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December 2017  in Goleta. Zero rain. One crazy wildfire. Barely any surf.

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We did however, get our fill of Mars-like sunsets and sucking ash into our lungs,
as the Thomas Fire burned its way into the record books.

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Ash covered everything.

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There were reports of epic, empty sessions at usually super crowded spots….
But an N95 mask was required and goggles were recommended.

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Eerily beautiful sunsets were the only silver lining.

But the air had moments of clarity, and a few waves made themselves available.

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Some nice  little rollers in the cove were just enough for Cole Robbins to have fun with.

Cole had just gotten home from Taiwan, where he did very well in the World Longboard Championship.
Now he was enjoying some mellow Goleta nuggets..

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“Art imitates life.”

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Evidently, love was in the air this evening.

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We’re assuming these two knew each other before this wave….

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Tai chi

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We happened to walk by as Natalia Valdez caught her last wave of the day.

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And she ended her session with a flourish.

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There were long lulls and the sets were slow and soft,
but Robbins always seems to keep himself busy, deep into the cove.

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Just having way too much fun…

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Meanwhile, up top, the sun was slowly dropping through the ash.

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And a handful of local boys were making the most of the funky swell.

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Surfer/shaper Joseph Yee.

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Rick Hayes was sitting deep, waiting for sets.

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But they didn’t have the juice of a good December swell.

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And La Sirena looked on….

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The sun set, blood red.

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Another December day, favorable winds gave us crystal clear skies, and glassy little waves.

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It felt so good to get the ash out of our ears and eyes…

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Just a few locals out, like Evan Fuller, lining this beauty up.

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Tyler Brooks got lots of fun ones.

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Zach  Briones was stoked.

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And the legend, Dave Johnson paddled out and shredded on his Duo board.

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So, our winter is off to a slow start, surfwise and rainwise. Hopefully that will change in 2018.
In the meantime, we make the most of what we get….

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Our thoughts go out to all the folks that lost their homes and businesses in the Thomas Fire,
the largest wildfire in modern California history.
Make a donation to the victims

HERE

and thank you firefighters!