Summer, Surf

Five Great Surf Breaks in Southern California

Five Great Surf Breaks in Southern California

1) Huntington Beach, Orange County, CA

Huntington Beach, aka Surf City USA, is definitely a break to keep your eye on if you are looking for good waves in Southern California. The South side of the pier has become the home of the annual US Surfing Open Competition where pro’s from around the world gather to compete. You’re in for a treat if there is a west southwest swell, which occasionally produces overhead waves or higher at this break.


2) Rincon Point, Santa Barbara, CA

Rincon Point consists of three breaks along a naturally occurring break point along Santa Barbara. The three breaks are dubbed The Cove, Indicator, and Rivermouth. The Indicator is on the outside tip of the point so it picks up waves from most swells. However, the waves here are not always smooth, the wind is known to produce some chop. The Rivermouth break is located at the start of Rincon Creek. Rivermouth can be slightly mushy and features a lot of close outs but a good swell can make the spot a pleasure to ride. Finally, The Cove. This is where you will find the best waves. Ideal conditions for big waves are a Westward swell. Under less than ideal conditions the break frequently offers knee to waist high waves that are great for longboarding.

3) Cardiff Reef, Encinitas, CA

One of the most popular surf breaks in San Diego County, Cardiff Reef, consistently produces great waves for any board and any rider. Since the flat rock reef powers the break, the waves become more powerful further out than many of the California shore breaks, like the Wedge. A swim out to this area will certainly make for a better day.

4) Old Man’s, San Onofre, CA

Old Man’s at San Onofre is a classic California surf break. This location produces long rolling waves perfect for long boards. Easy to access off the 5 freeway just south of San Clemente, San Onofre state beach becomes crowded, especially on weekends during Summer. Get there early or expect to spend some time in line when you visit. Once your in the water, there is plenty of surf for everyone. While most riders here will prefer a long board, this beach plays host to a diverse variety of surfers from all walks of life who are there for the same reason; to catch some tasty waves and a cool buzz. The best conditions at Old Man’s is consistent with most of Southern California: a Southwest swell with offshore winds.

5) Trestles, San Clemente, California

Before California got Kelly Slater’s Surf Ranch, Lower Trestles was the only stop on the World Surf League’s professional tour in the continental United States. Access isn’t as easy, Trestles requires you to park next to a Carl’s Jr. in a small lot, walk over a bridge, and hike down to the beach. But, the hike is definitely worth it and many people bring bikes or skateboards to get to the water a little faster. Uppers and Middles at Trestles are more welcoming and less crowded than the Lowers, but the Lowers break produces better quality waves with a South or Southwest swell. The spot can get crowded but this is the same spot that Kolohe Andino and Griffin Colapinto were surfing on long before their WSL tours began. A must for any Cali surfer.

What surf spots will you visit during your surf trip? Be sure to check out surfboards for rent on Gearo and take the stress out of finding the right deal in the right location.

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Disclaimer: Gearo is not liable for any animosity you face from California locals. Get pitted, but not at the expense of others. 

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