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Riding Out the Apocalypse

For me, living my life like it’s the Final Day would be easy: I’d go surfing. For one thing, the waves would be empty — everyone else would be out drinking and smoking and eating and robbing and shooting and screwing each other. So that would leave the waves for me. Of course, this being L.A., a couple thousand other people might have that same exact thought. Either way, here are the best spots to surf your final days:

Best place to ride a tsunami (if that’s the way L.A. bites the?bullet): Point Dume — that big bolt of land just might handle a giant, giant swell.

Best waveto cure a hangover (in case you partied like there’s no tomorrow): Zuma during a good winter swell — no getting around duck-diving through the mind-chilling cold waves.

Best spotto get pummeled by the waves and held under in the impact zone for an eternity: Zuma during any swell.

Best beachto get sick on a wave (i.e., “sick ride . . .”): Malibu — so long as there aren’t 150 people out in the water with you.

Best beachto get sick on a wave (i.e., the runs, the flu, hepatitis, prostatitis, you-name-ititus): Malibu — or any L.A. beach after it rains.

Best spot to catch consistently peeling lefts: Zeros (hint: it’s past Point Dume, before County Line).

Best spotto catch a left barrel: Torrance, when there’s the right combo of swell and sandbars.

Best spotto catch a consistently peeling right: Malibu.

Best spotto get consistently snaked on a peeling right: Malibu.

Best right breakthat’s not a zoo: Latigo (hint: north of Malibu, south of Point Dume, hidden in plain sight), mostof the time.

Best viewof the Zoo: Venice, any time.

Best spotto catch a right or left hook to the mouth: Lunada Bay, Palos Verdes — if you snake any of the locals.

Best beach to get hassled by locals who don’t actually live ?locally: Topanga.

Best beachto have a homeless person ask you about the surf conditions: Ocean Park and/or Venice.

Best place to find rounded pieces of beach glass: Santa Monica Beach, south of Santa Monica Canyon.

Best place to slice your foot on a broken bottle: Santa Monica Beach, south of Santa Monica Canyon.

Best place to be photographed by a surf photographer even if you suck: El Porto.

Best place to surf when you do suck: Sunset, in the bay (don’t worry, there are tons of beginners there).

Best place to shoot-the-pier (i.e., surf between the pylons without actually crashing into one of them): Hermosa Beach (L.A.) or Huntington Beach (O.C.).

Best placeto see someone smash into a pier pylon: Hermosa Beach or Huntington Beach or Manhattan Beach or any of the piers — some fool is always going to try.

Best place to get shot at while on the pier: Venice — after midnight.

Best placeto watch surf-camp kids learn to surf: Bay Street.

Best placeto run over recent surf-camp graduates: Bay Street.

Best place to get a $30-plus parking ticket for surfing that “one last wave”: El Porto, Bay Street, Hermosa, most any of the L.A. city beaches.

Best placeto see a seal or sea lion pop up in the water: Abalone Cove, Palos Verdes.

Best placeto see a Navy SEAL pop up in the water: Trestles.

Best placeto see a shark fin pop out of the water: Malibu (July 2007), Newport Beach (July 2007), Long Beach (July 2007), Will Rogers (June 2007), Sunset Beach, O.C. (June 2007), etc., and Bay Street (a blue near me, August 2006), County Line (a great white, by me again, 1997) — basically, it’s their ocean and they’re out there, but the preferred view is from the sand, not the water.

Best spot to mistake a floating black trash bag for a stingray: any and all L.A. beaches.

Best spot to actually see a stingray: Bay Street — during warm, low-tide summer days.

Best spot to step on a stingray: same as above.

Best l.a. county beachthat is not actually in L.A. County: County Line.

Best greasy foodfrom a surf shack: Neptune’s Net — across from County Line.

Best frozen yogurtafter a session: Sparky’s — on Main in Santa Monica.

Best namefor a beach access path: the Zonker Harris Beach Access in Malibu.

Best spotto catch skin cancer while surfing L.A. beaches: all of the above.

Best secret spotin L.A. County: the Secret Spot

Best PLACE to catch a perfect A-frame wave all to yourself: in your dreams! Or, if it’s after the Apocalypse, maybe you’ll get lucky, so to speak.


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