THE COMPLETE GUIDE TO SURFING IN SAN DIEGO

The ocean is an amazing place that for many of us holds a special place in our hearts. Whether you are into surfing, fishing, or simply taking in the sights and sounds of the waves crashing against the shoreline it can be truly enchanting.

San Diego is one of the best places to enjoy this activity as there are miles upon miles of beautiful coastline with plenty of breaks for surfers to choose from. It’s also not too crowded which means you have more time to spend enjoying yourself without worrying about bumping into other people on your board!

So if you’re looking for some great waves and don’t want to go all that far then head down south because San Diego has everything you need! The beach is just waiting for you now to come and find it!

It’s not always easy to find all the information you need on surfing in San Diego, though. There are tons of different beaches, breaks, seasons…it can get pretty mind-boggling.

The last thing you want is to invest your time into getting an awesome board and then go surfing at a beach that’s not even safe or one that has no waves!

You’re going to have to do some research before heading out the door if you don’t want any unpleasant surprises like this. Fortunately for you, we did plenty of research so all you have to do is take a quick look below where we will tell you everything you need to know about finding the right spot when surfing in San Diego.

San Diego surf spots

Pacific Beach

Aerial view of people at the beach with the pier with during blue day, Pacific Beach, San Diego Aerial view of people at the beach near the pier with during blue summer day. Pacific Beach in San Diego, California pacific beach san diego stock pictures, royalty-free photos & images

One of the best beaches in San Diego for surfing is Pacific Beach. It’s also one of the most popular and well-known spots to go out for a surf.

The waves here are perfect for beginners and families to spend their time without worrying too much about unexpected dangers. There aren’t strong currents either so you don’t need to worry about anything like that getting in your way.

There are two seasons when it comes to surfing in this part of San Diego: winter and summertime.

Winter brings bigger swells but there is more risk involved as well since storms can pop up pretty fast and unexpectedly, bringing with them powerful riptides that can cause serious damage if you’re not careful. Summertime provides calmer waves and more sun but they aren’t as high which means you can’t stay out in the water for as long.

Ocean Beach

San Francisco Golden Gate Park High quality aerial photos of San Francisco's Golden Gate Park and Ocean Beach. ocean beach stock pictures, royalty-free photos & images

Another of San Diego’s most popular and well-known surfing spots in Ocean Beach. This beach has a more natural feel to it than Pacific Beach, though, with fewer people coming here.

The main thing that affects the waves here is swell – this place features some amazing waves during wintertime when all of nature is conspiring to generate massive swells on our shores!

It’s not recommended for beginners however because there are often strong currents at play and sometimes even riptides! These can be perilous so if your surfboard skills aren’t up to snuff then we suggest staying away from this spot until you get better at it!

Windansea Beach

This is another good spot for beginners to go to because the swells are smaller and calmer so there’s no chance of them taking you by surprise. It’s also a lot easier to navigate than Ocean Beach since there aren’t any riptides here.

The best months for surfing around this area are summertime when the weather is calm, sunny, and warm which makes it an excellent choice if you want to hit the waves but don’t like getting cold too much.

Be mindful, though, that even in summertime the water will be pretty chilly (it’ll feel colder than what you’ve probably experienced before) so make sure not to stay out for too long or numbness will set in and it’ll feel like you’re riding a block of ice!

La Jolla Shores

People enjoying sunset on La Jolla Beach, California, USA People enjoying sunset on La Jolla Beach, California, USA lajolla stock pictures, royalty-free photos & images

This is another excellent option for beginners because the waves here are smaller and there aren’t any riptides to be found.

This part of San Diego has some truly amazing beaches which are why we highly recommend coming here for your very first surf session in the area.

The weather here is typically milder than on other parts of the coast but that doesn’t mean you should get complacent either – October through February tend to bring bigger swells so make sure not to go out during this time if you don’t want anything unexpected popping up while you’re riding those waves.

Carlsbad State Beach

Another great spot for beginners thanks to the small, mild swells that come through. This is a very popular spot for surfers but no need to worry since there are lifeguards on duty here so you won’t get into any trouble.

The best time of year to go surfing here is December through February because bigger swells will be coming from the north during this period, bringing some truly epic waves with them!

Keep in mind though that some really strong storms can pop up at any time during this period, too, so make sure you don’t stay out for too long if your skills aren’t top-notch yet.

Mission Beach:

San Diego's Mission Beach Aerial View The iconic "Big Dipper" roller coaster at Belmont Park featured in the center of this aerial photograph of Mission Beach in San Diego, California.  The downtown skyline is visible in the distance.  I shot this image nearing dusk after a storm had cleared from an altitude of about 300 feet during a helicopter photo flight.   mission beach san diego stock pictures, royalty-free photos & images

This is another popular spot for surfers to come during wintertime when big swells are frequent. This beach has some really strong currents, though, so you’ll need to be extra careful while riding the waves here!

If you’re not used to surfing then give this place a pass since it can get very dangerous but if your skills are decent then feel free to go out in the water anytime between December and March because that’s when the biggest swells come through.

