Central California Surfing

Central California's diverse coastline offers a good variety of beaches,
which cater to all skill levels, which makes it easy to find your perfect
wave. Some of this regions best beaches are in Santa Cruz, including
Steamer Lane, a local favorite, where you'll find a consistently fun and
powerful wave. There's Cowells, an excellent beginner's spot located
inside a cove at Steamer Lane, which serves up an easy, rolling right point
break that's good for novices. Surfed by experts and pros is Maverick's in San Mateo County, known for its' world-class, epic waves. There's also Ocean Beach in San Francisco, where you'll find three plus miles of temperamental beachbreak and surreal views of the Golden Gate Bridge. Ocean Beach also happens to be the exact central point of the State, the spot where northern and southern waters collide, which in part accounts for the constantly fluctuating conditions. The central coast attracts more surfers than its' northern counterpart, and more secluded spots can be found if you don't mind going off the beaten path. Keep a low profile if you do, or suffer the wrath of the locals. Sharks are an issue, and if you notice seals and sea lions, expect to see great whites.

Fall, winter and spring are the better months for surfing Central California, but some of the beaches have good wave quality and conditions year round.

The warmest month is August, when water temperatures can reach the lower 60's, and the coldest, January (low 50's). The rest of the year, water temperatures are generally in the mid-50's, with upper 50's in July, September and October. Full length wet-suits are a must.

Find a surf school in Central California.

San Mateo County Surf Spots and Breaks


Fort Point – San Francisco/San Mateo County

Surf Location At the south end of Golden Gate Bridge, follow the signs to Fort Point
Best Swell Direction Medium-period West, Northwest
Best Tide Low and incoming
Best Wind Direction East, light Northwest
Best Surf Season Winter
Wave Quality One of the most interesting surfing experiences you can have. Left point break that can be good with the right conditions, right under the Golden Gate Bridge with giant ships passing and downtown San Francisco in the distance. Though this is a fairly fickle wave, and is very wind and tide sensitive.
The Surfers Can get crowded, some localism
Boards Shortboard
Paddle Out Difficult during an outgoing tide
Skill Level Intermediate to Advanced
Bottom Boulders
Watch Out For... Sharp rocks along break, strong outgoing tide, local hostility
Water Condition Murky to dirty
 

Ocean Beach – San Francisco/San Mateo County

Surf Location West coast of San Francisco. Take Geary Blvd. west until it curves left, go downhill onto Great Highway, public parking available at either the north or south ends of the beach
Best Swell Direction Northwest, West, Southwest
Best Tide Varies with swell, sandbar and part of the beach
Best Wind Direction East
Best Surf Season Fall and winter
Wave Quality No matter how good it gets, the biggest challenge will be getting to the right spot at the right time. Ocean Beach changes from hour to hour due to the strong currents leaving San Francisco Bay. The peaks shift constantly while you are scratching for them. But the best part of this surf spot is that it takes in swell from everywhere, and can get epic.
The Surfers Can get crowded when conditions/weather are good. South of the main beach area is less crowded.
Boards Big Wave Board, Shortboard, Funboard, Longboard
Paddle Out Difficult-to-impossible.
Skill Level Intermediate to Expert
Bottom Sand
Watch Out For… Rough current.
Water Condition Relatively clean
 

Sharp Park – San Francisco/San Mateo County

Surf Location Several exits along Highway 1, parking along most of the beach
Best Swell Direction North, Northwest, West
Best Tide Varies
Best Wind Direction East
Best Surf Season Fall and Spring
Wave Quality Can hold large overhead waves, but this is rare. Often poor. If it looks like something is working, then go check it out. You have to get this spot quick while it’s working.
The Surfers Rarely crowded
Boards Shortboard to semi-gun
Paddle Out Moderate
Skill Level Intermediate to Experienced
Bottom Mostly sand, some reef
Watch Out For… Nursing gray whales in the spring, big and powerful shorebreak.
Water Condition Moderately clean
 

Ano Nuevo – San Francisco/San Mateo County

Surf Location Look for 'Ano Neuvo' sign off of Highway 1
Best Swell Direction South, Northwest, North
Best Tide Incoming to High
Best Wind Direction East, Northwest; winds are offshore
Best Surf Season All year
Wave Quality Two main breaks. A small right that breaks on the south side of Ano Nuevo Point, and a right that wedges off the stone walls (can be hollow and good). Northwest winds provide a constant upwelling, and has the coldest water in California.
The Surfers Can get crowded, especially in the summer. Some local hostility
Boards Shortboard, fish, fun shape, longboard
Paddle Out Easy
Skill Level Intermediate to Expert
Bottom Sand and rock
Watch Out For… Sharks and icy cold water, parking lot thieves
Water Condition Clean
 

