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Written By: Joe Laing and Victoria Ramirez California Surf Spots

As summer draws near, it is time to brush up on those surf moves. Here are our top picks on the best Southern Californian beaches to catch a wave. Along with these beaches are nearby shops where you can buy or rent surf gear and places that offer lessons. California Surf Spots

El Porto Beach, El Segundo

El Porto beach is great for surfers of all skill levels with its consistent waves and easy access. Campsurf is conveniently located near this beach and offers lessons for individuals and groups wanting to learn how to surf. Additionally, Campsurf offers stand up paddleboard lessons. El Porto Surf Shop is a one stop shop for all surfing necessities ranging from wax to boards to wetsuits.

California Surf Spots

Sunset Beach, Pacific Palisades

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If you are a beginner looking for mellow waves, Sunset Beach is for you. The waves are not large, making it a great spot for beginners to get acquainted with the basics. The vibe at this beach is friendly and laid back so you won’t encounter any surfers who are possessive of their turf. As an added bonus, the wildlife in these waters—pelicans, seal and schools of dolphins—will occasionally interact playfully with surfers.

California Surf Spots

Malibu Surfrider Beach, Malibu

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Malibu Surfrider Beach is a hotspot for surfers of all levels. It is known as one of the world’s most famous surf breaks. The waves closer to the shore are calmer and ideal for beginners. As advanced surfers go out further, they will encounter larger breakers. Malibu Surf Shack is located near the beach and offers rentals on boards, wetsuits, body boards, kayaks and paddleboards. The Malibu Surf Shack also offers lessons for kayaking and surfing.

Silver Strand State Beach, Oxnard

The waves at Silver Strand State Beach range from 4-7 feet throughout the year making it a perfect place to catch a wave. The Silver Strand Surf School is a surfing school that offers 5-day surf camps for children and teens ages 8-16. They also offer group and private lessons. Two shops near the beach are the Ventura Surf Shop and the Seaward Surf & Sport.

California Surf Spots

San Onofre State Beach, San Clemente

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As one of California’s top five most-visited state parks, San Onofre State Beach is ideal for beginning surfers. The average swell is a mellow 3-4 feet year-round. San Onofre Surf Beach, a portion within the beach dedicated to surfers, is known for its consistently gentle waves.

Bolsa Chica State Beach, Huntington Beach

Bolsa Chica State Beach, located near Huntington Beach dubbed as “Surf City, USA” is a mainstay for local and foreign surfers. The average swell height ranges from an easy 3-5 feet year-round. The beach caters to all ages offering something for everyone. Corky Carrol’s Surf School is located right in Bolsa Chica State Beach and offers lessons and camps to kids ages 6 and up.

The Wedge, Newport Beach

The Wedge is a must-surf SoCal spot with its hollow, deep waves that easily break in the sand. Although it is best known for its bodyboarding waves, surfers can still expect an excellent time. The Wedge is known to be the hot spot for the best bodysurfers because of the potential of 30 foot waves. The best time to catch these enormous waves is during the summer and fall seasons. Two places to visit for rentals and lessons are Hobie Surf Shop and the Main Street Surf Shop. Hobie Surf Shop offers a range of surfboards from longboards to mid length boards to shortboards. Main Street Surf Shop offers a variety of clothing, wetsuits and boards both for purchase and for rent.

Doheny State Beach, Dana Point

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Doheny State Beach is home to mild waves ranging from 3-4 feet high. This beach is optimal for beginning surfers looking to catch their first wave. Killer Dana Surf Shop offers amazing deals for rentals on a wide variety of surf boards. Girl in the Curl Surf Shop is notable for their surf camps and surf lessons catering to young women. They also offer surf lessons for boys at their Boy in the Barrel Surf Camp.


La Jolla Shores area

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Here you will find numerous possibilities from Sunset Cliffs just south of I-5, to Torrey Pines or Scripps, just west of University City. Your choices are numerous but for beginning surfers, Torrey Pines State Beach beckons with 1-2 foot waves and usually calm winds. Another California State Beach and park, Torrey Pines boasts a natural reserve from which you can hike a trail to the beach. For camping nearby, try Campland on the Bay on Pacific Beach Drive in San Diego. This park is right on the beach with a lot to do for everyone in the family.

Helpful Links for more Information:
For all state park beach information, see www.parks.ca.gov.
Here is a remarkable site for locating surfing spots and current conditions: www.surfline.com.