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Surfing in California

California is a mecca for surfers and attracts active surfers or observers from all over the world – the other hotspot is, and remains, Hawaii, of course.

If you want to feel the surfer scene and the Laidback Life, you can drive along the California coast to the places and beaches that write and have written surfing history.


Southern California’s surfing area stretches over 300 km of coastline between Santa Barbara (where Rincon is one of the best areas) and San Diego.

But also further north up to San Francisco there are excellent surf areas – as usual it depends on what time of year is and what kind of surfing you are looking for.

San Francisco has Ocean Beach, a 4 mi long beach that also offers the right wave height in the fall.

San Mateo (just south of SF): Here you should see the following beaches: Rockaway Beach at low tide it is the home for long boarders. Also, Lindamar Beach, but at high tide. Ideal in spring and summer.

Then, Moss Bay to Half Moon Bay or Mavericks Beach at Pillar Point, which is home to perhaps the best and biggest waves: the Mavericks. Named by Alex Matienzo after his roommate’s German shepherd: Maverick. Located about 4 miles north of Half Moon Bay but signage is only marginal, so you should ask locals where the Mavericks break.

If you are interested in surf history, you can find out more here: Mavericks Surf Company – The Wave

The Titans of Mavericks

is a small group of pro surfers who arrive from all over the world when the word makes the rounds that the Mavericks start at Half Moon Bay. The following HBO Special (English, but fantastic shots) describes the phenomenon…

More Surf Beaches…

Continue towards L.A….
Rincon Beach at Santa Barbara, Monterey Beach (Moss Landing) and around Santa Cruz, which is also popular with windsurfers (good winds between Mar-Oct).

Zuma Beach, Topanga Beach (near Malibu, slightly north of L.A.) are sections where you can ride medium to difficult waves. These are some of the most popular surf spots in the area.

L.A.’s surroundings have some places and names that everyone knows: Venice Beach, Hermosa City Beach, Manhattan State Beach and Redondo Beach are some of the surfing spots that also celebrate the cult factor and the scene couldn’t be cooler and more relaxed.

Also south of L.A. you should stop by Huntington Beach, which is called the Surf Capital of the USA.

Or try La Jolla near San Diego, where you should take a closer look at Tourmaline Surfing Park or Windansea Beach. Also in the San Diego region: Cardiff Reef, Blacks Beach and Scripps Beach.

Encinitas, a small town between LA (2 hours away) and San Diego (30 min away), is known for powerful waves at Swami’s in autumn/winter.

Live Cams and Surf Conditions California

Surfline Website: https://www.surfline.com/surf-reports-forecasts-cams/united-states/california/5332921

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