Monday, April 11, 2011

Chicken Point

Pomo Bluffs is a headland on the south end of Fort Bragg's Noyo Bay. It is now a city park that has a nice paved walkway with interpretive information and amazing views of the Pacific Ocean. The north end of Pomo Bluffs where it juts out into the ocean is called Chicken Point.

Fishermen/women and urchin divers call it Chicken Point because that is where they go and look at the coastal conditions and decide if they are going out or chickening out that day.

Chickens is a name that local surfers have called it. It has a reef break that on a good day produces overhead to double-overhead waves with nice left shoulders. The trick is that surfing the break becomes a game of chicken with the rocks that are scattered within the break. Needless to say, one doesn't see it getting surfed too often.

Chicken Point is always a point of wonder and awe when we are kayaking in Noyo Bay. On a very flat day, one can paddle around the rocks of chicken point. It is beautiful and fascinating with a healthy and colorful intertidal zone and a rugged rocky backdrop.

On typical days, it is awesome to watch the waves roll through the reefs at Chicken Point. It is exciting to sit on the edge of the breaking waves and witness the power of the ocean engulfing the rocks. To those that surf, we are mezmorized by her dangerous beauty. We try to visualize a line to surf through the maze of spilling waves guarded by the rocks.

Jeff is not one to be disuaded by rocks and I remember the first time that he and our friend Josha surfed Chickens. WOW!!!

As we rock garden in Noyo Bay, Chicken Point draws us like a magnet. Surfing Chickens is a bit out of my comfort level, but I have become comfortable enough with the break to position myself on the edge to watch and take photos. I am always stoked to see those with the skill and the nerve get in there and surf her waves.

Jeff has been encouraging me to get in there and catch a ride. Several times, I have eased myself into the break only to withdraw (chicken-out) when looking at the wall of water building behind me and doubting whether I have the composure and skill to surf the wave and not be caught in the foam pile and swept into the rocks.

It is very fun to watch Jeff. Many days the waves are just to0 big and scary to even tempt me but I am drawn to the challenge and really want to be able to surf it. In preparation, I have started getting my rock gardening boat out more in the surf zone to hone my skills, focus, control - and most importantly my confidence.

Occasionally another paddler will be in town and be game for surfing Chickens with Jeff. Several weeks ago, a skilled whitewater kayaker and his girlfriend were passing through town and connected to paddle with us. Chicken Point lured him from the moment he drove into the parking lot of the beach. As we rock gardened and played in the bay, she kept beckoning to him.

His creekboat was not the idea craft but good paddlers have a way of making things work - check it out in this video (below but best if you click the link and watch on YouTube).

I have had this post in my mind since filming the guys this day but just haven't had the chance to write it. As I am writing it, I have had my first rides at Chicken Point under my belt. We don't have any photos or video to post, but I can tell you that I was not swept into the rocks and am now drawn even more than ever to surf Chicken Point.


  1. Allright Cate! Congrats and glad to hear it.

  2. That's some pretty intimidating wave action there! Love the spot though, you're very lucky to paddle/surf there. :)

  3. Fat Paddler - we are so lucky to live just minutes away from this spot. If you make it to Northern California, be sure to swing by the Mendocino Coast and we will share it with you.

  4. Update - a post will be coming soon of our 7/31/11 surf session in strip built sea kayaks at Chicken Point. A couple of the photos are on the Liquid Fusion Kayaking facebook page.