Four Mile is perhaps most known by watersport enthusiasts as a coveted surf break and it is only in the past few years that (primarily) SUP watermen and women have begun to enjoy this location as an excellent launch point to access the strong winds that blow down this section of the NorCal coast.
Because the wind usually starts to drop off near Longs Marine Lab/Natural Bridges Beach State
Parking at Four Mile can be sketchy and it has long been known by locals and law enforcement alike as a place where many car break-ins have occurred over the years. Good advice would be to leave nothing of value in the shuttle vehicle, and park near the highway where your ride can best be seen. The parking area is littered with broken glass so be careful where you step when off loading your boards, paddles, leashes etc.
The path from the parking lot to the beach is easily seen and the walk is a windy, mostly level or downhill quarter mile. Cross the beach and head towards the cliffs on your right as you face the ocean. Getting ready to launch is most comfortably and safely done in the lee of the cliff face.
Looking out to sea you'll find the surf spot is separated from the broad channel that runs across the cove by a long section of kelp. Paddlers will want to hug the kelp on the channel side and paddle as
The downwind run is straightforward with lots of good bumps and glides to be had. Kelp grows voluminously in the colder NorCal ocean waters so paddlers are wise to stay outside the kelp beds or they'll quickly be bogged down in the salty vegetation.
The coast from Four Mile to Longs Marine Lab is sparsely populated ag land, and rugged. There are not a lot of open beaches to make an emergency landing. Therefore recommended safety equipment, a good safety plan and practices, and always paddling with a buddy or in a group are highly advised.
This NorCal downwinder is a "go-to" run because of it's easy access, multiple exit points, excellent wind and short but fast distance. Good downwind paddlers can make this run in 50-60 minutes or less. On exceptional wind days paddlers can start their first run in the early afternoon and be finished in time to do a second run. Plan on setting aside about three hours including shuttle time, etc. to make this run.
For more information email email@example.com and/or join the Santa Cruz Paddleboard Association (SCPA) on Facebook.