Learn All About How To "Safely" Dive or Rock Pick For Abalone on the Northern California Coast
If you're in a hurry to get in the water and start snatching up Abalone, take some good advice and get yourself a friend or two who already have some experience at it. Get set up with the right gear and go out with them a few times. If they're any good at it, and you pay attention to what they teach you, you'll be picking Abalone off the rocks in no time!
If you have trouble making friends, that's okay. You can learn everything you need to know about how to "Safely" Dive or Rock Pick for Abalone right here by reading and following the instructions we're about to provide for you. So if You're Ready to Get Started, Read On!
First Things First - Know and Respect the Hazards!
If you're new to Abalone Diving or Rock Picking, there are a few things you need to consider before you go. Knowing about the hazards you might be faced with will help you to make smart decisions about whether or not you should even attempt to go out on a given day.
The Terrain -Many of the "Good" Abalone Dive Spots along the North Coast require navigating steep, narrow, almost non-existent trails. If scaling the walls of steep cliffs and dodging falling rocks from above is something you'd rather avoid, you'd best try finding a spot with easier access. Because if you are in poor physical condition, you'll be worn out by the time you get to the waters' edge.
The OceanThe Pacific Ocean can be extremely treacherous - Swift currents, strong surge, rough water, Kelp jungles, and of course, the occasional Predator! If these things make you think twice about going in the water, that's good! There's nothing wrong with having a healthy respect for those things that can swiftly put an end to your ability to consume oxygen!
The Water- Up here in Northern California, the water is very cold. So believe it when we say that you'll want to make sure that your Wet Suit, Hood, Gloves and Booties are of above average quality,and a minimum of 7 mil in thickness - Anything less and you will be cold, uncomfortable and ready to quit before you pluck your first legal sized Abalone from the rocks.
Slimy, Slippery Rocks- Getting down to the ocean is only half the battle. A lot of areas you might be going to, and especially if you're Rock Picking, will require having to negotiate long stretches of slimy, slippery, and sea weed covered rocks. One missed step and down you'll go!
But Don't Let All This Stop You From Giving Abalone Diving A TryMost of the hazards discussed above can be overcome by using caution, awareness and a good dose of common sense. Some hazards, such as rough seas, strong currents or just plain old bad weather conditions are things you don't have any control over. The one most important thing that you should always keep in mind when assessing your plan for Abalone Diving or Rock Picking activities on any given day is that no matter how badly you want to get out there and get your Abs, it's never worth the risk of ending up in the hospital or worse, the obituaries. If you don't feel comfortable with the current conditions, don't go! Find something else to do that day, and there will always be another opportunity.
In concluding this introduction to Rock Picking and Diving for Abalone, we just want to be clear on the fact that we don't mean to discourage you from pursuing your dream of learning to Dive for Abalone. In fact, we encourage you to go after your dreams. But we'd rather that if you are going to be out there participating in this exciting and rewarding activity, you don't go at it haphazardly. Abalone Diving and Rock Picking will be one of those things you'll literally fall in love with if you learn to do it "Safely". But if you think you can just go out and jump in the Pacific Ocean without first understanding the hazards, well, then your chances of becoming another sad statistic will be increased exponentially!!
We're now going to talk a bit about the gear you will need, and then we have split up the two primary methods of going after Abalone into different sections, because they each require some completely different gear and tactics.
Go to the Essential Abalone Diving Gear section to learn more about what gear you need to enjoy this awesome sport to its' fullest possible extent.
Once you have an idea of the gear you need for Abalone Diving, you can go to the Abalone Diving Techniques page to learn more about what you will be doing once you actually get to the water.
If it's Rock Picking for Abalone you are interested in learning more about, than go to the Rock Picking for Abalone section.
Watch This Abalone Diving Video