Bank Wright traveled up and down the California coast for two years, personally checking the spots, taking photos, and gathering information from locals for this book on surf spots of the Golden State. Its becoming a real gem of spot history with some great photos and spot tide/swell info, and is an excellent book for both those new to surfing in California and for locals who are curious about how their spots are presented. The reasons I am not giving it five stars are because of some minor problems of Nor Cal information which could have serious consequences...
He writes of the Nor Cal coast as if its mostly fun and empty surf, but there is rarely, if ever any mention of how sporadic conditions can be, how heavy and often unrideable it often is, and how sharky some of these spots are. Tomales Bay, for example, should have some mention of how sharky it is. I'd hate to see someone from So Cal come up here and see those Uluwatu-like lefts firing off south Tomales Bay headland, paddle out there and most likely get grubbed by a whitey. Many other spots in Nor Cal are way more sharky than he mentions. But then again, as he was just passing through and probably didn't surf most these empty spots, how was he to know?
He talks about big combers coming into Nor Cal shores like its an empty Hawaiian dream. Sorry Bank, but when these beach breaks get big, which they usually are, its very, very difficult to make it to the outside, and sometimes impossible. He does have some of the more legitimate heavy-duty spots on the North Coast, such as Harbour Entrance. Bank has respected the spots that deserve to be kept quiet, and that he overlooked spots is all for the better- it keeps the element of exploration and new discovery alive in California surfing.
One other thing- I've never seen Pigeon Point breaking right as a big wave break. I've only seen it firing off of a mysto reef way outside the lighthouse, breaking left on that huge Tahitian swell we had a few years back. Pigeon Point is not a wise place to surf anyway- an abolone diver was attacked and killed there by a huge great white shark there less than 10 years ago. And as far as the Potato Patch goes- OK you Cortes Bank and Mav's tow-in crew- here's your new challenge. I have seen it good and clean with two guys out paddling in to big blue shoulders. The tide was medium and it was a big and perfect fall swell with very light offshores from due East. I swear it looked a lot like those Cortes Bank rights that Snips, Mel and Crew scored for the Project Neptune session, but a bit more manageable yet. These waves were so big that they properly scaled to the tankers which passed before them! I even have pictures of that day to prove it. On a good fall it might get good for more than few days. Check it from Deaddies' with binoculars and fling yourself off the cliff while you're ahead!!!