We sat around talking about going on a surf campout in my early sobriety. One day I got this flash “Make a flier and they will come”. So I made a flier and we had meetings at my house. At the first retreat October 1986 there were about 60-70 people. There were 30 of us old guys and girls age 25 and older, and 30 young people 17 and under.

For about the first 14 years you could drive into the campground and get a spot. A couple of the retreats had 300 people at the Saturday night meeting. You have to remember being new in sobriety most of us were on limited budgets, add the surfer factor, we needed an event that didn’t cost $100 a day but $10 a day. The main idea behind the surf retreat was to have a place where newcomers could afford to come to. Newcomers could afford the retreat if more of us would get spots for the people who aren’t sober till up to the day of the event. In order for the retreat to survive we need your help to help the newcomer.


We have had 2 marriages at the retreat. Some have met their husband or wives at the retreat. Even had a couple of children conceived at the retreat. But the best one is the newcomer who got their first day of recovery.

The retreat is open to all 12 step groups. Take a family for example that has 4 members participating in 4 different 12 step groups. At the retreat all are welcome and can participate in the meeting.

The retreat has been an incredible learning experience for so many. We walk through all 12 steps over the weekend. Pretty awesome! We get to hear so much wisdom and interpretation of the steps from people with one day to 45 years of sobriety or abstinent from there 12 step group. Some of the speakers really lit us up about the 12 steps.

The next retreat is your retreat. Make it the best possible. Gratitude for the San Elijo Park Rangers they keep the place safe for us. We have had to smooth out some rough spots on account of our behavior. Be kind & courteous to Rangers & your Neighbors.

Only one rule – Don’t takeoff on your Elders!!

God Bless and We will surely meet as we surf the road of happy destiny!

Last line in Doctor Bob’s Story

Ron Y.

Questions? Contact:  cleanandserenelist@hotmail.com

Join our Email List and be reminded to make reservations. Reservations are critical!  Send an Email to cleanandserenelist@hotmail.com with a subject line “Add me to the list”. Looking forward to seeing you at the next retreat!



  1. CASSR Editor

    This is an open retreat. You do not have to have a camp space to attend. You can come each day or for just one day. Park outside and walk in. If you want to stay at the retreat and there are no spaces available online at Reserve America, come on Friday and check with the retreat hosts. People that have space on their site will post it on our board.

  2. Antoinette Laura

    Thank you Retreat Team for a great 12 step day. I attended the 2nd-3rd Step meeting May 8, mostly attended by “grand daddy” and “grand mom” folks like me with lots of sobriety. Fun to make my “pitch” to seasoned “pitchers”. 🙂 Met great people and left with a deeper understanding and renewed appreciation for Steps 2 and 3.

  3. Antoinette Laura

    I arrived at the May ’15 Surf Retreat not sure if I was primarily there to hit the surf, hit on surfers, or reflect on my practice of the 12 Steps and share my story. Quickly I realized I hadn’t even thought of “what I could bring to the table”, literally. Next time I plan to bring a box of VG’s doughnuts to the 1st Step meeting. 🙂

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New California Campsite Reservation System

As of August 1, 2017 the campsite reservation system for San Elijo State Beach (and all California State campsites) has changed. Reserve America is no longer managing those reservations. California State is now handling those reservations through their new website at Reserve California. If you had an account with upcoming reservations at Reserve America then …

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Construction at San Elijo State Beach May 2018 thru June 2019

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