I vividly remember the moment I realized Los Angeles was the best place in the world for a surfer to live. I was surfing First Point, Malibu with no one out except Matthew McConaughey, Brody Jenner, and a few dudes from the Silicon Beach Surfers Club, who, by the way, are some of the coolest cats in Los Angeles. It was a classic Malibu day in January. Lines were pouring from the horizon, as one perfect left after another rolled through. “Go, Toby!” Matt screamed, clearly in position for the set of the day. “No, you go!” I insisted. Just before Matt could shout again, a beautiful family of albino dolphins snaked us. Matt turned to me, smiled, and said, “Living the dream, Aimer. Living the dee-ream.” The wave passed us by and the offshore winds rained down on us, painting a beautiful rainbow in the sunlight. McConaughey winked at me. “Only in Los Angeles,” I said to myself. Here are 10 more reasons why Los Angeles is the best place for a surfer to live:
1. We have an endless and constant supply of powerful swell. It’s literally exhausting.
Yep, it’s so consistent and good that there’s no window for rest. As a result, we’re in impeccable shape, year-round. If waves were food, Los Angeles could single-handedly cure world hunger and have some left over. In fact, there are world-class breaks every 50 feet or so. Even with surfers driving in from Orange County, San Diego, Ventura, Oxnard, and Santa Barbara every day, there are still plenty of waves to go around.
2. It’s probably the most affordable place to live in California—if not America.
The low cost of living probably goes without saying. I have a 25-foot square studio under the 405 freeway right next to a weed dispensary. It’s so tight. My manager Armando gives me a discount if I show him my butt cheeks. He’s real nice. Now I’m able to afford organic food; it’s so healthy. I feel great.
3. Los Angeles is America’s unrivaled mecca for high-performance surfing.
The level of surfing here is so high that it’s intimidating. It’s a bonafide hotbed for progression. Per square mile, more professional surfers come out of LA than anywhere else in the world. As a barometer of progression in our sport, just check out any one of our pumping local spots for mind-blowing progression: Sunset, Topanga, Venice Breakwater (our Maverick’s to the south), and El Porto. The list goes on.
4. Getting from place to place is almost too easy.
It’s like ghost town here—especially in the summer months when everybody makes their annual pilgrimage to the valley and Arizona. I don’t know how people in Northern California survive that traffic.
5. They don’t call Los Angeles America’s Brita filter for nothing.
We need not mention LA’s immaculately clean water quality and rich biodiversity, right? My girlfriend and I only drink water bottled directly from Surfrider Beach after a good, long rain. Only then can we taste the rich vitamins and minerals from Barstow. The visibility never dips below 40 feet, so when there are no waves (which is, like never – see point #1), you can go snorkel/scuba dive the wonderful reefs, including the Great Barrio Reef. Palm trees for days too. And don’t get me started on the white sand beaches of Venice. You could eat off of them. I think a lot of people actually do since they’re effectively sterile.
6. You never have to worry about safety in the lineup.
Here, at least 80% of surfers have soft tops, so you don’t have to worry about being injured by someone’s board. Plus, everyone seems to know what they’re doing, so it’s pretty safe.
7. It’s almost too uncrowded.
Every once in a while, if I’m really lucky, I get to surf with someone. It’s a real treat when there are other surfers in the water. They’re all super nice, encouraging, and glowing with enthusiasm. But for the most part, I really get to channel the essence of what surfing is all about in the clean waters of Los Angeles: Solitude. Peace. Natural beauty all around me.
8. There is a VERY high possibility of being discovered.
The paparazzi are everywhere. They have waterhousings. That day I was surfing with Matthew McConaughey I was approached to do a herpes treatment commercial. I was only paid $150 for, like 6 hours of work, but people recognize me from all over. “Hey, you’re that guy from the herpes commercial,” they say. It’s pretty cool that I’m on TV. Since I’ve started to build a name for myself, I think it will lead to bigger roles, too.
9. It’s got that small-town, down-to-earth vibe dialed.
For a place so obsessed with fiction and entertainment, it’s rad that it doesn’t get to anyone’s head. People tend to reciprocate a level of sincerity and trust that’s hard to come by. No one is concerned much with their appearance, which is a nice bonus since I don’t really follow fashion trends like man-buns and top-hats and what have you. Luckily, no one seems to notice or judge.
10. Everything you need to surf is super reasonably priced.
One thing I really appreciate is that the local shops around here aren’t here to rob you. There are a few great ones around, including Hayden Shapes in El Segundo and Channel Islands in Hollywood that both have very reasonably priced gear. No matter what, you aren’t paying over $1,400 for a standard shortboard—which is great.