Nice report, and sounds like you had a lot of fun. I've found the surf to be a lot more fun even when the fish aren't biting. I was out a couple of weeks ago and was struggling to put together some decent casts. I caught a few small perch and had something take me for a ride and break me off. Otherwise, my head wasn't in the game.
Around dusk, there was nobody around except for me and one surfer. All of a sudden, a gray whale popped up about 100 yards from shore. It was massive, and I was shocked. I've only seen them maybe three times in my lifetime from the shore. This one was amazingly close. The surfer tried to paddle out to where it had surfaced, but neither of us saw it after that. It was just a few seconds of pure wonder.
After a tough few hours in rough conditions, that whale was the best thing to happen. I'll never forget that experience. I sometimes get so distracted watching dolphins and pelicans along the shore that I forget about fishing.