The City of San Buenaventura is a tiny hamlet on the northern end of what’s loosely considered Southern California. About an hour drive north of Los Angeles and just up the road from the legendary Malibu coast, this relatively sleepy, seaside suburban village seems to be perfectly happy maintaining it’s bucolic legacy as quaint, small town that’s quietly grown up on a steady diet of world-class agriculture and petroleum products.
One of the most striking qualities of Ventura is that the people here lack pretension. The generally laid-back, friendly Venturans say “hello” when you offer them a greeting in passing, which is contrary to my experience in big cities. Neighbors are warm, friendly folks with whom you’ll end up spending most weekends and major holidays, breaking bread, tossing back plenty of drinks and marveling at the luck of living in this special place.
This coastline is graced with so many opportunities for sailing, swimming, snorkeling, kayaking, fishing and, of course, surfing. The town is a veritable wave paradise, picking up many different swell angles. And believe it or not in this day and age, you can manage to find a peak to yourself. Even if you choose to surf the points on a primo swell, it’s unlikely you’ll run into much aggression so long as you respect the rotation. You see, that elusive “aloha” spirit is allowed to flourish here by a group of dedicated locals that let their surfing and actions in the line-up do the talking.
Proximity to great waves produces another high quality product: world-class surfers like Conner Coffin, Dane Reynolds or Sage Erickson. For those of us that live in a world that will never include going on tour with the World Surf League, we look to everyday style masters at our local breaks. Ventura has nurtured so many gifted athletes that embrace surfing as a way of life. Getting in the water every day is given no more thought than brushing teeth or taking the dog for a walk. This is my tribute to a small tribe of remarkable, unwavering sea folk who have allowed me into their little slice of coastal paradise. So a million “thank yous” for the Ventura style lessons. I wouldn’t be the surfer I am today without the privilege of watching you shred.