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San Diego, California
Oceano Pacifico

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San Diego County Surfing, Surf Spot LIST

La Jolla Area:

BLACK'S: By far the best beachbreak in San Diego County, maybe even all of Southern California. Luck into Black's during a solid W or NW swell with offshore winds & you'll swear you're surfing a coldwater Indonesia. A deepwater canyon attracts & magnifies waves into their true potential. Black's consists of a variety of peaks which offer both high performance surfing & run-for-your-life conditions. The fact that it requires a time commitment with an exhausting hike down the cliff keeps the militant crowds down… a little. Best Season: Winter. Swell Direction: W, NW, SW. Size: 2'-12'. Tide: Low - Medium. Wind: E. Bottom: Sand. Rating: Advanced. Daily Surf Report

LA JOLLA SHORES. SCRIPPS:User-friendliness is the key to Scripps' popularity. Scripps' prime location makes it a favorite among surfers of all ability levels. The wave itself is your basic, beachbreak mix; but, when the factors come together it can get surprisingly good. Drag your feet when wading in as more than one stingray lurks beneath. Lots of bodyboards in the parking lot area, & many of them are tourists on the crowded beach all summer. Best Season: Fall, Winter. Swell Direction: W, NW. Size: 2'-6'. Tide: Medium. Wind: E, SE. Bottom: Sand. Rating: Intermediate. Daily Surf Report. Webcam

LA JOLLA COVE:The sleeping giant. La Jolla Cove only breaks a handful of times each year, but when it does it is a sight to behold. Monstrous winter swells emerge from deep water and descend unmercifully along the jagged reef. At the proper size it becomes a long, lined up left with a big wave board being absolutely necessary. Unless you are comfortable in big waves, leave this behemoth alone. Best Season: Winter. Swell Direction: W, NW. Size: 10'+. Tide: Low. Wind: E. Bottom: Rock. Rating: Expert

HOSPITALS:A right point break that comes to life in winter W & NW swells. Rating: Advanced

A genetic wave mutation located just north of Marine Street. Waves here wrap considerably around a horseshoe shaped reef, hence the name. The lefts have the tendency to be extremely hollow & shallow. The rights can turn on themselves but most people stick to the lefts. Be careful out there, the drop, the ride, & the exit can be tricky. Advanced

MARINE STREET. YAKS: Bodyboard Central. A hideous shorebreak teeming with bodyboarders & bodysurfers looking for punishment. Dangerous rip-currents & conditions abound. Advanced

ROCKPILE:On the biggest swells Rockpile emerges from the depths as a Sunset-style wave with a horrific shorepound. Make sure if you surf here you've got a big board and the ability to paddle fast. Expert only.

SIMMON'S REEF:Windansea's big brother. During extremely large W & NW swells Simmon's turns on seemingly out of nowhere. Only breaks when the swell is huge. Expert.

WINDANSEA:Located _ mile north of Big Rock, Windansea is safe alternative to its neighbor's death-defying barrels. Windansea breaks best on a low to medium tide & no wind. A predictable left & right peak that breaks further out as the swell increases. Windansea is a moody wave often overrun with locals. Best Season: All Year. Swell Direction: W, NW, SW. Size: 3'-8'. Tide: Low - Medium. Wind: E. Bottom: Rock, Sand. Rating: Advanced. Daily Surf Report

BIG ROCK: A fierce, grinding left-hand reef with wide-open barrels. Pound for pound, Big Rock is one of the heaviest waves in California. An aggressive crowd, ridiculously small take-off zone & treacherous reef below make Big Rock a force to be reckoned with. Surf only at a medium to high tide unless you like tearing your skegs off. Best Season: Winter. Swell Direction: W, NW, SW. Size: 3'-8'. Tide: Medium - High Only. Wind: E. Bottom: Rock, Sand. Rating: Expert

NORTH BIRD ROCK: Located straight out from Bird Rock Ave, North Bird Rock is a fickle reef that only breaks in the biggest swells. More of a novelty wave than anything else, take out a larger board and practice your cutbacks. Entry & exit from the water can be hazardous, use caution. Rating: Advanced

SOUTH BIRD ROCK: Just south of Bird Rock Ave., this is the first recognized reef break in the La Jolla area. Works well in a variety of swell directions. It's primarily a long, right-point style wave with a shorter but equally entertaining left. Entry and exit from the water can be hazardous, use caution. Rating: Advanced

SEWERLINE: Access from Calumet Beach Park. Lines up with old sewer pipe. Lefts & rights in N, NW & W swells. Best at 4' - 6'. Rating: Intermediate

CINDY'S: Access from Calumet Beach Park. Inconsistent right, best at 3' - 5'. Mushy, but gets good on W swell. Left closes out.

