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.
San Mateo County Surf Spots and Breaks
Santa Cruz Surf Spots and Breaks
Monterey Surf Spots and Breaks
San Luis Obispo County Surf Spots and Breaks