Rockaway – San Francisco/San Mateo County

Surf Location Turn off freeway at Rockaway Avenue, park at the end
Best Swell Direction Northwest, West, Southwest
Best Tide Low and Incoming to Medium
Best Wind Direction East
Best Surf Season Fall, Winter, Spring
Wave Quality Beachbreaks form the south point to the north point. Main break is a right at the south end of the beach. It does get BIG here. Almost always worth a look to see if it’s doing it’s thing, but rarely worth going out.
The Surfers Not crowded, except for the few good days
Boards Shortboard, fish, fun shape, longboard
Paddle Out Relatively easy to tough
Skill Level Intermediate to Expert
Bottom Sand and reef
Watch Out For… Big swells and strong outgoing tides, sharks, rocks
Water Condition Relatively dirty
 

Pacifica/Lindamar – San Francisco/San Mateo County

Surf Location Between Crespi Drive and Lindamar Boulevard. Easy access from Highway 1.
Best Swell Direction West, Northwest, North
Best Tide High and Incoming
Best Wind Direction South or East
Best Surf Season Fall, Winter, Spring
Wave Quality Mile-long beach offering; for the most part, mediocre waves. Few epic days. Protected from swell and wind, making it popular with beginner to intermediate surfers.
The Surfers Attracts beginners; you will see a lot of women, relaxed atmosphere, can get crowded.
Boards Surfboard
Paddle Out Mild to moderate
Skill Level Beginner to Advanced
Bottom Sand
Watch Out For… Getting smashed on the big days.
Water Condition Dirty in front of the creek, moderate over the rest of the beach
 

Pedro Point – San Francisco/San Mateo County

Surf Location Highway 1 to Pedro Point. Either park near the point (but not in the Private Property area) or paddle from the Boat House
Best Swell Direction West, Northwest, North
Best Tide Incoming
Best Wind Direction East or Southeast
Best Surf Season Winter
Wave Quality Made famous in the late 30’s and 40’s while surfing was still young, Pedro Point is one of the better-known Central California surf breaks. Fun waves break along the beach, but the main spot is the outside left on the point. This wave holds in really big swells.
The Surfers Locals flock to the big left when it’s good
Boards Rhino chaser and hood
Paddle Out Moderate to difficult
Skill Level Advanced
Bottom Rock reef
Watch Out For… Locals can get hostile, big waves.
Water Condition Moderate
 

Montara – San Francisco/San Mateo County

Surf Location After Pedro Point, Highway 1 goes up into the hills and then along the ocean at Devil's Slide. Toward the south end, there is beach access at a place called Gray Whale Cove.
Best Swell Direction West, Northwest, West, Southwest
Best Tide On small days, low is best
Best Wind Direction East, Southeast, South
Best Surf Season All year
Wave Quality The sandbars shift so much here that the shape can be epic, or completely closed-out. When it is smaller it is a good spot for beginners, but when it gets big it is for experts only. Rights and lefts.
The Surfers Packed on small, south wind days
Boards Shortboard, fish, fun shape, longboard
Paddle Out Mild to difficult
Skill Level Beginner to Advanced
Bottom Shifting sand
Watch Out For… Some shark sightings, poundings when big
Water Condition Clean
 

Ross’ Cove – San Francisco/San Mateo County

Surf Location Parking is difficult. You can park south of Pillar Point, walk over the hill to a small beach near the north jetty, paddle in (40 min.) or waverunner from Pillar Point.
Best Swell Direction West, Northwest, North
Best Tide Incoming, High when big
Best Wind Direction East
Best Surf Season Fall, Winter, Spring
Wave Quality The place is named after a bodyboarder, and has been surfed since the 50’s. There is a left point off the north side of Pillar Point. You can see Mavericks from out in the water.
The Surfers Can get crowded, some localism
Boards Shortboard, fish, fun shape, longboard
Paddle Out Difficult when big
Skill Level Intermediate to Advanced
Bottom Rock and sand
Watch Out For… Big White Sharks
Water Condition Clean
 