HANNAMONDS (ROCKPILE): Access from Calumet Beach Park. Long left inside bowl. Shifty peak at 4' - 6' on W & NW swell. Intermediate.

HAIRMOS: Access from Tourmaline Surfing Park. Double left peak just North of PB Point. Zipper inside left. Intermediate plus.

PB POINT (PACIFIC BEACH POINT): Access from Tourmaline Surfing Park or beach access steps. Long, clean right is crowded with longboarders. Intermediate.

TOURMALINE: An assortment of soft beachbreak waves coupled with a mellow right-hand point. In general the waves here are perfect for beginners & are often clogged with longboards.

PB to Point Loma:

PACIFIC BEACH:Scattered beachbreak waves surrounding Crystal Pier, similar to Mission Beach. Rating: Intermediate. Daily Surf Report. Webcam

MISSION BEACH: One of the most consistent spots in San Diego. Mission Beach is a constantly evolving mix of sand, swell, tides, & wind which can yield incredible waves when it all comes together.

The SOUTH MISSION JETTYis known for a predictable left with adequate shape & a steep wall. This wave is crowded during even the slightest hint of swell. Overall, your best bet for surfing in Mission Beach is to search around for a spot that seems to have an established sandbar or maybe even a good reform. Plenty of public parking means big crowds in the summer. Best Season: Fall, Spring. Swell Direction: W, NW, SW. Size: 2'-6'. Tide: Medium. Wind: E. Bottom: Sand. Daily Surf Report

OCEAN BEACH: Ocean Beach consists of three distinct areas to surf:
AVALANCHE: A consistent, left that breaks in front of a small jetty. Works best on west swells but can handle almost any swell direction.
BIG JETTY: A hollow right breaking off the southern jetty of Mission Bay. Depending on the swell & tide it can transform into a rippable right-hander allowing for multiple maneuvers. The only drawback here is a tight take-off zone and sewage spills from the San Diego River.
OCEAN BEACH PIER: Mediocre peaks scattered on both sides of the pier. Works best on a lower to medium tide and no wind. On the north side of the pier during a solid W, NW swell a workable right will peel into the pier. Best Season: Fall, Winter. Swell Direction: W, NW. Size: 3'-6'. Tide: Low-Medium. Wind: E. Bottom: Sand. Rating: Intermediate. Daily Surf Report

NAZARENE COLLEGE: Located at end of Sunset Cliffs Dr. via steep trail down to shore. Beach appears only at low tide. Lefts and rights dampened by kelp beds offshore. Rating: Advanced

SUNSET CLIFFS:Sunset Cliffs mainly produces waves during the fall & winter when NW ground swells erupt over its various reefs. Find the right reef at a low-medium tide & chances are you'll score some surprisingly powerful waves doing their impersonation of a point. A thick kelp bed outside makes it the ideal place to surf when other beaches are blown to shreds. Best Season: Fall, Winter. Swell Direction: W, NW. Size: 4'-8'. Tide: Low-Medium. Wind: E. Bottom: Rock. Rating: Advanced. Daily Surf Report

GARBAGE BEACH: Located just before Navy Base Gate. NORTH GARBAGE is entered via broken steps. It's split peaks are best for rights. Handles knee-high to double-overhead.

SOUTH GARBAGEhas a dangerous entry at high tide, but handles all westerlies to 12'+. Advanced.

