The stars align for Cosmic Creek


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After a 2-year hiatus, a one-of-a-kind surf festival is coming to Salt Creek in June

By Jake Howard

“We are slowed down sound and light waves, a walking beam of frequencies tuned into the cosmos,” Albert Einstein explained. “We are souls dressed in sacred biochemical garments, and our bodies are the instruments through which our souls play their music.”

According to Einstein, the universe and the cosmos were ruled by gravitational waves. In the years that followed, science proved that Einstein was a pretty smart guy. But, perhaps, in the words of musician Jimmy Buffet, “Einstein was a surfer.”

Either way, step forward on the space-time continuum to the present day, and after two years in outer orbit, the Vissla Cosmic Creek Surf Festival lands again on the sands of Salt Creek on June 4-5.

“That’s one small step for Dana Point, and one giant leap for surfing,” jokes Eric Diamond, who has been the mastermind behind Cosmic Creek for nearly a quarter of a century. “Unfortunately, we haven’t been able to run the contest for the past two years due to the pandemic, but it has given us time to get creative and have even more fun.”

Cosmic Creek is part surf contest, part retro surfboard celebration, part music festival, and uniquely unique to Salt Creek.

Over the years, everyone from local legend Donavon Frankenreiter to Kelly Slater to Pamela Anderson has graced the sand, and there’s already plenty of talent in the draw this year.

Cosmic Creek founder Eric Diamond on a 1980s Wave Tools. Photo: Courtesy of Tim McCaig

Soul master Rob Machado is set to compete in the Pro division, as well as the Creators & Innovators division, which will see surfers/shapers build their own handmade craft. Also, in the designer division are master craftsmen Donald Brink, Tyler Warren, Nic Melanson, Paul Naude, and Justin Adams.

“The Creators is such a fun division. The boards these guys are knocking down are amazing – so much talent. They are a tribute to past designs, but still entirely their own creation; it’s really great to see the past and the present collide like this,” says Diamond.

Besides the Creators & Innovators self-formed boards, all other surfers will use either a single-fin or a twin-fin, depending on the wave they are in. There will be divisions for pros, locals and women, as well as a body surfing expression session sponsored by DaFin.

Over the years Diamond has curated an incredible collection of classic 70’s boards for surfers to compete on. The rounds will alternate between single fin rounds and double fin rounds.

Before the start of each round, surfers will draw numbers from a hat and can choose their board accordingly. Some boards are magical; some are complete dogs.

At the time of going to press, the surf line the forecast looked promising for Cosmic Creek. surfline calling for a playful combo of southwest swell and a touch of northwest swell to cut through things and create peak conditions.

There might be a touch of southerly wind on Sunday, but Salt Creek handles those kinds of conditions better than anywhere in the region.

And to add to the fun in the water, a host of bands will rock the airwaves. On Saturday afternoon and evening, comedians Vaguess, Toner and Widowspeak will all perform at Bluff Park overlooking Salt Creek Beach.

“Good surfing, good times, good music, great community, that’s what Cosmic is all about, and if you learn a little something about space and the universe in the process, well , it’s a win,” said Diamond.

Jake Howard is a local surfer and freelance writer living in San Clemente. A former editor of Surfer Magazine, The Surfer’s Journal and ESPN, he now writes for several publications, including Picket Fence Media, Surfline and the World Surf League. He also works with philanthropic organizations such as the Surfing Heritage and Culture Center and the Positive Vibe Warriors Foundation.

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