Looking back at the year that was and what 2023 holds in store
As we close out 2022 and get ready for another lap around the sun, we have plenty to be thankful for, as well as plenty to look forward to.
Let’s start with the immediate. According to the crack forecast team at Surfline, it’s looking as if 2023 is going to start with some significant waves (it may also start with some rainy weather).
It’s always a little dicey to put a surf forecast in this column, as things can change by the time it goes to print, but if forecast models hold true, we could be looking at our first decent west swell of the winter season.
There will be a mix of swells during the week between Christmas and New Year’s, but the week of Jan. 2 looks to be holding the most promise.
As we get further into January, we’ll be bracing for the start of the WSL Championship Tour at Pipeline. San Clemente’s Griffin Colapinto is fresh off an impressive second-place finish at the recent Vans Pipe Masters, while Kolohe Andino is coming off of a win at the Cold Water Classic up in Santa Cruz.
The results should give both surfers plenty of confidence and momentum as they begin their chase for the 2023 world title—which will culminate with the Rip Curl WSL Finals at Lower Trestles in September.
Colapinto just missed out on last year’s Finals, finishing the season ranked seventh in the world (the top five qualify for the Finals). Meanwhile, Andino battled back from injury last year to wrap up his season ranked 21st in the world.
January will also see the San Clemente Board Riders head Down Under for the Usher Cup. A global gathering of surf clubs from around Australia, as well as New Zealand, Japan, France and Indonesia, the crew from San Clemente will join other U.S.-based clubs from Maui and Huntington Beach.
While there are plenty of bragging rights on the table, the event is also hoping to raise upwards of $100,000 for charity.
“It’s an incredible opportunity to spend time with other surf clubs from around the world and learn and build friendships,” says San Clemente Board Riders President Benji Severson. “Australia has had the club thing going for so long, it’s foundational in their surf culture, and we’re honored to be able to represent our town and be part of that. It means a lot to represent San Clemente.”
Looking back at the year that was, with all the great swells and good times at the beach in the rear-view mirror, we honor the heroes and legends we lost along the way. It still seems impossible that luminaries in our community including Art Brewer, Brad Bashum and Fred Swegles have passed on to the great lineup in the sky.
Brewer created the images that captured every surfer’s imagination, and likely launched thousands of surf trips in the process.
Bashum provided every would-be shaper with a home, a safe space to learn their craft, buy supplies and spend time with other like-minded surfboard builders.
And then there was Swegles, whose stories and photography were foundational for generations of aspiring surfers. Be sure to catch a wave for them the next time you paddle out.
There’s plenty to look forward to in the year ahead. New swells to chase, new contests to win and new adventures to have.
We’ve also got a few tough fights on our hands in the months ahead, including what happens with the lease for San Onofre State Beach and the issue of beach erosion that has imperiled the coastline in San Clemente and Capo Beach.
But for now, have a very happy New Year. Surf and enjoy.