POINT LOMA: Home to numerous breaks & reefs this unique area is occupied by a multitude of finicky waves. During large swells Point Loma can turn on in the blink of an eye. The real challenge is traversing the cliffs and steep terrain to get down to the beach. Be prepared, long, arduous paddle-outs are the norm. Some of the best spots here such as RALPH'S, are only available with boat access. Intermediate

CORONADO ISLAND: Very fickle beachbreak. Large, hurricane driven swells
produce a rare left off the point. It's a right place at the right time type of wave.
Rating: Intermediate

SILVER STRAND STATE BEACH:Summer & Fall peaks come to life over sandbars when
the S & SW swells kick up, otherwise it takes a direct W hit to produce the possibility of a
nice A-frame. Almost guaranteed to be uncrowded over this extremely long stretch of beach. Rating: Intermediate

IMPERIAL BEACH:Imperial Beach is the uncrowded alternative to other spots throughout
San Diego County. Sporadic sandbars transform this stretch of coast into hollow, A-Frame peaks in the right conditions. It can handle any direction of swell but really shines during a solid, SW groundswell. Best Season: Summer. Swell Direction: SWSize: 4'-6'. Tide: Medium. Wind: E. Bottom: Sand. Rating: Intermediate. Daily Surf Report

TIJUANA SLOUGHS:Located right above the border, this board-snapping beachbreak
has unlimited potential for satisfying surf, but the bacteria-infested water keeps most
people away. Rating: Advanced

Side 2 shows Franko's Map of San Diego North County Surfing, with descriptions of the surf breaks from Trestles and San Onofre all the way down to Torrey Pines. San Diego County owns some of the best surf breaks on earth, and Trestles may be number one. Swami's is also very notable, as is Oceanside, Grandview, Cardiff, Del Mar and many more. Trestles is shown in detail, along with Cottons, Churches and San Onofre in a little inset map. A San Diego Season Overview describing the nature of San Diego surfing through the four seasons is included. Also a few noteworthy photos of surfers, including the best looking surfer you'll ever see are on the map as well.

Side two captions are as follows:


COTTON'S: Located just north of the Trestles beach trail. During S & SW swells at head high+, Cotton's is one of the best kept secrets on the coast. It used to be popular with the big name surfers in the 60's. Cottons' left point break and long left walls are great for longboards, but usually go unmolested. Summer sea breezes can blow Cotton's out, so it should be ridden in the morning. The bottom is sand & rock.

UPPER TRESTLES: Uppers is a rock reef with three take-offs. Most surfers like the long right off the point, but there are still two other peaks that hold their own even when it's small. Before paddling out, weigh the options - you won't be disappointed. Heavy crowds, but they're peaceful. Best in summer S & SW swells. Rock & sand bottom.

LOWER TRESTLES: One of the most high performance waves in the world. Trestles lives up to the hype. Solid S & SW groundswells transform the rock strew point into every surfer's dream wave, with 100-yard rights shooting down the line begging for punishment. Even when the swell isn't raging Lowers still offers lengthy rights & punchy lefts, suited for multiple tail-sliding hits off the top. If you comfortable surfing in a crowd, & don't mind the long walk to the beach, this is the place.

CHURCHES: Long right point broken into several take-offs. Rare giant NW swells can connect the sections for an amazing, long ride. Churches is loaded with zealous longboarders.

MIDDLES: Uncrowded longboarder right & left waves. This break likes W swells best.

SAN ONOFRE: Actually in San Diego County. Great camping & hang out spot for wave hungry travelers. San Onofre offers THE POINT, OLD MAN'S, DOG PATCH, NUKES, & SIRENS. The Point is a good right break, popular with the older guys. Old Man's is a longboarder spot, which breaks way out & then reforms to break again inside. Dog Patch is just S of Old Man's and is mushy beginner surf. Nukes is a break over the ocean water coolant pipes to the nuclear power plant. Sirens is just S of Nukes & offers fun peaks & clean sections. It's always crowded so don't expect to surf by yourself.


Winter: Winter in San Diego means water temperatures in the mid-high 50's and consistent northwest groundswell. Most of the breaks throughout the county come to life during the Winter and not surprisingly some of these breaks can become rather crowded. However, with such an abundance of decent days and ever-changing conditions there are always a few playful waves to be found.

Spring: The northwest groundswell factory slowly grinds to a halt during the Spring. The steady, long period swells of winter are replaced by moody, localized wind-driven swells. The stubborn South Pacific might send a few southwest swells to tempt the masses; but, the predominantly northwest facing beaches make their arrival a hit or miss proposition. Water temperatures change almost daily between tolerable and intolerable as occasional fierce onshore winds produce upwelling. Overall, anything is possible.