Encinitas

Surfers flock here in summertime when the weather is beautiful and warm so they can spend hours cruising across the water on their boards. The swells aren’t too bad either so it’s an excellent choice for beginners.

The best months to go surfing around here are August, September, and October when the weather is dry and sunny for most of the time. The water temperature will still be colder than what you’re used to, though, so make sure to bring plenty of warm clothing with you if you plan on staying out for a few hours!

Oceanside

Morning Foggy at Del Mar,San Diego,California. Morning Foggy at Del Mar,San Diego,California. oceanside california stock pictures, royalty-free photos & images

Another really great spot for beginners since it’s flat most of the time making it much easier to learn how to handle your board. This place also features some pretty serious riptides so if you don’t have strong enough swimming skills then you’d do best avoiding this one entirely.

The swells come up starting in November which makes this an excellent choice during wintertime or just before that season starts. During the warmer months (June through August) this place gets crowded with people of all skill levels, though, so try to avoid it then if you don’t want to run into lots of other surfers when you’re trying to hone your skills.

Black’s Beach (Torrey Pines)

This is another popular choice thanks to the mild swells that show up often. If you’re not used to surfing then this spot might be a bit too difficult for you since it can get really crowded here during wintertime, though.

The best time of year to come out if your skills are still new is between November and February because bigger swells will bring some truly epic waves with them right around this time!

La Jolla Cove

La Jolla Cove Beach Sea Cove in San Diego, California la jolla cove stock pictures, royalty-free photos & images

A beautiful beach that makes for an excellent backdrop for your first surfing experience! Like at Black’s Beach, strong currents make their way here from time to time so if you don’t have strong swimming skills yet then we’d recommend avoiding this one until you’ve had more practice under your belt.

The water here is generally cold no matter when you go out so don’t forget to bring some warm clothes with you. The best months to head out there are January through March since this period usually brings small swells which make it better for beginners.

Remember that bigger swells tend to make their way here from October through February so if the waves look especially big during this time then stay away from the water! Also keep in mind that a few riptides pop up soon after every high tide, too, so always pay attention to your surroundings and try not to stay in the water for more than a few hours at a time if your skills aren’t sky-high yet!

Whether you’re looking for a place where you can learn what you’re doing or just want to ride some serious waves, there’s an oceanfront spot for everyone in San Myshuno! It doesn’t matter if you’re a pure beginner or a seasoned pro at this stuff – we’ve got plenty of spots for both kinds of surfers and even places where water skills aren’t so important.

So get out there and try something new while warming up during wintertime in the city! Even if surfing isn’t your thing, it’s tough to deny how cool it is to see someone glide across the surface of the water on their board. Just remember that big swells won’t be showing up until around January so hold off on trying this one out until then unless you don’t mind dealing with crowded beaches!

Trestles Beach

Railroad Trestle and Beach Ocean beach railroad trestle and beach pier. treseltes beach stock pictures, royalty-free photos & images

This is another spot that’s perfect for beginners since the swells here are generally small and mild. This can be a wonderful place to work on your aquatic skills if you’re nervous about heading out to the more crowded beaches, too!

What to take on a southern California surf trip.

Make sure to pack a pair of water shoes and some sunscreen, too! The best months to head out here are January through March since this period usually brings small swells which make it better for beginners.

Also keep in mind that a few riptides pop up soon after every high tide, so always pay attention to your surroundings and try not to stay in the water for more than a few hours at a time if your skills aren’t sky-high yet!

A great beginner wave with an epic backdrop – just remember the currents at La Jolla Cove can be pretty dangerous so don’t forget to bring lots of warm clothes if you plan on staying out there for a long time! Also, keep in mind that bigger swells tend to show up here between October through February so you’ll have to worry about big waves if you come out here during this time.

Boards:

You can use practically anything you want to surf with here since these waves are generally small and mild. If you’re worried about having enough balance then we’d definitely recommend bringing out your longboard if you have one. Here are a few we recommend

Wavestorm 8′ Surfboard, Sunburst Graphic

Driftsun Throwdown T2 Wakesurf Board

Where to stay when surfing in San Diego:

Surf camp lodgings in San Diego have to be the most picturesque and idyllic of any in the world. The cottages at Swami’s, Seadrift, and Tramonto are all a minute hike from the best surf in California. If you’re not here for a full-on surf camp, or just want a change of scenery, there’s plenty of other options available through Airbnb, VRBO, Home Away, even Craigslist. They offer everything from ocean view rooms with full kitchens to shared rooms less than 10 minutes away on bicycle via the beach bike path. You can rent motorcycles or scooters too if you don’t feel like peddling around this hilly little town.

If you’re looking for a great condo with an ocean view then we’d suggest checking something out at the Beach Club Resort. This spot is directly on the beach and has a large outdoor pool, a spa, and a gym – not to mention being within walking distance of Mission Beach, too!

Belmont Park is right nearby so if you have some spare time after catching some waves then be sure to check it out! It’s full of arcade games, rides, shops, and more which can make for a fun afternoon adventure.

If you don’t want to stay overnight but still want to visit this area from time to time then we’d recommend heading over early in the morning or around sunset since these times tend to be calmer during the day.

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