Here’s a little story:
A few weeks ago, I spent a couple days romping around New Smyrna Beach among fellow surf journalists from competing publications at the Florida Surf Film Festival. Between surf sessions and our duties as film festival jurists (which consisted of very little, actually, since we’d pre-screened all the films) I got the chance to hang with long time Surfline editor, the very talented writer, Marcus Sanders. He’s a funny, erudite, and a cultured dude, to be sure.
So, when last week, Surfline posted its list of the World’s Best Surf Cities–a list that included Jacksonville, Florida among megalopolises and paradisiacal locales such as Cape Town, LA, Sydney, and San Diego–I had to think that our time together (which may or may not have included a 3 a.m. meal at IHOP), impressed upon him that my hometown could hang with the best of ’em.
From the Surfline piece, written by Dashel Peirson:
Not only is Jacksonville the most populous city in Florida, it covers the largest land mass of any city in the contiguous United States. Located to the northern tip of Florida’s East Coast, Jacksonville and the surrounding area attract large surf crowds to piers and jetties like Jacksonville Beach Pier, St. Augustine Pier, and Ponce Inlet. And one tip: this may be Florida but it’s the north; while Palm Beach surfers might still be wearing trunks in winter, Jacksonville surfers will be rubbered up to the gills.
It’s also just as likely that in his editorial wisdom Sanders, who lives in San Francisco’s Ocean Beach-adjacent Sunset neighborhood, was trying not to blowup his backyard, while throwing us to the lions, instead.
And judging by the comments section, he succeeded in the latter.
From Sonny P:
“Jacksonville and Tel Aviv over San Fransisco? Do you guys even surf?”
Jax? There’s some decent waves to be found and the fishing’s pretty good, but nothing that’s not equaled or exceeded at a number of places further [sic] down the coast. Yes, it’s not shadowed by the Bahamas, but the city BLOWS. The outskirts are worse. The only redeeming feature I found there was the Florida Theater [sic], which is a rather nice venue and attracts some decent acts. If you want somewhere with stuff to do when it’s flat or a place to party at night, the WPB area is a much better choice.
Haters! I say come at us. And to Sanders and the crew at Surfline, thanks for the love. We think it’s pretty great here, too.