Friday, October 10, 2014

Surfers of the Venice Fishing Pier

The Venice Fishing Pier is a 700-foot public pier located on the south end of Venice Beach.  It's utilized by fisherman of all ages and skill levels, and no fishing permit is required.  Of course, when I first spotted the fishing pier, I planned to take advantage of the viewpoints for photography.  What I didn't expect walking out on the pier was getting a front row seat to watch an incredible sport...

Venice Beach Surfers

I wandered over to the fishing pier after strolling along the Venice Boardwalk on a Friday evening. One thing I noticed is that several people rode their bikes down the pier. Also, the trash cans smelled terrible... perhaps people had been discarding their bait in them.


Venice Beach

When I first spotted people with surfboards on the north side of the pier, I was excited. I've never really watched anyone surf before... not in person. I don't think I had ever even been to a beach with waves big enough to really surf.

Venice Beach

Venice Beach

Venice Beach

Venice Beach

Venice Beach

But no one was really surfing... I don't think the waves were big enough to catch. So I amused myself by taking some lovely wave photos. The pier gave me a unique perspective, allowing me to look directly over the crashing waves.

Wave

Wave

Venice Beach

Wave

Venice Beach Pier

Then I discovered that the north side of the pier must be where people learn to surf, and the south side of the pier is where they line up to catch the big wave.

Venice Beach Surfers

The pier allowed me a wonderful view of the surfers below. I cannot explain to you my happiness of the surprise surfer photography opportunity. You must understand... I love surf photos. One of my favorite publications is actually Surfing Magazine for the beautiful layouts, gorgeous graphics, and stunning photography.

Venice Beach Surfers

Venice Beach Surfers

The waiting game...

The Waiting Game

Some surfers waited out there for half an hour and never took a wave in. On the other hand, one guy was riding more waves than everyone else... his timing was very good. And there were a few who would try several times and just not make it. Such a huge aspect of the sport appears to involve timing - whether it's having patience to wait for a good wave, or making a split-second decision to ride the wave in.

Venice Beach

Venice Beach

They didn't talk to each other, at least not at a level I could hear from the pier, but there seemed to be an unspoken understanding of who got to take the next wave.

Venice Beach

Venice Beach

Venice Beach

While I was watching from above, it seemed like the surfers had respect for one another... sharing the wave.  After getting home and doing a bit of research, it turns out that local Venice beach surfers don't have the best reputation for treating newcomers with respect.... just something to be cautious of if you're considering surfing Venice Beach yourself.

The Venice Fishing Pier is open 24 hours a day, free to the public, and no fishing license is required.  It's also a great place to watch the surf action below!  And if you want to check out the waves before you head to Venice, there is actually a surfing webcam installed underneath the pier.

Join me for my October series, 31 Days of Los Angeles for more Southern California fun!