After surfing I drove up north to Santa Barbara along the Pacific Coast Highway. This is possibly the most beautiful stretch of road I've ever seen! The road goes right along the beach and the views down to the beaches and points and further out to the Pacific are incredible! Looking inland, the beach is framed by mountains with picturesque hillside houses mixed in with vineyards and orchards and the occasional oil well-head.
My reason for visiting Santa Barbara was to go check out the Channel Island Surfboards flagship store. Channel Island Surfboards are one of the best known makers in the world. Shaper Al Merrick makes boards for the best surfers in the world including Kelly Slater, Rob Machado, and Dane Reynolds to name a few. All three are still in the hunt in the Hurley contest at Trestles this week, click here to watch the contest live. I wasn't planning on shopping but how can you resist so many shiny new toys?! I ended up grabbing a 5'9'' Flyer Quad which will definitely be useful since I didn't have a good smaller wave board with me.
I've taken a quick liking to the area and decided to spend a week here so I found a cottage to rent for the week on Vacation Rental by Owner(thanks Allison!) and I'm moving there this afternoon. It's basically a little pool house in someone's backyard but looks cool, check it out here. I'm hoping to be able to fully explore the area in the coming week and then start making my way back east. I'm thinking about drving down to Trestles to see the contest final so if I do I'll be sure and take the camera and get some pics!