Maverick’s – San Francisco/San Mateo County

Surf Location Parking is difficult. You can park south of Pillar Point, walk over the hill to a small beach near the north jetty, paddle in (40 min.) or waverunner from Pillar Point.
Best Swell Direction West, Northwest (safer option)
Best Tide Low and Incoming Medium
Best Wind Direction East
Best Surf Season Winter, Fall, Spring
Wave Quality Mavericks is a legendary big wave surf spot. Perfect, enormous, fast, epic waves. Peaks about a half-mile off of Pillar Point. For the most part, a right-breaking wave. A terraced reef produces a two-speed wave with a fast opening that spills into a yielding shoulder, which in turn sometimes leads to another vertical, then a flat, and occasionally, a third steep section.
The Surfers Crowded, but mostly with onlookers
Boards Big wave gun or tow board/equipment
Paddle Out Tough
Skill Level Expert
Bottom If you ever find out, that means you’ve drowned
Watch Out For… Sharks, whales, dangerous surf, drowning
Water Condition Clean
 

Princeton Jetty – San Francisco/San Mateo County

Surf Location Right off Highway 1, easy parking
Best Swell Direction Southwest, West, windswell
Best Tide Incoming to Hhigh
Best Wind Direction East, Northeast
Best Surf Season All year
Wave Quality Right south of Mavericks, this wave can be a really good surf spot with swell in the water. It is a right that wedges off the jetty and moves fast down the beach. The wave has a pretty tight crowd on big days, but there are still waves to be had. Doesn’t get great too often.
The Surfers Small takeoff zone, can get crowded, expect localism on good days
Boards Shortboard
Paddle Out Mild
Skill Level Beginner to Intermediate
Bottom Sand and rocks
Watch Out For… Some local hostility
Water Condition Moderately clean
 

Half Moon Bay – San Francisco/San Mateo County

Surf Location Accessible off Highway 1, from Kelly Avenue to El Granada
Best Swell Direction West, Northwest, Southwest
Best Tide Varies, depends on sandbars
Best Wind Direction East or glassy
Best Surf Season All year
Wave Quality This four-mile stretch of beach is rarely good, but when the conditions are right and sandbars formed correctly it gets amazing. If you know the winds are offshore and there is west swell in the water, get over there and have an amazing session to yourself.
The Surfers Avoidable crowds and localism
Boards Tube-riding board
Paddle Out Moderate
Skill Level Beginner to advanced
Bottom Sand and rock
Watch Out For… Strong currents
Water Condition Moderately clean
 

Tunitas Creek - San Francisco/San Mateo County

Surf Location Heading south on Highway 1 from Half Moon Bay to Santa Cruz, Tunitas Creek Road
Best Swell Direction West, Northwest, Southwest
Best Tide Beach break, varies
Best Wind Direction East
Best Surf Season Fall, Winter, Spring
Wave Quality Occasionally a good A-frame in the middle of the beach, but mostly too big or too windy to be ride-able
The Surfers Empty
Boards Shortboard, fish, fun shape, longboard
Paddle Out Moderate
Skill Level Intermediate to Advanced
Bottom Sand and rock
Watch Out For… Sharks
Water Condition Moderately clean
 

Pescadero - San Francisco/San Mateo County

Surf Location Off of Highway 1, parking is easy on the north and south ends
Best Swell Direction West, windswell, Northwest, Southwest
Best Tide Incoming to High
Best Wind Direction East or glassy
Best Surf Season All year.
Wave Quality Sometimes perfect breaks along the rocky reefs at the north end of Pescadero Point, but rarely
The Surfers Not crowded
Boards Shortboard, fish, fun shape, longboard
Paddle Out Moderate
Skill Level Intermediate to Experienced
Bottom Sand along the beach, rocks farther south
Watch Out For… Sharks
Water Condition Clean

Santa Cruz Surf Spots and Breaks

Santa Cruz, California - Surf Video

 

 

Waddell Creek - Santa Cruz

Surf Location Just south of Ano Nuevo, parking lots available
Best Swell Direction West, Northwest, Southwest
Best Tide Incoming to High
Best Wind Direction East or glassy
Best Surf Season All year
Wave Quality Can catch a swell from almost any direction. Made up of beachbreaks with reefs. Best in the morning before the onshore winds are up, or all day when winds are blowing offshore. One of the favorite spots of Santa Cruz surfers.
The Surfers Can get crowded, kite surfers and sailboarders
Boards Shortboard, fish, fun shape, longboard, sailboard
Paddle Out Moderate
Skill Level Beginner to Advanced
Bottom Sand and reef
Watch Out For… Sharks and overcrowding
Water Condition Clean
 

