Trestles by Rusty Long in San Clemente, California, USA

The Golden Hour at Trestles.  This is a typical evening on the beach here, everything drenched in the California golden light.  People are coming in with smiles, satisfied with a few waves, and then catching up with friends on beach. It’s such an enjoyable time to be down there. It’s the lifestyle here.

Name:Rusty Long

Place you live: San Clemente, California, USA

Place your photo was taken: Lower Trestles Beach, San Clemente, California

Can you sum up San Clemente?  San Clemente is a very laid-back beach community without the glitz or pretense of many other Southern California beach towns. It has a very rich history as a surfing capitol of the world, and most people that live here have an affinity for the ocean in some form, and love the variety of waves we have all over town.  It’s a relatively small place, conceptualized by city founder Ole Hanson in the 1920’s as a “Spanish Village by the Sea” so it’s white stucco and red tile lining the winding streets and coastal canyons, giving it a real architectural charm.  People are friendly because they love living here mostly, and it has that small town element of always seeing lots of familiar faces.

Occupation: Professional Surfer, Photojournalist

Preoccupation: Gardening

What is a perfect day in San Clemente?  Wake up for the sunrise and see what the ocean is looking like with hopefully a pumping swell in the water.  Ride a bike or walk the trails into the Trestles beaches on the south end of town, which is a beautiful piece of California nature to be amongst. Surf perfect waves and hang out on the beach until the lunch hour.  Then head to Del Mar street, the beautiful downtown nucleus, and decide what to eat; Thai, Health, Mediterranean, Sushi, Mexi, Italian, basically a very quality option for any taste.  Relax for a couple hours, and then get back to the beach for the afternoon gold.  Surf again until the sun goes down, warm up by a fire on the beach, then head back downtown for a beer or vino and some dinner.

If someone was visiting, what must they do?  If they surf or have an interest in it, go surfing.  If you are a beginner or want to learn, go to San Onofre, park on the beach and enjoy the California Mecca of learning to surf.  Walk the beach trail along the San Clemente Beaches at sunset that runs the length of town.  Walk into the Trestles beaches.  Enjoy Del Mar Street and try lots of the great food.  Have a drink on the Pier at Sunset.  Visit the Surfing Heritage Museum.  It is the best surf museum in the world.

A perfect meal in San Clemente? There are many!   The Emerald Green Curry at Mongkut Thai always hits the spot for me.  The best burger in the world I’ve found is at The Vine, everything there is exceptional.

What is the best thing about your spot? We have the best climate pretty much imaginable, great waves and don’t have to leave town for anything really. But we are only an hour from Los Angeles or San Diego for anything as well.  And then there’s Baja and Mammoth at the fingertips, so we are situated near all sorts of places for fun.  As a traveler it’s a pretty ideal place to be based at.  And we get to see the best surfing in the world go down, with the multiple events at Trestles and frequent visits by the best in the world.

What is the worst?  There is a nuclear power plant a few miles south of town, one of the two along the California Coast. It is out of commission now and everybody hopes its life is over for good.

A little known fact about where you live?  There were very thriving Native American communities here for a very long time. With the couple of rivers that feed into Trestles, abundant fish and seafood, and perfect farmland, it was one of the easiest places in California to thrive in comfort.

Where is your favorite place in the world? Puerto Escondido, Mexico. Madeira Island.

Who are your three favorite photographers? Peter BeardPatrick TrefzTodd Glaser