(Cowells, most of the beach is closed to high levels of bacteria.)
I went surfing a week and a half ago and reminded myself how fun it was! I long board, so there’s a few spots that are great for me. It rained last week for only a day or two, but most people try to stay out of the water between 24-72hours post-rain because the water is typically more polluted with debris washed out from the city sewers and such.
So, if you are an avid surfer, you may watch for surf reports and cross reference with water quality reports before venturing out. There used to be one spot called Cowells that was great for beginner surfers but its bacteria count is fairly high nowadays.
The main culprits for any beach / water pollution are rotting kelp, which we have a lot of, and storm drain run-off after heavy rains. Recently, efforts to clean the beaches of decaying kelp and any man-made debris have had some success, however, marine life (sea lions, birds, sea otters, etc) still contribute — and we have a LOT of those!
The waves for long boarding are fairly poor today (that’s why I should learn to Stand-Up-Paddleboard, or SUP!) but hoping next week will be better! The water quality at the beaches I surf seem great, so no worries there. 😉
Further reading: SC Sentinel Article
Heal the Bay California based organization.
I use NOAA, surfline, spitcast, surfingsantacruz to cross reference the wave and speed before I gear up. Living far away from my surf spots means I don’t have the luxury of waiting and watching. Surf cams help, too! 😉