Swami's

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Coordinates: 33°02′05″N 117°17′32″W / 33.03463°N 117.292173°W / 33.03463; -117.292173

Waves and surfers on the point break at Swami's, viewed from the cliff top park
The beach at Swami's, looking north towards the point. Encinitas, California, 2007

Swami's is an area in San Diego County that contains Swami's Beach and other local attractions. The beach, also known as "Swami’s Reef'" and "Swamis", is an internationally known surfing spot, a point break located in Encinitas, San Diego County, California. Swami's was named after Swami Paramahansa Yogananda, because the grounds and hermitage of the Self-Realization Fellowship ashram, built in 1937, overlook this reef point.[1] The name "Swami's" is also given to the sand beach that extends south from the point to the next beach access point, which is next to the San Elijo State Beach camping area; this more southerly surf spot often goes by the name "Pipes".

Originally the name"Swami's" was an unofficial nickname that surfers had given to the point break, but eventually the name was adopted officially, and also used as the name of the cliff-top park, which was previously known as "Seacliff Roadside Park".[2]

Activities Available[edit]

Beach Access[edit]

Access to Swami Beach is primarily through the small "Swami" park at the top of the cliff, which has bathrooms, a water fountain, benches, picnic tables, and trees. Also, a small parking lot is located there for people to park their cars at. At the edge of the park is a wooden staircase that lead towards the sand beach.[3]

Swami's offers a sand beach available from 4 A.M. to 2 A.M. and has lifeguard towers open from 10 A.M to 6 P.M. during the period of Late June to Labor Day (Early September). Beach parking is available from 5 A.M. to 10 P.M. . The beach is based on a First-Come, First-Serve basis and is maintained by the Encinitas Parks and Recreation Department.[3]

In Encinitas Beaches, especially in Swami's, pet dogs, transportable barbecue grills, drinking glasses, and any sort of smoking or alcohol is prohibited in this area. [4]

Surfing[edit]

Swami's is a major surfing destination, especially during good swells in the winter months, because of its standout right point break, as well as fun reef breaks, and beach breaks. The number of surfers out can be very considerable when conditions are good. Surfing at this location is ideal with a low to mid tide, W or NW swell direction, and calm or East wind.

The main peak at Swamis, on a rare strong summer swell.

Swami's allows all level of surfers, but is well known as a high-performance wave for both longboard and shortboard surfers. Bodysurfing and bodyboarding are a rarity due to the highly competitive nature of the crowd to catch and ride the limited number of waves that come in sets every few minutes.

Swami's is also known as challenging spot to paddle, requiring a level of fitness above what other breaks demand. This is primarily due to the distance from the beach to the main peak several hundred yards from shore. As the waves become larger this distance increases, and after long rides the paddle back to the main peak can take several minutes. For this reason many surfers will choose to end their rides before the wave reaches the beach.

There are primarily two ways in which surfers initially paddle out to the main peak. The most common way is to approach from south of the break (directly in front of the lifeguard tower) and paddle around the break through the deep water (known as the channel). The other method of paddling out is to walk north two hundred yards and approach the main peak by means of a rougher, more turbulent shortcut. While riskier (due to the rough nature of the waves in this zone), it can be a significantly quicker route to the main peak. This is often known as "paddling out through the back door." Most novice surfers will avoid this method as it requires greater skill and fitness.

Swami's is home and a common surfing ground for local professional Encinitas surfers, including Rob Machado,[5] Taylor Knox,[6] and more.

Self-Realization Fellowship Meditation Gardens and Hermitage[edit]

A view of the ocean from the Meditation Center

In 1920, Paramahansa Yogananda found the Self-Realization Fellowship. Yogananda came from India to become a representative for the international congress of religions and wanted to open out about the great teachings of meditation to Americans. The garden is filled with flowers, plants, trees, and a small pond with koi fish in it. It extends a good length from the starting point of the meditation garden to the beach cliffs of Swami's, where a sunset view can be seen.[7]

Some activities include attending Sunday school, be part of different types of services such as inspirational, commemorative, and scriptural and mediation.Also offered are group meditation, service days, and monthly meetings as well.[8]

The partially exposed reef with tide pools at Swami's, during low tide.

Ecology[edit]

Swami's ecology has a variety of different habitants living there. These include grassy surf beds, a flourish forest, and rocky reefs where such lobsters and other types of fish and invertebrates live and consume food. Additional, visitors can see spectacular sea animals and such as sea hares, brittle stars, and octopuses in nearby pools. Visitors can also view nearly 45-million-year-old fossils in level rocks. [9]

Conservation[edit]

The Swami's Reef is a protected area through the California Marine Life Protection Act. This act protects nearby sea life and habitants from removal. In addition, fishing is strictly prohibited in this particular area.[10]

Surfing etiquette[edit]

Although etiquette occurs at Swami’s from time to time, it is not known to be a great example to the surfing population at large. The levels that congregate at this world class location range from absolute beginner (Maui surf school) to the advance surfers, both local and visiting from other major breaks. Within this gamut, you will find a range of “happenings”: a wave of the winter to a random board in the forehead; however, for the most part, those that frequent Swamis on a regular basis (regardless of skill level), tend to be polite and ride simple average waves.

Swami's Surfing Association[edit]

Swami's Surfing Association was established in 1964 by local surfers as a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the beach community and helping environmental issues.

SSA sponsors and participates in programs, such as, Adopt-a-Beach, Disabled Vietnam Veterans, the Blind Surf Program, and many more. For the past 18 years, SSA has held a surfing contest in Encinitas. These events and programs are funded by sponsors from the community. Donations may be tax deductible as charitable contributions. [11]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Fetzer, Leland (2005). San Diego County Place Names A to Z. San Diego: Sunbelt Publications. p. 143. Surfing beach at Encinitas. Originally called Noonan's Point for the Noonan family who owned land there ... above the beach is the site of the Golden Lotus Temple of All Religions, built in 1935-1938 ... The property, owned by the Self-Realization Fellowship, is a retreat and ashram center. The most famous spiritual leader identified with the place ... was Swami Paramahansa Yogananda ... Perhaps he contributed his title to the beach. 
  2. ^ www.beachcalifornia.com/swami.html Archived 2011-07-17 at the Wayback Machine.
  3. ^ a b "Beaches". www.ci.encinitas.ca.us. Retrieved 2017-11-13. 
  4. ^ "Beaches". www.ci.encinitas.ca.us. Retrieved 2017-11-28. 
  5. ^ "Rob Machado: San Diego's Guide to Surfing and More". Archived from the original on 2014-11-29. 
  6. ^ "Boards: Taylor Knox". Archived from the original on 2014-11-29. 
  7. ^ "History of Encinitas | Historic Encinitas Places To Visit - Encinitas Coast Life". Encinitas Coast Life. 2016-01-13. Retrieved 2017-11-30. 
  8. ^ "Activities | Self-Realization Fellowship Encinitas Temple". www.encinitastemple.org. Retrieved 2017-11-30. 
  9. ^ "Swami's, California, USA - Discover World". www.discoverworld.com. Retrieved 2017-11-30. 
  10. ^ "Swami's, California, USA - Discover World". www.discoverworld.com. Retrieved 2017-11-30. 
  11. ^ "Swami's Surfing Association Since 1964". swamissurfingassoc.org. Retrieved 2017-12-06. 

External links[edit]

Surf reports & forecasts[edit]

Video[edit]

Photographs[edit]