Scott’s Creek – Santa Cruz

Surf Location Visible from the road, easy street parking
Best Swell Direction West, Northwest, Southwest
Best Tide Incoming to HIgh
Best Wind Direction East or glassy
Best Surf Season All year
Wave Quality A dependable wave that can handle size. Right reef at the north end of a long beach that starts breaking at 2 ft. and hold up to 20 ft. waves. It can get big and unmanageable if inexperienced. Several secret spots north and south of this break...go looking if you want to know where.
The Surfers Can get crowded, some localism
Boards Shortboard, fish, fun shape, longboard
Paddle Out Moderate to tough
Skill Level Intermediate to Advanced
Bottom Rock reef
Watch Out For… Sharks, big surf, cold water, sharp reef
Water Condition Clean
 

4 Mile – Santa Cruz

Surf Location Four miles north of Santa Cruz city limits, look for parking lot filled with cars
Best Swell Direction Northwest, West, West-Southwest
Best Tide Incoming to High
Best Wind Direction East or Southeast
Best Surf Season All year
Wave Quality Well-developed shore platform along the northern side of the beach. Can be a great right reef and point break, especially in winter. Can also blow out easily.
The Surfers Can get very crowded
Boards Shortboard, fish, fun shape, longboard
Paddle Out Moderate
Skill Level Intermediate to Expert
Bottom Rock reef
Watch Out For… Parking lot break-ins (don’t leave valuables in your car), local hostility
Water Condition Clean
 

Natural Bridges – Santa Cruz

Surf Location Upon entering Santa Cruz city limits, first visible surf spot, parking in state park, walk from there
Best Swell Direction West, Northwest, Southwest
Best Tide Low
Best Wind Direction East, Southeast, glassy
Best Surf Season All year
Wave Quality The first real Santa Cruz surf spot. A right reef/point that can be a very good, shapely world-class break when the swell is high, and can hold waves well overhead
The Surfers Can get crowded on good days
Boards Shortboard, fish, fun shape, longboard
Paddle Out Moderate
Skill Level Intermediate to Advanced
Bottom Rock reef
Watch Out For… Sharp reef
Water Condition Clean
 

Mitchell’s Cove – Santa Cruz

Surf Location On West Cliff Drive, easy street parking
Best Swell Direction West, Northwest, Southwest
Best Tide Low to Incoming
Best Wind Direction East, North, and some Northwest
Best Surf Season All year
Wave Quality One of the many Santa Cruz surf spots that can get epic. Fickle right point break, does best in low to medium tide; in winter swells from overhead to double-overhead in size
The Surfers Can get crowded
Boards Down-the-line rocket ship
Paddle Out Moderate
Skill Level Intermediate to Advanced
Bottom Rock reef and sand
Watch Out For… Sharp rock reef, kelp
Water Condition Moderately dirty
 

Steamer Lane – Santa Cruz

Surf Location In Santa Cruz, right in the city
Best Swell Direction West, Northwest, Southwest
Best Tide Incoming medium low to medium high
Best Wind Direction East, Northwest, glassy
Best Surf Season All year
Wave Quality Steamer Lane is a well-known break around the world. It is one of the gems of all the Central California surf spots. One of the most crowded surf breaks in California, and for good reason. When the swell is up, it offers world-class, epic waves that can reach triple-overhead.
The Surfers Can get very crowded
Boards Big-wave board
Paddle Out Moderate to tough
Skill Level Intermediate to Advanced
Bottom Rock reef, kelp, sand patches
Watch Out For… Longboarders at Cowells Cove, kayakers, crowds, hostile locals, seals and sea otters
Water Condition Clean

Steamer Lane, Santa Cruz - Surf Video

 

 

Cowells - Santa Cruz

Surf Location Located in the cove at Steamer Lane
Best Swell Direction West, Northwest
Best Tide Low and Middle
Best Wind Direction East, North, Northeast
Best Surf Season All year
Wave Quality An easy, rolling right point-break
The Surfers Can get very crowded
Boards Longboard
Paddle Out Relatively easy
Skill Level Beginners
Bottom Sand
Watch Out For… Crowds
Water Condition Clean
 

