Living Like a Local in Huntington Beach

Peter Townend shares his favourite spots in this surf town 


 

Photo by Cindy Yamanaka/Orange County Register

The world’s first-ever pro-surfing champion, Aussie-born Peter “PT” Townend has called Huntington Beach home for 38 years. “Three hundred and sixty-five days a year, there’s a wave you can go surfing on [here],” he says. These are some of his favourite local spots. 

Morning wake-up 

“At Huntington Surf and Sport, which is the surfing shop right at the end of Main Street at the pier, is Java Hut. They have a great cup of coffee. I like a double-shot short latte to wake me up.”

Hang with the locals 

“I like to go to G’s Boathouse. It’s like the Cheers bar for surfers. They broadcast the world championship surfing tour on the big screens, like you would with the NFL.” 

Surfer’s day trip 

“A little further north within the Huntington district is the Bolsa Chica state beach. It’s less crowded down there because it’s a longer stretch of beach and you don’t have the closeness to the city.”

Surfing sweet spot 

“The surfing culture [here] revolves around the Huntington Beach Pier. It allows the sand to build up on either side, and the sandbars create the best waves. My favourite part is the north side at the Kiddie Bowl. One of the big things in Huntington is shooting the pier—going between the pylons on a big day.”

For beginners

We have two great surf programs right at the pier: Bill Sharp’s HB Surf School, which is on the south side, and Zack’s Surf Shop, on the north. Both offer surfing lessons seven days a week.

Vintage charm 

“I have a record collection of 3,500 vinyl albums, which I still play. [I like to] go and look for vinyls. We have a college here called Golden West College and, on Saturdays and Sundays, they have an incredible outdoor flea market swap meet. It’s public and it’s off Goldenwest, which is one of our major streets.” 

Beach bonfire 

“In the area, we’ve got 10 miles of beautiful beaches and fire rings, and [bonfires] are a real family thing here. People go and stay until sunset—or until the beach closes at 10 p.m.—and roast marshmallows. That’s just part of the culture of Southern California and it’s really specific to Huntington Beach.” 

Getting there: WestJet flies to Orange County/Anaheim six times a week from Vancouver. 

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