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Where should I surf?

Man surfing on wave

Living in coastal Southern California has its perks. We have become accustomed to sunny skies, warm weather, and endless beaches. We are are within a small distance of world famous attractions, sporting and concert venues, and world class shopping. But the real gold at the end of this double rainbow is surfing... After all, it is our state sport! Sure, there are a ton of well known surf spots outside orange county that get good swells during certain seasons, but, the average person probably does not account for the large swell window that we have that is open to all swell directions. This means that if a storm is brewing off the coast, there is a surf break somewhere within a short drive that we can count on for a fun session. When it comes to swells, we are an equal opportunity land.

Lets start with the different types of breaks in our home, orange county:

Orange County, California has a really diverse wave type that pretty much covers the whole spectrum in regards to surfable waves. We have the smaller beginner type waves that are easy to catch and easy to ride to the fast and steep waves that boast world class surf including, many professional surfing events.


Bolsa Chica State Beach, Huntington Beach, Ca

On the north end of Orange county you have world famous surf spots like our hometown Huntington Beach, Surf City USA (Sorry Santa Cruz... just going with the flow over here). Bolsa Chica State Beach is an all around surfable beach break that can hold ankle slappers to surf that is well overhead. Being a California State Beach, it is well maintained, with generally clean restrooms, and tons of parking year round.

Swell direction: all

Surf Height: 2-3' for beginners (holds 2x overhead)

Bottom: sandy

Board types: Longboard, shortboard, hybrids, SUP

Experience Level: All skill levels - great beginner spot

Blackies, Newport Beach, Ca

Located on the Newport Peninsula, Blackies is one of the most versatile waves in Orange county. Where else can you Longboard 1-2' ankle slappers one day, and head-high+ barrels the next day. Typically, we are looking at about a waist high rolling wave with a pretty gradual bottom that gives any surfer a long maneuverable face to work with. Keep an eye out, you may see some of the top longboarders in the world surfing here on any given day.

Swell direction: W and W combinations

Surf Height: 2-3' for beginners (holds 2x overhead)

Bottom: sandy

Board types: Longboard, shortboard, hybrids,

Experience Level: Beginner - advanced depending on swell

The Wedge, Newport Beach, Ca

What can be said about the dirty ol' wedge beside, that you'll probably have to pass. This wave is one of the most interesting, entertaining, and dangerous waves in California. The wedge is located at the S. end of the peninsula, right at the Newport harbor entrance. As large south swell make their way towards shore, the immense power of the swell goes from deep to shallow water very quickly creating a wedge that breaks just 15-30 yards off shore. From a spectators perspective, you can feel the ground rumble beneath you while watching person after person make (or not make) a 20'+ drop to chest deep water. Beware, people get seriously hurt, paralyzed, or have lost their lives here, so don't be that guy. Your girl is not going to be impressed if you have to get rescued.

Swell direction: Mainly S

Surf Height: 3' - 20'+

Bottom: sandy

Board types: Bodysurfing, body boarding, advanced+ surfing

Experience Level: Advanced+ - seasoned pro, depending on swell

Trestles, San Clemente, Ca

Home to many professional surfers, Trestles boast a world class wave that has had its time on and off the world tour. The downside of this wave is the crowd and the walk it takes to get there. The plus side is a beautiful break that is pretty consistent and well worth waiting your turn to get on a wave. on any given day, you may be surfing next to one the best surfers in the world.

Swell direction: all

Surf Height: 2-3' for beginners (holds 2x overhead)

Bottom: Stone

Board types: Shortboard, hybrids

Experience Level: Intermediate to advanced

San Onofre, San Clemente, Ca

When it comes to surf beaches, few are more iconic in southern California than Sano Onofre . Most of us grew up surfing here, and whether we caught our first wave here, or just played on the beach, it continues to carry that nostalgic feeling generation after generation. Sano has a gentle breaking, rolling wave that is perfect for longboarding. As swells fill in , the smooth stone bottom creates a wave that breaks 100-200 yards off shore and if the tides right, will continue to smoothly drive until it crashes onto shore. This break is where the magic happens and where at least a portion of every Californians childhood is made.

Swell direction: all

Surf Height: 2-3' for beginners (holds 2x overhead)

Bottom: Cobble stone

Board types: Longboard, hybrids, SUP

Experience Level: All skill levels - great beginner spot


Well, we gave you options for your first couple sessions and you are dying to get out there! This does not necessarily mean it's a good idea to just grab a random board from your quiver or local board club and hop into any conditions. Like any good craftsman, there is a right tool for the job. Check out the blog post about picking the right board for you.

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