It's the little border city that fancies
itself as Surf City II or Surf City South. It tries hard, but it's
not quite Huntington Beach.
not to say Imperial Beach, CA, is second rate or just another wannabe
mecca for the board set. There are some pretty good beach breaks
just north or south of the pier and some decent surfers to watch, too.
Located just north of the Mexican border in
the southwestern-most quadrant of the USA, I-B Pier is pretty easy to
find. There are restrooms and showers at several locations to wash
away the salt.
The break is off sand
bars that form with the ebb and flow of tide and storms. The Tijuana
flows into the Pacific just south of town and that causes some silting at
certain times of the year. It's also a negative during the rainy
winter months when untreated sewage pollutes the beach.
But, with a sensible attitude, the waves are
Shooting the pier is, as
you might expect, more than a tad dangerous and not to be attempted when
there's a large swell. Since the area is unprotected by point or reef, the
waves can be huge from November through February when storms off Alaska
Just below the town is an
area known as the Tijuana Sloughs. Surf here at your own risk.
Raw sewage and other flotsam wash down the river and the surf guide book I
use often warns of sharks. As a major wuss, I'll keep my distance,
thank you very much.
North of the
town is a YMCA surf camp, a state beach and a major military base.
In fact, that's where the Navy SEALS train.
I-B is laid back along the beach, but I'm not
keen on hanging about after sunset. The Chamber of Commerce won't
agree, but...well, make your own decision.
Be courteous, friendly and enjoy the locals.
It may not be Malibu, Steamer Lane or the Pipeline, but there are waves
worth riding here.