Written by: Nina Thornton
Uppers, Lowers, Middles, and Churches. To those who are not familiar with surf spots in Orange County, these names might not mean much, but seasoned surfers know they are the best places to catch a wave. With 42 miles of coastline, there are plenty of beaches to choose from in Orange County, but a select few are sure to become a favorite the next time you paddle out. Here are the top surf spots in Orange County.
Located at the southern tip of Orange County, Trestles is home to some of the best surf spots around. Upper, Lower, and Middle Trestles are frequently visited by experienced surfers who enjoy hollow, powerful waves. With its world-class wave quality, Lower Trestles (Lowers) holds a professional surfing contest every year along with NSSA (National Scholastic Surfing Association) Nationals. As a local favorite, Trestles can be a little crowded, but if you are courteous and respectful to other surfers, you will definitely enjoy your time on these waves.
Just south of the San Clemente Pier, T-Street is friendly to surfers of all levels. T-Street gets its name from a “T” shaped pedestrian overpass that allows foot traffic to safely cross the railroad tracks. The San Clemente High School Surf Team is no stranger to T-Street, as they practice there during winter months to maintain their position as one of the best high school surf teams in the nation. Because surfing is so popular here, T-Street is “blackballed” between the hours of 9 AM and 6 PM in the summer, meaning only swimming and boogie boarding is allowed at that time. T-Street’s distant reef produces a consistent frequency that is enjoyable for all levels of surfing.
Located in Dana Point, Doheny Beach offers great surfing at its northern end. Doheny is the prime spot for beginner surfers or for those who are looking to catch a less powerful wave. This surf spot is best for longboarding and promises to give some of the longest rides in Orange County.
Laguna Beach, Brooks Street
One of the biggest breaks in Laguna Beach, Brooks Street is a local favorite. South swells attract many experienced surfers and provide long, powerful waves that start breaking out at the reef. Low tides can expose sharp rocks and surfers should use caution when paddling out and know how to surf a rocky bottom. Brooks Street is home to the oldest surf contest in the world. The Brooks Street Surfing Classic was started in 1955 and holds the title of the world’s longest running surf contest.
Located at the east end of the Balboa Peninsula, The Wedge is a local favorite for surfing, skimboarding, bodyboarding, and bodysurfing. The wedge-shaped waves are a result of the rock jetty that lies on the west side of Newport Harbor. The hollow, fast waves can be very large and unpredictable, even for experienced surfers. Waves reflected off the jetty meet up with incoming waves, making them several feet larger than those in surrounding surf areas. The Wedge is blackballed between the hours of 10 AM and 5 PM from May through October, making it a bodyboarding hotspot during summer months.
Newport Beach, 56th Street
One of the most popular surf spots in Newport Beach, 56th Street is great for pro and amateur surfers alike. Stable wave sections and line-ups add to the overall quality of the surf spot. Hollow waves and a sandy bottom make 56th Street one of the best spots in Newport to catch a wave when surf conditions are good.
Huntington Beach Pier
One of the world’s most iconic surf spots, Huntington Beach offers miles of beach break waves. Located at PCH and Main St, the Huntington Beach Pier area is a classic every surfer should experience. Known as “Surf City, ” Huntington Beach annually holds one of the largest surf competitions in the world, the U.S. Open of Surfing, on the south side of the pier. From beginner surfers, to experienced professionals, Huntington Beach Pier is a favorite spot among Orange County surfers.
surf in orange county
surfing in orange county