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Why surf dawn patrol?

Dawn Patrol at Sunset Cliffs
Dawn Patrol at Sunset Cliffs
Carli Leavitt

Finding glassy empty waves in San Diego can be virtually impossible, especially for surfers who also have full time 9-5 jobs. We all know that being a weekend warrior inevitably means large crowds, constant party waves and boards flying everywhere at our local San Diego surf breaks and even if you happen to get off early enough to get an afternoon or evening session in, it's still crowded and often windy. But, there is a solution - dawn patrol.

What is dawn patrol? Dawn patrol is surfing just before sunrise when all your friends and coworkers are sleeping soundly in their beds, curled up under warm blankets, or hitting the snooze button for a couple more minutes of splendor. It's pulling on a cold damp wetsuit in the dark, chugging a quick cup of joe, driving to a local break on empty streets, carting a board that feels 50lbs heavier than usual down a cliff and diving into chilly water before the sun pops up over the hills. The idea of leaving a warm bed to jump into cold water sounds like a terrible idea to most people unless, of course, you're a surfer.

San diego surfers know just how precious the wee hours of morning really are. They understand that the best way to start a day is with a dip in the Pacific and riding a few empty glassy waves. Sure you'll go to work without breakfast and may have a few rogue pieces of kelp in your hair, but it doesn't matter. It's all worth it to feel the rush of a wave on your back, the effortless pop up and heart stopping drop-in, the play of a board on a wave gliding up and down dancing with the movement of the water. There is nothing like it and for local San Diego surfers, there is a constant desire to be immersed in the ocean. No matter how long the paddle or how many waves you take on the head to get there. No matter how good the bed feels or that coffee tastes, there is nothing better than starting the day with a dawn patrol surf.