California is one of the five US states that form the Pacific Region and is the most densely populated state in the country. Most Californians consider surfing a way of life or a spectator sport.
If you are looking for a surfing destination where you can mingle with residents in one of the most influential and fashionable locations in terms of popular culture, California is surely the global choice.
With a Mediterranean climate in many areas, California also has polar and subtropical climates due to its sheer size. On the coastline, the Californian current creates summer fog for the surfers and other water enthusiasts to enjoy. The 1,350 km California coastline offers hundreds of amazing surf spots - from the Northern coast to the Southern coast and everything in between. Surfing has changed drastically since its introduction from Hawaii over a century ago. The surfboard designs, the riders, and the entire industry have all seen a lot of improvements over time. However, one thing has not changed much- the amazing surf spots.
For big wave riding enthusiasts, there is no better place to experience this in the world than California. The California surf here is generally consistent all year round. The south is considered the best. Additionally, Northern California also has fantastic surf spots, though you will need to use a thicker wetsuit than in the south. So, when is the best time to visit the fantastic surfing destination of California?
Surfing Seasons in California, United States
Like in all other surf cities, there are two main California surf seasons.
These seasons include the following;
*High season. For the best surfing conditions in California, you should be heading there during the winter. This is the time during which the Santa Ana kicks in on the southern California coast. This brings about offshore conditions and huge west and northwest Pacific swells, which world-class surf. There are less crowds during this time and a surf holiday is less expensive.
*Low season. This happens during the summer when the coast experiences sporadic south and southwest swells. The surf can be flat for a while and the line-up for the surf may be intense. However, the waters are warmer, and bikinis are the way to go.
With a reasonably mature surf experience regarding improvements, California offers the best surf amenities in the world. There are many surf shops, surf rentals, surf schools and camps as well as amazing nightlife and accommodation.
Surfing in Malibu
Located less than an hour from Los Angeles and on the Pacific Coast Highway, Malibu is one of the most popular California surf cities. This amazing 21-mile stretch of coastline provides some of the best surfing spots in the whole country. The waves here are usually between two to four feet high and can be surfed 150 days of the year thanks to the Pacific storms that ensure huge swells. Whether you are starting out or training for your next competition, Malibu, as a surfing destination, offers plenty of surf space for surfers of all skill levels. If you are looking for long right-hand breaks, Surfrider Beach between Malibu Lagoon and Malibu Pier is the spot to sample. Here, you can surf on the even-breaking waves on the first, second and third surf points. Best surfed on the south swells, these spots have powerful, fast and hollow waves.
If you are a Baywatch fan and also love a wide variety of waves, you should head north of Point Dume to Zuma Beach and find out why the series was filmed here. Other exciting surf spots in Malibu include Topanga Beach and County Line. In Malibu, you are sure to get all the surfing amenities you need, such as surf shops and rentals, camps as well as lodging and entertainment.
Things to Do in Malibu
After spending your day surfing in this great surf spot, there is no better way for a breather than enjoying a night out. There are many nightlife joints in Malibu, some of which include Rosenthal Wine Bar & Patio, Cafe Habana Malibu, Moonshadows Malibu and Kristy's Malibu.
Surfing in San Clemente (Trestles)
If you are looking for the best southern California surfing destination, Trestles, San Clemente is the place to be. Located at the mouth of San Mateo Creek in the outskirts of San Clemente, this long expanse of beach is home to excellent varieties of waves, sandbars and beach breaks. Surfers of all skill levels can enjoy both rights and lefts in both Lower and Upper Trestles. The amazing surf conditions offered by this spot explain why it hosts some of the biggest surf events in the world, including the WSL World Tour and the NSSA Nationals. Although fairly accommodative, it is not uncommon to see more than 200 surfers competing to ride a wave on a weekday. Other surf spots in San Clemente include T-Street, Califia, Lost Winds, Riviera, The Pier, and the 204’s. San Clemente offers useful surf shops, camps, and lively nightlife.
Things to Do in San Clemente
Surfing during the day and enjoying the evening entertainment in San Clemente offers a unique opportunity to balance the day and the night. You can enjoy the nightlife here by sampling some of the most popular night joints in San Clemente. These include Red Fox Lounge, Ole's Tavern, Knuckleheads Sports Bar & Grill, The Cellar and Big Helyn's Saloon, among many others.
