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I-B
Surf City II With An Imperial Look

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.

That's 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 worth it.

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 sweep down.

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.