Hazard Canyon

watching the surfers
Week 29. September 28. Hazard Canyon was the quintessential secret surf spot on the Central Coast for decades. It was fiercely defended, protected, and monitored by local surfers. There was a time that if you were not a local and parked your car at the secret entrance, chances were you’d return to a custom “no tresspassing sign” opaquely displayed as a thick covering of surf wax over every window of your car. You could expect a fist in the water or someone paddling over your feet in the line up. Name calling and stink eye were the least of your worries.

I don’t know when the spot was officially outed but I’ve seen it mentioned in Surfer Magazine and in at least one surf movie. A quick google search comes up with pages of links. An official parking spot was added by the MdO park (tho down the road from the traditional entrance), making it an easy place to get to for a day on the beach or in the water.

walking the canyon
No matter where you park or your local/non-local status, it still requires a long walk in through a eucalyptus stand and thick sand.

So many people on the beach
All that said, I was surprised none-the-less by how many people were on the beach.

Growing up here, this was always a special place for me because it was a secret, special beach that not that many people knew about or went to.

going over the lip
My friends and I would come down for long walks with our families or for impromptu bonfires (can’t get away with that anymore) or just to sit and watch the surfers.

surfer walking in
Steve and I sat on rock outcroppings for a while, people watching, bird watching. We took a walk looking at rocks, shells, feathers, birds. Getting our feet wet. It was blazing hot, a beautiful day. Quintessential Indian Summer Central Coast perfection.

surfer walking towards friends
(Surfer coming in, walking towards his friends)

the sandy cliff
(The huge sand dune cliffs. I think they are beautiful.)

(So much kelp! Nice view to the rock.)

snowy plovers are cute
(The little guys are snowy plovers. Because they build their nests right on top of the sand and because the state of California staunchly protects them, the snowy plovers dictate when people can go through the dunes and what parts of the beach are open.)

(Long-billed curlews, my favorite shore bird.)

heerman's gulls flying away
(I don’t know that much about gulls. They seem to be ubiquitous, but when you start paying attention you begin to realize they are different types of gulls. You begin to wonder if certain gulls show up during certain seasons. You begin to wonder if juveniles look different from adults. You vow to check the bird book when you get home. You invariably forget.)

(That said, I think these are Heermans.)

looking toward morro rock
(Getting into the water lets you get the best to-the-rock perspective.)

running down the enormous dune
(Running down these dunes. I loved doing this when I was a teen.)

Secret or not, Hazards is still one of my favorite beaches and it still feels like a treat when I get to go. Sunny and hot, like it was on this day, or socked-in-fog, it doesn’t matter. It’s a long stretch of secluded beach. It’s California. It’s a great way to spend a day.

my foot prints in the sand


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