“Down in Doheny where the surfers all go There’s a big, bleached blondie named Surfer Joe…” — The Surfaris / “Surfer Joe” (May 1963)
A look around Dana Point from the Dana Headlands provides a good view of enticing Catalina Triangle fare like tall two-masted sailing ships, sailboat and yacht regattas, migrating whales, stampeding dolphins, waddling harbor seals, barking sea lions, diving sea birds, noisy civilian and military planes and helicopters … and every Fourth of July the best barge-based fireworks display on the entire west coast.
The City of Dana Point, the mainland tips of the Catalina Triangle, is located in southern Orange County. It has one of the few harbors along the Orange County coast, and with ready access via State Route 1, it is a popular local and national destination for surfing, swimming, sunbathing, fishing and more.
Dana Point Harbor occupies a spot along the coast that was once home to a large, legendary surf break phenomenon colloquially known as “Killer Dana.” A right-breaking wave located just off the Headland, Killer Dana was famous up and down the coast for producing bigger surf than anywhere in Southern California. The prevailing wind was westerly coming over Dana Point, which made for offshore winds all the way to Doheny. Coming out of the deep water just off shore, swells that hit this spot could be maintained to heights of a dozen feet or more and would break near and on rocks below the cliffs. Surfers could take off on the biggest waves of the day and go screaming down the line all the way to the river mouth.
The Killer Dana wave was destroyed when the Dana Point Harbor was built in 1966.