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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