Summer: The best option for any surfer during the Summer is to surf as early as possible. Summertime in San Diego is notorious for crowds, on the beach and in the water. South swells usually miss this stretch of the coast, but a big enough southwest will light up a fair share of spots, especially around the La Jolla area. In general, the water can get warm enough to trunk it but the afternoon wind usually calls for a springsuit.

Fall: If you could choose the ideal time to surf in San Diego you would have to pick the Fall. Early season northwest groundswells originating in the North Pacific begin their monotonous assault on this region. Mixed with a few late season southwest swells and the possibility of slack winds or offshore conditions, you have the recipe for epic conditions. The water has started to chill down but the quality and abundance of good surf overshadows the cold.


CAMP PENDLETON: Unless you have a valid military I.D. you won't be able to access
this 15 mile stretch of pristine coastline. Marines routinely practice exercises &
procedures on the beaches & in the water here. Increased security measures equate
to zero possibility for access.

DEL MAR JETTY (DMJ's): Military access only. DMJ's, as it's more commonly known,
is a thumping beachbreak located directly north of Oceanside Harbor's north jetty. A S. SW swell magnet, DMJ's can groom large swells and early morning conditions into some of the most powerful barrels along the coast. Tight security at Camp Pendleton means less surfers in the water. If you can get in you're stoked. Advanced.

OCEANSIDE consists of four main sections:

OCEANSIDE HARBOR: Consistent beachbreak waves in between two jetties. Easy access
and above average wave quality makes it a popular choice among surfers from the south.
Good all year round. Best Season: All Year. Direction: All Directions. Size 2'-8'. Tide: Medium. Wind: E. Bottom: Sand. Rating: Intermediate. Daily Surf Report. Webcam
OCEANSIDE PIER: Hollow, beachbreak waves heavily dependent on wind and tide.
Breaks best on a solid southwest swell.
OCEANSIDE BOULEVARD: Hollow beachbreak with semi-consistent sandbar formations.
Attracts swell from a variety of directions and produces some of the best waves in
Northern San Diego County. Intermediate plus.
OCEANSIDE STREET BEACHES: Variety of beachbreaks in shifting sandbars. Lots of
surfers and bodyboarders find excellent waves marching in from the S, SW & the W.

CARLSBAD STREET BEACHES: Uncrowded is the word, but keep it a secret. This is
where to go when your favorite spot its too crowded, but it blows out in the p.m.

: Climb down the bluff at the parking lot south of Elm
Ave. for a shifting sandbar multibreak that is seldom crowded.

FRAZEE BEACH: A handy walking path leads to this bodyboarding family fun center.

TAMARACK AVE: The first real break in San Diego County that prefers a south swell,
Tamarack Ave is a rapidly changing mix of sandbars and peaks. If the swell is under six
feet Tamarack can be a good option, especially with a medium tide and zero wind. Int.

WARM WATER JETTY: Located in Carlsbad State Beach in front of the huge Encina
power plant, it has scattered beachbreaks with shifting sandbars. Intermediate.

PONTO: An occasional good beachbreak breaking next to a set of jetties. It is located where Batiquitos Lagoon meets the ocean. Intermediate.

Constantly changing mixtures of rock & sand
are the ingredients to surfing in Leucadia. The most recognized spot is BEACONS offering two main peaks & a rare, "aloha" atmosphere. Leucadia is far north enough to be exposed to all swell directions but like most other spots in San Diego County a northwest hits here better. Offshore kelp beds help keep it glassy long after other spots are blown out. Best Season: Winter. Direction: W, NW. Size 2'-8'. Tide: Low - Medium. Wind: E. Bottom: Reef, Sand. Intermediate.

ENCINITAS BEACH: Located at the County Park. This is a shifty beachbreak, with
rights and lefts, but it has a reef style. Intermediate.

MOONLIGHT STATE BEACH: Moonlight features more hanging out and partying than surf. It is a typical sandy beach break. Intermediate.

D STREET: A wave magnet. Rippable beachbreak with occasional sections to bash. Intermediate.

