Anouk Govil on the Best Surfing Beaches in California

The coasts of California cover thousands of miles of beaches, which means that picking a few favorites will be a difficult challenge. From secluded, romantic beaches to family-friendly beaches, tourist favorites, and popular surfing spots, California is home to some of the world’s best beaches. Hi, all! It’s Anouk Govil. If you’d like to narrow down your options for the best beaches to surf in California, then you’ve come to the right place! Beginners often find it difficult to find a beach that is ‘newbie-friendly’, which usually means fewer beach guests at any given time, and relatively friendly waves. Advanced surfers visiting from other states, or countries for that matter, will also find helpful information here regarding the perfect beaches to hit for that perfect swell.

Here are a few of my recommendations:

1. Trestles Surf Zone, San Onofre State Beach. This belongs on the top of my list because it has different surf spots, perfect for beginners to advanced surfers. There are five surf zones in the area: Church, Middles, Lowers, Uppers, and Cottons. For beginners, the perfect spots are Church, Middles, and Cottons. Shortboard, longboard, and mid-length are ideal here, and if you’re a new surfer, I’m guessing you’re still training on your longboard; so that’s a go here. Waves at Cottons are generally long sloping left; Middles have sloping right (and a few lefts), while Church has long waves that slope right.

2. Huntington Beach, Southern California. Locals proudly call this “Surf City, USA” and rightly so. Huntington Beach boasts ten miles of sandy beaches, and welcomes an astounding 11 million guests every year! There are four distinct beaches here that are perfect for surfers: Huntington Beach Pier, Bolsa Chica State Beach, Huntington State Beach, and Sunset Beach. For beginner surfers, you’d best hit the waves at Bolsa Chica State Beach as the waves are smaller and calmer. But if you’re looking for consistent swells, surfing contests, or even live entertainment, then head for the Huntington Beach Pier!

3. Swami’s, Encinitas, San Diego. A visit to this beach is a mix of surfing and cultural experiences. For anyone looking to catch the big Northwest swell, this is the place to be! But there are lots more to experience here than simply riding the waves; Mexican food, organic and vegan coffee shops and/or diners, plus running into hippies and yippies are only some of the cultural flavors that you will also get to experience here.

Also worth mentioning are: Sunset Cliffs in South San Diego; Newport Jetties, Newport Beach; Windansea, La Jolla; Malibu Beach, El Porto (best for beginners), Hermosa Beach, Seal Beach, and The Wedge in Newport Beach (but only if you’re an experienced surfing and you’re up for a rollercoaster surfing experience!).

Of course, California is bursting at the seams with beautiful beaches, with a good number of them ideal for surfers of every level; but the above are my favorites at the moment since I’m still relatively new to surfing like most of you.

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Anouk Govil on Surfing for Beginners: Reminders and Warnings for Safety

Hi, all! It’s Anouk Govil once again. When you go to beaches, you’ll likely see reminders or warning posts or signs displayed on the beach. I encourage you to stop and read those signs because they were put there for your own safety and protection. Some of these signs are for the general beach-going public, while others are placed there at specific times, usually during weather disturbances, for those wishing to catch a wave or two on their surfboards. You should heed these warnings especially if you’re a new surfer.

For your reference, here are some of the most common reminders and warnings that beaches post for safety purposes:

For the general beach-going public:

The United States Lifesaving Association has these reminders for everyone going to the beach

  • Learn how to swim
  • Make sure to check if there is a lifeguard keeping an eye on everyone. And if you must swim, it’s best to swim where the lifeguard can easily spot you.
  • Hit the waters with someone who can swim too. In other words, always have a swim buddy with you when you’re out on the water.
  • Protect your skin from the harmful effects of the sun by applying a liberal amount of sunscreen on your body: arms, legs, neck, and other exposed parts of the body.
  • Go into the water feet first
  • If you’re not confident about your swimming abilities, wear a lifejacket.Also, mind your manners; be considerate of other beach guests. And as a responsible citizen, do not litter the beach or throw garbage into the water. Water bottles, food wrappers, soda or beer cans, and such should be disposed properly.One other thing, pay attention to the flags and signs posted on the beach on the day of your visit, which brings us to the following:


    Hazard warning flags that are related to surf or current conditions are generally determined by the colors red and yellow. When a yellow flag is hoisted on the beach, it means Medium Hazard, which means that beginner swimmers or those who aren’t confident about their swimming abilities shouldn’t enter the water. The yellow flag means “moderate surf and/or currents.”

    The red flag is displayed when the currents are strong. In other words, the conditions aren’t ideal for all types of swimmers and surfers. Those who wish to enter should do so with extreme caution.

    There is another type of solid red flag displayed, and this is a red-on-red flag. When this is displayed on the beach, it means that the beach is closed to the public. No one should enter the beach.

