One of the main agriculture producers in California, Ventura County is about as working-class as surf towns get. In lineups from Little Rincon to Point Mugu, you’ll find a lot of black wetsuits, and very few stickers on noses. It’s a blue-collar community sandwiched between two of the most ostentatious surf zones in the world, and the locals take pride in that. The sleepy stretch of coast would be easily overlooked if it weren’t for the fact that some of California’s most electric surfers have come from there. From Timmy Curran, to Dane Reynolds, to Nick Rozsa, to Matt McCabe, Ventura County has been farming almost as much surf talent as they have strawberries. I headed up to Ventura recently to meet up with Nick Rozsa and to get a better feel for one of California’s most enigmatic surf locales.Nick Rozsa, capitalizing on the uncommon right at this Ventura beachbreak. Photo: Maassen
It was a painful first light on a July morning as we hopped across loose boulders lining the beach of a normally inaccessible right-hander. I was with with photographer Morgan Maassen, Nick Rozsa, Dane Reynolds, and a few of their friends. It’s the kind of posse that fetches local stink eyes, and inspires indignant statements made under breath. Dane and Nick understand their occupational hazards, and know that smiles and waves are their best defense. The spot we were checking was the star of Dane’s last Marine Layer production (emma wood is killing me/sitting off the horn), and if you want to know how good it can get, set aside a few minutes to watch and salivate. This morning was different though. It was much, much worse. The inconsistent south swell teased us with the occasional wedge followed by a 20-minute lull. But there was hope around the corner at a more exposed beach, so we made our way with moderate expectation.