Big Tuesday at Steamer Lane: South swell lights up Santa Cruz surf breaks

The heftiest south swell of the season brought Santa Cruz’s iconic surf breaks to life on Tuesday — and the board riding fiends of Surf City rejoiced as always. Photographer Kevin Painchaud captured an artistic assortment of the action at Steamer Lane mid-morning, once the fog had cleared.

Days like Tuesday are the kind Santa Cruz surfers dream about.

And call in sick for.

Head-high to well-overhead waves from a southern hemisphere storm brought out the area’s ridiculous amount of surfing talent — but there was even enough for the Average Joes and Janes to get their fair share of shredding in as well.

This swell marched upward through the Pacific after bringing massive code red conditions to Tahiti last week, then to the southern shores of Hawaii’s islands over the weekend.

While not exactly code red emergency conditions Tuesday, there were solid waves to be found all over Santa Cruz and many spots were most definitely “expert only.”

There will be more of the same on Wednesday before the ocean tapers back down to mortal conditions on Thursday.

Stay safe around Mother Ocean and know your limits.

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