Editors Note: This post was co-written with Christy Woodrow from OrdinaryTraveler
So you’ve arrived in Southern California or you live here and you’ve decided that you want to learn how to surf. I feel obligated to warn you that there’s a risk that your life as you currently know it will be over. Once you’ve experienced firsthand what it feels like to be stoked, it will be the start of a lifelong journey in pursuit of that feeling and good waves.
This point break is named Sunset due to the fact that it is at the intersection of the Pacific Coast Highway and Sunset Boulevard. This is hands down my favorite spot to surf when it’s good. For a beginner there might be a bit of dilemma because you do have to get over a few rocks right when you enter the water. Other than that this is probably one of the most gentle waves you’ll find in LA. Even on a bigger day it tends to be fairly forgiving. The only downside to this place is that it can get very crowded on a good day. If you’re a beginner it’s recommended that you surf near what is known as the first point or the lifeguard tower. One thing to keep in mind is that you want to be here at a low tide. If you intend to learn here plan on renting a surfboard and a wetsuit somewhere in Santa Monica. Check out the ZJ Boarding House on Main street for rentals.
Santa Monica/Bay Street
This is really the de facto spot that people end up for surf lessons. It’s proximity to the hotels and a number of tourist attractions make it a prime location for the surf instructors to set up shop. If it’s summer time it’s likely that you’ll see many beginners taking lessons here and in the winter it can become quite big and challenging. If you’re in LA on summer vacation and want to learn to surf and spend the day at the beach this is a solid option.
Cardiff Reef is a point break that produces both lefts and rights. It’s best for longboarding due to the slow and mushy waves. It’s a good spot for beginners since the shallows have a sand bottom and the surfers are generally easy going. The reefs along Cardiff can handle anything from little dribblers to double overhead sets.
Fletcher’s Cove is a generally unknown right and left reef break in Solana Beach. The beach access is extremely easy to get to from the nearby parking lot. The bottom is mostly sand and the waves are mushy and slow. This spot works well with a fish or longboard.
Old Mans at San Onofre State Beach is a popular surf spot for beginners to AARP. It’s best for longboards due to its slow, gentle waves. You’re likely to find surfers catching rides while doing a handstand. The bottom is covered in cobblestones and sand. The vibe is super mellow and it’s a great place to hang out for the whole day. Hazards include the possible meltdown of the nearby nuclear power plant, also known as big boobs.
La Jolla Shores
Boneyards in Encinitas sits just north of the popular surf break known as Swamis. While Swamis is for intermediate to advanced surfers, Boneyards attracts all levels. The bottom is covered in flat rocks and sand. The reef produces left-hand waves that are great for longboarding. Depending on the tide, you can catch some of the longest rides of your life. Keep in mind it’s about a 10-20 minute walk from any parking areas.
15th Street in Del Mar is, as the name would suggest, on 15th Street. It’s a right and left rocky reef that is good at all tides and for all surfing levels. It’s mostly flat-faced, easy waves and perfect for beginners. Parking and crowds in Del Mar can be brutal during the summer.
This spot stretches between Crystal Pier and Mission Bay jetty. It’s a right and left beach break with sandy bottom and is generally less crowded than other surf spots in Southern California. It’s good for all surf levels and is best at mid to high tide.
- 8 Essential Items that Long Term Travelers Should Look for When They Rent an Apartment
- 7 Signs That You're Truly an Expat
- Mistaken Identity, Bus Schedules and the Pura Vida Spirit
- Things We Take for Granted in the USA
- Difficult Goodbyes
- Lost Souls Living in Paradise
- Patience, Perspective, and Insignificance
- The Draw of Nature's Spectacle
- The Solitude and Soul of the the Long Term Traveler
- 3 Steps to Language Hacking with Google Translate
- Traveling by Bus in Latin America? Dress for Winter
- 4 Unexpected Ways That My Spanish Has Improved
- The Soul Searching Travelers of the Pura Vida Hostel
- Why Minimalism Makes Sense Complete Sense for Long Term Travel
- How To Conquer Pre-Trip Anxiety
- The Reverse Culture Shock Experience
- Are World Travelers Running From Something?
- How To Plan A Sabbatical
- The Case Against Travel and How to Beat It
- Living Life Under Erupting Volcano Tavurvur - Rabal - Papua New Guinea
- Top 4 Travel Apps I Could Probably Live Without, But Choose Not To
- 10 Flightster Favorites from 2010
- The Frequent Traveler's Guide to Traveling Better
- The Annual Flightster Holiday Party
- 5 Travel Related Twitter Hashtags You Should Follow
- 40 Flightsters You Should Know About
- Puerto Rico (The Island of Enchantment) awaits
- A City of Strangers Becomes a City of Friends
- Why Las Vegas is No Longer a Budget Travel Destination
- Tres Taxistas: My First Night in Sao Paulo
- 6 Life Lessons From 6 Months Abroad
- Top 10 Reasons to Go to Burning Man
- Sedona Arizona- A Spiritual Traveler's Journey
- Congratulations to the Winning Flightsters
- LosAngelisms: A Look at Life in the City of Angels
- Vote for Who Will become the next Flightster
- A Roundup of Aspiring Flightsters
- Editor’s Weekly Picks: Week of July 25
- 10 Travel Tips in 140 Characters or Less
- How to Become the Next Paid Writer For the Flightster Blog
- Editor’s Weekly Picks: Week of July 11
- The 7 Most Useless Things in the Skymall Catalog
- Sitting Next to the Passenger from Hell