    Another flag color that you should pay attention to is the purple flag. When this is displayed, it signifies the presence of marine creatures that can cause injury. These marine creatures include jellyfish, stingrays, and sea snakes.

    Remember the safety tips mentioned above regarding swimming within sight of the lifeguard? You should look for a red over yellow flag as the areas where these are displayed indicate that these are under the patrol of lifeguards, so this basically means you can see them where these flags are present.

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Anouk Govil on Surfing for Beginners: Surfboard Buying Tips

Hello, friends! It’s Anouk Govil once again. As many of you know, I’ve recently taken up surfing and I am enjoying every minute of it! Before I started learning how to surf, I thought all boards were the same. At the time, I thought choosing one simply involved checking the design and weight. The colors and graphic design is, of course, for aesthetic purposes only. The weight mattered to me because I have a small frame and I didn’t want to lug around a board that would strain my arms and back. In other words, I was after comfort and appeal. Little did I know that your choice of board can pretty much affect your first surfing experience. But now that I know better, I’d like to share with you a few tips when choosing a beginner’s surfboard.


Size and fit matters more than anything else. Aesthetics are just a bonus; it’s the size and fit that matters, especially for beginners. I read somewhere that you should choose a used surfboard as it’s going to get a lot of pounding and abuse. I completely agree. You wouldn’t want to blow your money on a new and expensive board if you know you’re just going to abuse it. A board that’s about nine feet long and about three inches or more in width should be a good one to start with. You will find that boards of this size are also wider, giving you a more comfortable fit. One of the reasons why you need a board of this size when you’re a beginner is because it is easier to paddle and pop-up onto once you’re on the wave.

Choose a foamie, or a soft board. When you’re still learning how to surf, you should expect to wipe out a lot, and there are times when you will hit the board. This type of surfboard is more buoyant, and made with a softer outer material, so it won’t hurt so much when you do hit it or fall flat on top of it. There are several brands that you can check out, but my top of mind is the Wavestorm. It has an EPS core and a 3-stringer system with an HDPE bottom skin. If you can’t find a used Wavestorm board, a new one will set you back by about $180. Not bad, actually, for a brand new foamie.

For newbies, the bigger the board, the better; because they’re easier to paddle, allowing you to paddle faster, and you can quickly pop-up to ride a wave as there’s a comfortable buffer space for quick pop-ups without falling off the board.

Are you a newbie surfer? What board are you using, and is it the same one that you’ve been using since you started? Please share your beginner’s experiences with us! If you have tips or tricks you’d like to share, those are welcome too! We’d love to hear all about it!

Thanks for dropping by! This is Anouk Govil; and I hope to see you back again soon!


Anouk Govil on Surfing: Top 3 Tips for Beginners

Hello, everyone! Anouk Govil here. I am relatively new to surfing, but I have to say that surfing has given me some of the best adventures I’ve been on in my entire life! I grew up in a strict household, where rules must be followed at all times. This childhood experience has, in a way, made me afraid to try new things. It took a lot of goading and prodding from my friend before I finally caved in and tried surfing. It was the best decision I’ve ever made! Now I try to catch a wave or two whenever I can. School keeps me busy most of the time but I still manage to squeeze in surfing every now and then.

If you’re a newbie surfer, my advice is, don’t give up! My first few attempts were a disaster, to say the least. But don’t get discouraged; once you manage to learn how to stay on your board and ride that wave, it’s going to be one of the most exhilarating experiences you’ll ever have!



Here are my top 3 tips for beginner surfers:

1. Practice on the beach. I know that you’re dying to hit the waves as soon as you get hold of a board, but this is a big no-no for beginners. For one thing, you haven’t been on a board yet and you need to familiarize your body with a board first so you can get the feel of what it’s like to paddle out on your board, getting on your feet to stay upright, and balance your body so you’ll be less likely to wipe out. Lay your board down on the beach and lie on it to feel how it fits you. And then practice your pop-up and balancing techniques. You need to do this until you get the hang of it before hitting the waves.

2. Bend your knees to absorb the wave’s energy. When I first started surfing, I was inclined to hunch my back to try to balance and stay on the board. Guess what happens every time I did that? I fell off my board! Your reflexes might tell you to hunch your back and you’ve got to fight these reflexes off! Instead, bend your knees to absorb the wave, support the board, and maintain your balance. You’ll find it easier compared to being hunched over—doing that can make your back hurt!

3. Choose a less crowded beach. The last thing you need while learning to surf is to ride along with a lot of other surfers, especially those who are more experienced or advanced. To get the feel of the water, catch the wave, and practice your balance, you need to have enough space between you and the next surfer so you won’t be distracted. Keep your distance so you don’t bump into another surfer and cause an accident. You will also feel less self-conscious if you know that there aren’t a lot of eyes judging your every move.

I hope you’ll find these tips helpful. This is Anouk Govil; and I hope to see you back again soon!