The Harbor - Santa Cruz

Surf Location Visible from the road, limited street parking on either side of harbor
Best Swell Direction West and Northwest
Best Tide Minus tide, coming up
Best Wind Direction East
Best Surf Season Winter, Fall, Spring
Wave Quality Rarely breaks, but when it does, it’s good
The Surfers Can get crowded when conditions are good
Boards Tube-riding board
Paddle Out Easy to moderate
Skill Level Experienced
Bottom Sand, concrete “jacks” in places
Watch Out For… Arrest (it’s illegal to surf here), injury from rocks during big breaks
Water Condition Moderately clean to dirty
 

26th Avenue - Santa Cruz

Surf Location Visible from the road, easy street and lot parking
Best Swell Direction Southwest, West, Northwest
Best Tide Incoming to Medium
Best Wind Direction East
Best Surf Season All year
Wave Quality The only beachbreak in Santa Cruz, this spot can sometimes offer up some fun little waves.
The Surfers Can get crowded, mostly with beginners and longboarders.
Boards Hot-dog shortboard
Paddle Out Moderate
Skill Level Beginner and up
Bottom Sand and rock
Watch Out For… Kelp, bodyboarders, some local hostility
Water Condition Moderately clean
 

Pleasure Point - Santa Cruz

Surf Location Walk down the stairs at 34th Street, paddle out
Best Swell Direction Northwest, West, Southwest, South-Southwest
Best Tide Incoming to Medium
Best Wind Direction East, North, Northwest, glassy
Best Surf Season All year
Wave Quality Offers up a variety of good, ride-able waves for all skill levels
The Surfers Very crowded, some localism
Boards Shortboard, longboard, funboard, bodyboard
Paddle Out Moderate to tough
Skill Level All
Bottom Rock reef, sand, kelp
Watch Out For… Longboarders, kelp, sea otters, local hostility
Water Condition Moderately clean
 

Manresa - Santa Cruz

Surf Location Park at Manresa State Park
Best Swell Direction West, Northwest, Southwest, windswell
Best Tide Incoming to High
Best Wind Direction East
Best Surf Season All year
Wave Quality Consistent, mostly west-facing beach that catches a lot of swell. Can get too big to surf at times. Best in winter when winds are offshore.
The Surfers Large area so never crowded, enough space for everyone so no localism
Boards Shortboard, fish, fun shape, longboard
Paddle Out Moderate to tough to impossible
Skill Level Beginner to Advanced
Bottom Sand
Watch Out For… Occasional shark sightings
Water Condition Moderate

Monterey Surf Spots and Breaks

 

Moss Landing - Monterey

Surf Location Park at Moss Landing State Park
Best Swell Direction Long-period West, Northwest, big Southwest
Best Tide Variable
Best Wind Direction East.
Best Surf Season Fall, Winter, Spring, occasionally summer on a big southwest swell
Wave Quality The water just offshore is really deep, so the swell is not slowed down as it approaches, making Moss Landing pretty heavy beachbreak. Small to huge, one of California’s best and most consistent beachbreaks.
The Surfers Heavy localism, but plenty of space for everyone
Boards Good paddling surfboard
Paddle Out Moderate to high
Skill Level Intermediate to Very Advanced
Bottom Sand
Watch Out For… Parking lot theft (don’t leave any valuables in the car), a lot of local hostility, sharks, cold winds
Water Condition Moderately clean
 

Lover’s Point – Monterey

Surf Location Plenty of lot and street parking
Best Swell Direction West, Northwest, North
Best Tide Incoming to Medium
Best Wind Direction East and Southeast
Best Surf Season Winter, Fall, Spring
Wave Quality The first in a series of rocky, left points. Big days on occasion. The downside is that it can be pretty inconsistent.
The Surfers Too small for crowds, there is localism
Boards Shortboard, fish, fun shape, longboard
Paddle Out Minimal
Skill Level Beginner to Expert
Bottom Sand and rock
Watch Out For… Rocks, kelp, local hostility
Water Condition Moderately clean
 

