All photos by Nick Liotta
Imagine you’re in LAX on Thanksgiving Day. Or maybe you’re walking past a roadside puddle just as a group of teenagers are driving toward you. There are times, and there are places – and these would be hallmark examples of the wrong mixing of the two. Timmy Reyes, on the other hand, doesn’t have to worry about this problem. Not because he has the common sense to avoid airports on holidays and would rather drive than walk, but because he has mastered the art of being in the right place, at just the right time. The nomadic, surf-chasing dreams of most of us desk-ridden folk are what Tim calls an average Tuesday – because nobody wiggles their way into more pristine, under-the-radar sessions in a season than he does. And if you’ve ever thought you found a new wave on the West Coast, he’s probably been there, gotten barreled there, and maybe even had a picnic. So let Timmy give you some insight on how you too can master the float-a-round and score some sneaky waves of your own this winter. –Dayton Silva
Know Your Sh*t
For me, the main ingredients when it comes down to chasing waves are swell patterns and more importantly, the right weather. When I see a swell starting, it doesn’t even have to be that big, but what I’m really after are those crispy offshore, beautiful days that everyone imagines. And over the last ten years I’ve really just devoted myself to chasing that kind of weather because a lot can happen with swell forecasts. So I’m constantly tracking weather now, and if the swell aligns, I’m on it.
Have A Loose Plan
If it’s a standard swell with those crisp clean offshore conditions I was talking about, then I’d generally look toward beachbreaks. But if it’s thick, chunky groundswell with maybe not the best conditions then that’s when I’ll stick to the reefs. But the underlying goal of it all is to just try and surf by myself as much as I can – so wherever it is that allows me to do that is probably where I’ll end up.
Use Your Resources
I have a lot of friends up and down the West Coast, the East Coast, and around the world for that matter who I use as my spies. I’m always keeping in touch with them when I’m tracking swells to get the inside scoop on things. My dad has also taught me about a lot of different waves in California and what they need. He lives in Oregon now so he’s another one of my informants.
If there’s a solid swell coming, let’s say to the West Coast, I’ll probably be surfing somewhere random – I have somewhat of a mental checklist of places I want to go every year. Southern California is pretty shaded from those big Northwests, so I like to head North where there’s a bit more power and much thinner crowds. I would way rather surf a chunkier, crazier, scarier wave by myself than a perfect one with a ton of people – and that’s how a lot of my strike missions go. I guess I’m not a normal surfer, I like the rugged conditions and being alone in deep, dark waves. Plus, I’ve kept a lot of waves under the radar that way, and I plan on keeping it like that.
Keep Things Light (and low-pro)
I just like to mix it up and have fun – and at the end of the day, that’s the main goal. Maybe I’ll ride a funky board and just try to surf the inside waves. Or maybe just sit out the back and only wait for a big one. But for the most part, I just try to have fun and keep to myself. I know when I go places that there are locals and I’m just a visitor, so I like to keep things pretty low-profile.
Figure out where those high pressures are and go find yourself some waves.