Surfing in La Jolla Hermosa
If you are looking for a basic beach break with predictable, reliable and consistent waves for any surfing level, La Jolla Hermosa provides this and more. Featuring shorter periods of west northwest swell directions and longer periods of southwest swell directions, La Jolla shore offers amazing surfing experiences to both locals and visitors. The best wind direction for surfing here is the east to south while the mid-tide is the most optimum.
The best thing here is the fact that although the waves can be crowded at times, there is not too much of a surfing vibe. The sandbars and reef formations in La Jolla ensure that surfers get the experience of their lifetime at this glorious surfing destination. If you are an advanced surfer looking for amazing and unpredictable surf conditions to pump up your adrenaline levels, heading downtown in La Jolla is what you should do. This is a no-surf zone for learners and newbies.
La Jolla Hermosa offers great surf shops and rentals, surf schools and camps as well as ample parking and great nightlife.
Things to Do in La Jolla Hermosa
After surfing the whole day, you can enjoy some of the best seafood, drinks, and entertainment that La Jolla has to offer both locals and visitors. Some of the best places to visit in La Jolla include Osteria Romantica, Beaumont's, The Comedy Store - La Jolla, The Spot, Public House La Jolla and Hiatus Pool Lounge, among many others.
Surfing in Newport Beach
Featuring an exciting eight-plus-miles of beachfront, Newport Beach is often referred to as the undisputed king of body-surfing spots. This long expanse of beach break is interspersed by several short and amazing rock jetties and sandbars offering hollow, picky and usually crowded waves. The surf is best during summer and south swells. However, this spot can be surfed any time of the year.
The Wedge Newport Beach offers shore-breaking waves and the biggest swells in the whole of California.
For learners and less-experienced surfers, Wedge Newport beach is for the eyes only. The potentially 30-foot waves make this spot better suited to bodysurfers and bodyboarders than the usual surfers. Here is where you are likely to interact with the best surfers in Newport Beach and risk collision with oncoming surfers if you dare step into the waters, thanks to the strong backwash. Other exciting surfing destinations here include Little Corona, Echo Beach, and Blackies. There are many surf shops, rentals, schools, and camps.
Things to Do in Newport Beach
After spending the day watching surfers do their thing or surfing yourself in this cool surf spot, you can catch the sunset and enjoy the nightlife in some of the best bars/restaurants in the country. Some places to sample include Beach Ball, Class of 47, Aqua Lounge, 3 Thirty 3 Waterfront and Malarky's Irish Pub.
Surfing in Ventura
Ventura is one of the best surfing destinations in the state of California. The most popular of these spots is called Pipe, a dynamic design of cobblestone and sand, offering long right wall waves and a surfing experience that depends on the flow of Ventura river mouth. California Street is another right break spot friendly to beginners with the occasional left.
The Inside C Street (popularly known as Inside Point) is another awesome surf spot in Ventura. This provides perfect walls that roll onto the pier. While small, this spot offers a great surf experience that will make surfers at the First Point Malibu gawp in admiration.
Other California surfing destinations to sample in Ventura include Ventura Harbor, Mondos, Pita’s Point, Emma Wood, Summer Beach, Rincon, Solimar, The Indicator, The Cove and Gold Coast Beachbreaks. In all Ventura surf spots, you can find surf shops, rentals, schools and camps in the vicinity.
Things to Do in Ventura
There are many entertainment and nightlife spots in Ventura where you can enjoy a magnificent time. Some of the most popular options, where you can grab tasty meals, drinks and refreshments, include VenTiki Tiki Lounge & Lanai, Star Lounge, Bombay Bar & Grill, Dargans Irish Pub & Restaurant, Barrelhouse 101, Cafe Fiore and Rookees Sports Bar to mention but a few.
In conclusion, California is one of the best surfing destinations in the United States and the world too. There are many exciting and amazing surf spots to sample for surfers of all skill levels. There are surf schools and camps for those looking for an opportunity to learn the basics of surfing. Surf shops and rentals are dotted around the state and the nightlife here is second to nnone. The surf and weather conditions are generally favorable with the Mediterranean climate. Northern California is also great for surfing, though you will need to wear heavier swimsuits.