Pacific Passages by Kristianne Koch Riddle in T-Street Beach, San Clemente

T-Street is a classic beach surf town. It’s the place where the locals gather during all seasons, especially if there is a big south swell coming in. It’s easy to access and the beach is perfect for swimming and surfing. I have been going to this beach since I was very young and now my children are growing up at the same surf spot. Both of my young children have learned their way in the surf here. Learning to surf and swim in the break at T-Street is a rite of passage for all ocean-goers in San Clemente, CA.

Name:Kristianne Koch Riddle



Surfing and sailing.

Tell us about the place you live:

San Clemente is a small beach town in southern California that’s known as the passing through point for some of the most famous waves on the west coast. It’s been sleepy and tucked away from the madding crowds until recently. It is still trying to find its way toward being a hip place visited by a younger crowd, but it doesn’t seem ready to grow up and lose its hickish charm. Bordered by the Pacific Ocean to the west and Camp Pendleton Marine Base to the south, there is plenty of open space surrounding this hilly village by the sea.

A perfect day?

A perfect day in San Clemente is when the air and water are in the 70s, a big south swell is in, and there are no crowds. A walk along the Ridgeline Trail will show you amazing views to the south, with undeveloped hills as far as the eye can see. If you walk along the beach trail you will see sandstone cliffs on one side, and glassy barrels at empty surf breaks along the other.

What is the best thing about your spot?

The best thing about T-Street is the fall and winter months. This is when the crowds have gone, the kids are back in school, and there is no one at the beach. We often get warm water and even warmer air temperatures during the months of October through February.

What is the worst?

The worst thing is that people have started to “discover” it. More and more people come to play and live nearby every year now. It’s starting to get a little too crowded for my taste. I love how young, new people have contributed to bringing better restaurants to our town, but the crowds make it difficult for us to continue to live here.

What would be surprising about San Clemente to an outsider?

This place has a very small town charm, but it’s extremely accessible and is situated near the hustle and bustle of Orange County. It is still nothing like the rest of Orange County even though it is changing every day.

If your city was a person or character who would it be?

Greg Long

Who are three of your favorite artists?

I have always admired the video artist Bill Viola for as long as I can remember. I also really love the adventurer and writer Bernard Moitessier, and the photographer and artist Heidi Kirkpatrick.


Name:Kristianne Koch Riddle

City:San Clemente

Favorite place to eat:

9 Style Sushi

Favorite place to drink:


Favorite shop:

La Casa Verde

Local Tip:

The beach trail extends from Calafia Beach to North Beach and is a great way to see all the beach culture this town has to offer.

Must Do:

Visit the pier.