SWAMI'S: Swami's is a spectacular right reef point with unlimited possibilities. Unfortunately, because of its high quality it is arguably the most crowded break in San Diego County as well. It's a somewhat localized spot so don't expect to paddle out and grab the set of the day. Be patient and look for the insiders, which line up and race along the edge of a beautiful rock reef, and you'll still leave with a smile on your face. Capable of handling any size, Swami's is the place to go when it gets huge & unruly everywhere else. Best Season: Winter. Swell Direction: West, Northwest. Size 2'-12'. Tide: Low - Medium. Wind: None, East. Bottom: Reef. Rating: Advanced. Daily Surf Report. Webcam

CARDIFF CAMPGROUND: The campground area features at least a half-dozen great
little reef breaks. Not as spectacular as Swami's, but to beat the crowds a bit & still
get your surfing fix, try (from North to South), DABBER, BROWN HOUSE, PIPES,
TRAPS, TURTLES, BARNY'S, 85's, & TIPPERS. Spend the night. Rating: Int. to Adv.

: Scattered reefs and unpredictable line-ups occupy this stretch of coast. It is possible to score an isolated peak if you're lucky. At the north end of the beach is a popular spot named "Pipes" PIPES is a consistent left breaking over a somewhat shallow slab of rock reef. Surfers of all genres can be seen hassling for lefts, especially on the weekends. Intermediate.

SUCKOUTS: Fifty yards north of Cardiff is another peak called Suckouts. The name says
it all as "Suckouts" is a dredging barrel which prefers a lower tide. Whether you decide
to go left or right you're bound to catch a few good ones. Advanced.

CARDIFF: A long, right point breaking over a flat rock ledge. On an average day the wave
is slow and mushy but it's still fun to squeeze in a few turns. When the swell is pushing
five feet or more Cardiff can rifle down the line and offer an exhilarating ride. Cardiff
is easily accessible with parking right on the beach, predictably, it is one of the most
crowded breaks around. Best Season: Fall, Winter . Swell Direction: W, NW. Size 2'-8'.
Tide: Low. Wind: None, E. Bottom: Reef. Rating: Advanced. Daily Surf Report

EVAN'S: Decent, little-known left beachbreak. Rating: Intermediate

GEORGE'S: Decent beachbreak located directly north of Seaside Reef. Rating: Intermediate

SEASIDE REEF: A very popular destination for many local surfers. The wave itself is
predominantly a left which, given enough size and a low tide can spit out gaping barrels
over its shallow, rock reef. The right is a viable option but it really doesn't have the
same juice as the left. On smaller days check the inside reform which can be a fun option.
Best Season: Fall, Spring. Swell Direction: West, Northwest. Size 2'-6'. Tide: Low. Wind:
East. Bottom: Reef & Sand. Rating: Intermediate

PALLIES: At the south end of Solana Beach Park, Pallies is a fun left, but the constant
southerly current makes you work for it.

TABLETOPS: Located just south of Seaside Reef, Tabletops offers a reef break set-up
with reform possibilities. With the right tide and swell the reef juts from the bottom
to form a quick barrel and performance-oriented shoulder. It breaks pretty far out so
be prepared to do some serious paddling. Advanced.

SOLANA BEACH. PILLBOX: Ordinary beachbreak with an extraordinary beach.

DEL MAR RIVERMOUTH: Shifty beachbreak on a contantly evolving mix of sand, tide
& current. Intermediate.

DEL MAR: 15th Street in Del Mar has an isolated reef that attracts a lot of surfers,
especially on the weekends. The left races along the edge of the reef allowing for multiple
turns down the line while the right tends to back off and mush out. If you're not
interested in hassling with the crowd both north and south of 15th offers nice beachbreak
waves with sparse crowds. Even though these areas have a knack for closing out, if you
search hard enough you're bound to discover something rideable. Best Season: All year. Swell Direction: W, NW, SW. Size: 3'-6'. Tide: Any Tide. Wind: None, E. Bottom: Rock and. or Sand. Rating: Intermediate

TORREY PINES: Average beachbreak, tide sensitive. Long beach has many possibilities, small crowds & fabulous scenery. Intermediate



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