By Jody Wood
Maybe you’ve heard him on the radio, or read his reports online. Maybe you’ve met him at South Coast Windansea, or maybe he’s paddled right by you and you had no idea who he was. He is Eric Huffman, also known as “Bird”.
Bird grew up in San Diego and has more than 40 years of local surf knowledge under his belt, and unlike a lot of locals, he doesn’t mind sharing some of it. Maybe not all of it, but he kicks down enough information to help local surfers make an informed decision about when and where to paddle out.
Bird does the San Diego area surf reports on Surfline.com, as well as the FM 94.9 Authentic Surf Report three times a day, seven days a week. He puts his 4-plus decades of local wave riding experience to use every day when crafting his reports. One thing’s for sure though, you won’t hear him naming specific spots, which is something a lot of us can appreciate.
Bird’s relationship with Sean Collins and Surfline goes back more than twenty years. Collins is the chief forecaster and president of Surfline, which formed in 1985, as a public surf forecast via telephone. Surfline has come a long way since then. It merged with Swell.com in 2000, which greatly increased content, surfcams, and its online store.
“I started working for Surfline as an area reporter. This meant that everyday at dawn I had to check my desgnated spots, and call in the report,” said Bird, about the early days with Surfline. His days of dawn patrols are behind him for the most part, but he has his own team of reporters that call him with their localized reports, and all of that information goes into his reports.
“My wife Amy needs to be at work by 6 a.m., which means she’s out the door by 5:30. By the time I get the kids ready and drop them off at school it’s nearly 8 a.m.. I’ve found 8 to 10 in the morning to be a great window for me to surf,” said Bird. “Dawn patrollers are off to work and partiers aren’t awake yet,” he added.
Bird isn’t new to the routine of radio surf reporting either. He did the surf report for the original KPRI and KGB throughout the seventies and into the early eighties.
“FM 94.9 was a new station that wanted to build itself around good core music and an authentic sound,” said Bird. “Nothing better than an authentic surf report to add to that,” he added. Bird explained that he agreed to do the surf report for 94.9 only if they allowed him to do it the way he wanted to, and they had no problem with that.
Looking back at his years of reporting on one his life’s passions, Bird went on to say, “It’s been a long road since the days when people wanted to kill surf reporters until when people can’t live without them.”
To get the skinny on what’s going on with the surf in San Diego, check out surfline.com and look for Bird’s online reports there. You can also catch him on the radio three times daily on FM 94.9 at 7:20 a.m., 2:20 p.m., and 8:20 p.m.