Boneyard – Monterey

Surf Location Easy parking
Best Swell Direction West, Northwest, North
Best Tide Medium incoming
Best Wind Direction East and Southeast
Best Surf Season Winter, Fall, Spring
Wave Quality Big waves with small takeoff area, huge winter swells. A very rocky, gnarly reef break.
The Surfers Can be crowded when good, expect localism
Boards Shortboard, fish, fun shape, longboard
Paddle Out Moderate
Skill Level Intermediate to Experienced
Bottom Rock reef
Watch Out For… Rocks, hostility
Water Condition Clean
 

Asilomar – Monterey

Surf Location Plenty of street parking
Best Swell Direction West, Northwest, North, Southwest
Best Tide Low and Incoming to Medium
Best Wind Direction East and Southeast
Best Surf Season All year
Wave Quality Gets decent surf year-round, getting up to 12 feet and staying clean. There are three main breaks. Roadsides on the north end, Middles (in the middle), and Reef. Reef is the best spot, a good left up to about 8 feet, but turns into a solid right above that size. Very difficult to surf when big.
The Surfers Mostly empty, sometimes crowded
Boards Shortboard, fish, fun shape, longboard
Paddle Out Can be difficult
Skill Level Beginner to Experienced
Bottom Sand and some rock
Watch Out For… Sharks, big surf, local hostility
Water Condition Clean
 

Mole Point – Monterey

Surf Location Plenty of lot and street parking
Best Swell Direction West, Northwest, North, Southwest
Best Tide Incoming Medium to High
Best Wind Direction East and Southeast
Best Surf Season All year
Wave Quality Just off shore from the Pebble Beach golf course. A right reef break that can produce some well-shaped surf, maxes out at 8 feet. Works with swell from any direction.
The Surfers Can get crowded, expect some localism
Boards Shortboard, fish, fun shape, longboard
Paddle Out Moderate
Skill Level Intermediate to Experienced
Bottom Rock reef and sand
Watch Out For… Rocks, kelp
Water Condition Clean
 

Carmel Beach – Monterey

Surf Location Parking at the end of Ocean Avenue
Best Swell Direction West, Northwest, Southwest
Best Tide Incoming to High, varies
Best Wind Direction Northwest, East and Southeast
Best Surf Season Winter, Fall, Spring, summer on big souths
Wave Quality Half-mile protected area with many quality peaks, left and right beach breaks that change constantly. The cleanest, most clear water around. When conditions are right there are clear blue tubes to be had.
The Surfers Can get crowded, but roomy
Boards Shortboard, fish, fun shape, longboard
Paddle Out Mild to moderate
Skill Level Intermediate to Very Experienced
Bottom Sand, some rocks
Watch Out For… Heavy shorepound
Water Condition Very clean
 

Big Sur Rivermouth / Andrew Molera State - Monterey Park

Surf Location On Highway 1 out of San Simeon, access from Andrew Molera State Park
Best Swell Direction West, Southwest
Best Tide Low
Best Wind Direction East, Northeast, North
Best Surf Season Fall
Wave Quality Outside, peaky lefts and rights held up by consistent winds. Best in the morning when winds are light/non-existent, produces a very ride-able right or a mushy, peeling left.
The Surfers Small area, not much room, expect localism
Boards Shortboard and funboard
Paddle Out Mild to moderate
Skill Level Intermediate
Bottom Sand and rock
Watch Out For… Sharks and hostile locals, strong currents and rocks during low tide
Water Condition Clean
 

Sand Dollar Beach – Monterey

Surf Location Highway 1 out of San Simeon, watch for signs
Best Swell Direction Northwest, West, Southwest
Best Tide Medium
Best Wind Direction East and Northeast
Best Surf Season Fall
Wave Quality Has several long sand bars which provide numerous breaks. The north end offers an unshapely right that fizzles out into the channel. Below this are gentle white-water breakers, either long, mushy lefts or speedy, shallow rights. Either long, mushy lefts or speedy, shallow rights.
The Surfers Enough room for everyone, mellow crowd
Boards Shortboard
Paddle Out Mild to moderate
Skill Level Intermediate
Bottom Sand
Watch Out For… Some localism, sharks
Water Condition Clean

San Luis Obispo County Surf Spots and Breaks

 

