No Cobblestone Left Unturned

An exhaustive history of San Onofre.

Light / Dark

David Matuszak’s new book is a limited-run, immense-in-page-count, absolutely one-of-a-kind effort. Obviously the result of laborious research, San Onofre: Memories of a Legendary Surfing Beach establishes a stunning degree of context by actually plowing back long before the advent of San Onofre’s Surf Club to track wave riding’s evolution.

The author draws a line through Polynesia, Peru, and Hawaii before tackling California and the rest of the world. San Onofre’s phases as a coastal track— Indigenous lands, Mexican rancho, cattle range, military training grounds, “surf beach,” and state park—are encompassed along that line while exploring how surfing can become a centering lifestyle with all its

This culminates at San Onofre in particular, as it is the rare surf destination at which you can park on the sand, allowing you to bring along all the ideas, tools, toys, gear, instruments, and accouterments, as well as playmates and family with whom to articulate time. All the attendant aspects— where it is, physically getting there, being there, who was there, how it has changed— are presented in stupefying detail. While being composed of text, lists, graphs, maps, charts, and other rudimentary forms of presentation (making it somewhat pedantic), the book captures something intangible that comes only from experiencing those grains of sand and soft waves in body.

Just what drives a man to work so hard to create such a book, print so few, and sell them for so little?