbara Channel Islands and the Northern Pacific remains quiet until fall. What to do then? Well, Santa Barbarian surfers often opt to chase the Endless Winter by finding waves in different hemispheres.
It’s not uncommon to bump into Santa Barbara locals in Mexico, Central America, Indonesia and even Australia during the flat, foggy conditions that summer brings on the Central Coast of California. One surfer you can often find wandering each year between April and October is Ryan Nufer, a Sandspit local and drone operator for Skylab Photo. Having traveled extensively throughout the Americas and Indonesia, Nufer decided to jump off the beaten path this summer, avoiding the crowded “premiere” destination waves looking for novelty and adventure.
Seek and you shall be rewarded the saying goes, and Ryan’s first stop landed him square in the middle east. He found some at the Wadi Adventure wave pool, a 2 hour drive though the desert from Dubai, where he spent the whole day surfing and hanging out with the lifeguards. Being a county lifeguard himself he was invited back to surf again that night and had a session under the lights at the the man-made wave. “It was so cool being in the middle of a hot desert but being in cool pool water.”
After surfing the Wadi Adventure he headed back into Dubai city to snowboard the indoor snowboarding park in the Emeriates Mall of Dubai. Surfing and snowboarding go hand in hand for Californians as we get most of our waves and snow at the same time, it’s not uncommon to ride waves and a half pipe in the same weekend for many board sport enthusiasts in Southern California. However, pulling it off in the middle of the desert is another story! But being landlocked in the desert is only fun for so long and Ryan continued on to his final surf destination for the summer, Sri Lanka.
While he was there he spent most of his time surfing at Pottuvil Point. “It never got really big like last year,” said Ryan, “though when it turns on it can be a lot like El Capitan,” a fickle and much sought after wintertime wave near where he grew up in Goleta. But sadly this year didn’t get big enough for barreling waves but this trip. According to Ryan he still had, “really fun getting some mid day surf sessions with no one out!” Something we can all envy living on the coast of California!
Nufer spent the rest of his vacation surfing “and taking snack breaks eating ‘roadies,’ Indian curry snacks between surf sessions.” However he did take some time with friends from Australia and Waves for Water to install a clean water system for the village adjacent to Pottuvil. Some of their work is featured in the Youtube video at the start of this blog. You can learn more about Waves for Water HERE