SANTA CRUZ (KPIX 5) — Unusually warm ocean temperatures off California’s Central Coast have surfers peeling off their wetsuits. While surfers enjoy it, the conditions could hurt those who make their living from fishing.
This summer’s warm air and the unusual water temperatures have made wetsuits at Steamer Lane in Santa Cruz seem like a sauna.
Shane Boreland and Jake Anderson have been surfing their way up the coast from Ventura.
“Stay out longer, surf better, more comfortable,” Boreland said.
“Usually, past summers, I’m paddling out with a 2mm wetsuit. But lately I’ve just been coming out in swim trunks, so it’s nice,” Anderson said.
Meteorologist Jan Null of Golden Gate Weather Services said the usual water temperature in Monterey Bay is 58 to 60 degrees, but July broke records. “Last month, they had the warmest ever July water temperature there of 68 degrees,” he said.
Null said it’s not an El Nino effect, but the impact of a change in weather patterns.
“We haven’t had as much of a sea breeze. And without a sea breeze, we don’t get all the upwelling of all the cold water that we normally see along the California coast,” Null said.
Santa Cruz fisherman Stan Bruno said the warmer water has hurt him in the pocketbook. Salmon are swimming to deeper and colder water, making them harder to catch. The warmer temperatures are keeping some tuna away.
“Usually in June we’re fishing albacore, June or July. Nope, they’re all up in Oregon and Washington. They never made it in here,” Bruno said.