Moonstone – San Luis Obispo County

Surf Location Take Highway 1 into San Simeon Acres, turn west onto Pico Avenue, park in the cul-de-sac, walk down the staircase
Best Swell Direction Southwest, West, Northwest
Best Tide Lower for the reef, medium for the beach break
Best Wind Direction Northeast
Best Surf Season Summer and Autumn
Wave Quality Normally flat and unsurfable. Sandbars sometimes form after storms (which happens a few times per year), which can provide a thick, right-hand reefbreak wave, or peaky, rocky beach breaks on small days.
The Surfers Not a lot of room, expect localism
Boards Shortboard or longboard
Paddle Out Mild to moderate
Skill Level Intermediate
Bottom Sand and rock
Watch Out For… Sharks
Water Condition Clean
 

Moonstone - San Luis Obispo County

Surf Location Exit Highway 1 onto Moonstone Beach Drive, park at Santa Rosa Creek lot at south end of the road
Best Swell Direction Northwest, West, Southwest
Best Tide Low
Best Wind Direction East and Northeast
Best Surf Season Fall
Wave Quality Mostly outside rights with occasional lefts. Outer sandbars create long, peaky, peeling waves, forgiving and not so hollow.
The Surfers Can get crowded, some localism
Boards Shortboard or bodyboard
Paddle Out Mild
Skill Level Intermediate
Bottom Sand, some rock
Watch Out For… Icy cold water, shallow shorebreaks, sharks
Water Condition Clean
 

Cayucos Pier – San Luis Obispo County

Surf Location Exit Highway 1 onto Cayucos Drive and go west to the pier
Best Swell Direction West, Southwest
Best Tide Higher
Best Wind Direction Northeast
Best Surf Season Spring through Fall
Wave Quality Outside, consistent beachbreak with inconsistent shape and hollow closeouts. Shifting sandbars create A-frame peaks of both lefts and rights, depending upon the current. Fun waves to be had, but nothing special.
The Surfers Usually not crowded, mild localism
Boards Shortboard and longboard
Paddle Out Mild to moderate
Skill Level Beginner to Intermediate
Bottom Sand, some rocks
Watch Out For… Sharks, fishing lines.
Water Condition Clean
 

Morro Bay – San Luis Obispo County

Surf Location Exit Highway 1 onto Harbor Boulevard, take that to Embarcadero, go right and drive around the bay’s north end until you get to Coleman City Park, park your car. Can also take Atascadero Road.
Best Swell Direction West, Northwest, Southwest
Best Tide Medium to High
Best Wind Direction East
Best Surf Season Summer and Fall
Wave Quality Normally an average beach break, occasionally provides a mile or so of shapely A-frames. Bigger, more challenging waves can be found on the north end. A mushy left off the rock when it’s big. With big swell and good sand bars it gets epic, but nearly impossible to get out.
The Surfers Can get crowded, locals are friendly
Boards Any board
Paddle Out Mild to impossible.
Skill Level Beginner to Intermediate
Bottom Sand
Watch Out For… Stingrays
Water Condition Clean
 

Pismo Beach Pier – San Luis Obispo County

Surf Location Exit 101 at Price Street, go under the highway and take a left onto Price Canyon Road which becomes Hinds Avenue. Parking lot at the end of the road, staircase to the beach.
Best Swell Direction Short-period West, or Southwest/Northwest combination
Best Tide Higher
Best Wind Direction East and Northeast
Best Surf Season Late Spring, Summer and Fall
Wave Quality Often or not you will be frustrated with the endless closeouts. Best when winds are light and the tide is high. Consistent and shapely waves can be found, mostly beachbreaks holding 6 feet and under. Miles of beachbreaks down south that are rarely surfed, but if you’re up for it you’re bound to find something to yourself.
The Surfers Friendly
Boards Shortboard
Paddle Out Mild
Skill Level Beginner and up
Bottom Sand
Watch Out For… Nothing
Water Condition Clean
 

San Luis Obispo County - Pismo Beach Pier

Surf Location Exit 101 at Price Street, go under the highway and take a left onto Price Canyon Road which becomes Hinds Avenue. Parking lot at the end of the road, staircase to the beach.
Best Swell Direction Short-period West, or Southwest/Northwest combination
Best Tide Higher
Best Wind Direction East and Northeast
Best Surf Season Late Spring, Summer and Fall
Wave Quality Best when winds are light and the tide is high. Consistent and shapely waves, mostly beach breaks of 6 feet and under, can extend for miles on the south end.
The Surfers Friendly
Boards Shortboard
Paddle Out Mild
Skill Level Beginner and up
Bottom Sand
Watch Out For… Nothing
Water Condition Clean

 

 

Advertise with The Surfing Site!