From the Beach Boys to Jay Moriarity to the Z-Boys, California is now considered the surfing eldorado. From San Francisco you can plan your surf trip by heading south on the Pacific Coast Highway. Santa Monica, Santa Barbara, Oceanside, Huntington Beach, Half Moon Bay, Santa Cruz, Malibu?
California is the birthplace of surf culture, the meeting place of the best shapers and pros where surfers and skaters mix.
As the cultural capital of the American West Coast, San Francisco is considered a tourist destination. Known for its diversity, diverse music scene and numerous museums, San Francisco tends to be known for its beaches and waves for experienced surfers in winter. Northern California spots can offer very good swells from November to March despite cold water and cool weather.
The large Ocean Beach will offer you many possibilities but beware of currents and especially sharks. Bordered by the Golden Gate Park, this spot is very popular with good surfers for its fantastic and capricious waves. For the myth, treat yourself to a session under the Golden Gate Bridge but beware the spot is dangerous with its rocks at the bottom. The ideal spot to start surfing is without a doubt Pacifica. The waves are often present and not difficult.
THE SPOT TO SEE ! If there is one spot in California that you shouldn't miss, it's Mavericks at Half Moon Bay, known for its huge and very dangerous waves. This spot has seen a good number of exploits and wipeouts like those of Jay Moriarity in the 90's and Mark Foo.
When the north or south wind blows very strong during the winter season, the waves can be more than 20 metres high, giving the Big Waves Riders big, fat straights. Does this sound like a dream? Yes, but you also have to think about strong currents, cold water, sharks and rocks... So are you still in?
Located on the north side of Monterey Bay, Santa Cruz is particularly popular with surfers for its fun and relaxed atmosphere. Santa Cruz is the most diverse city in California with its many pointbreaks, beachbreaks, coves and mouths. Pleasure Point, Hook and Cowell Beach will be perfect for riders wanting to start surfing, while Steamer Lane will be an exceptional spot for more experienced surfers. On the way to Los Angeles, Zuma Beach, Venice Beach and Topanga should satisfy you if you're in the intermediate or experienced level. Enjoy the fast and short waves before heading to the city of angels.
"Come on and safari with me at Huntington and Malibu" sang the famous Beach Boys in their 1962 hit Surfin' Safari. Considered the "Holy Grail of surfing", Malibu, in Los Angeles County, is undoubtedly the showcase of American surf culture. It's a place not to be missed for its mythical beach, where surfing babes and celebrities mingle.
This pointbreak runs in a straight line and is divided into three surf sections. The beach is however regularly closed due to pollution problems.
Huntington Beach, located in Orange County, is steeped in the surfing lifestyle. The warm climate and year-round sunshine make Huntington Beach a famous surfing location. Every summer, the town hosts a WCT stage. The beaches here stretch for almost 15 kilometres from Sunset Beach to River Jetties, offering some nice little lefts and rights. Watch out for the longest pier in California.
To finish this Californian surf trip, don't miss San Diego and the mythical southern spot, Trestles. Next to San Clemente, the peaks of Lower Trestles are superb with an offshore wind that produces a good surf break for shortboards and longboards.