YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

Where to Get Your Feet Wet Learning to Surf


Between Black's Beach on the south and Trestles Beach on the north, the shores of North County provide plentiful, diverse surf--from the crisp, clean tubes of Oceanside's sandy beach breaks, to the long, drawn-out walls of the rocky reef break at Swami's in Encinitas.

Spots like Black's, Swami's and Trestles are good places to go and watch surfing, but because of the crowds, and the strength of the waves and the currents, they are not good places to learn.

When learning to surf, look for a sandy beach with gently rolling breakers.

La Jolla Shores is an excellent place to learn, as are the beach breaks in Del Mar at 26th, 27th, 29th and 15th streets.

In Encinitas, one can get down to the beach at Beacon's or Stone Steps, then walk to the north or south to escape most of the crowds.

In Solana Beach, there are suitable beaches for beginners at Seascape Surf Beach Park and Del Mar Shores, and in Cardiff, San Elijo State Beach (Pipes) and Cardiff State Beach (Cardiff Reef) are highly recommended.

The long stretch of beach between Leucadia and South Carlsbad State Beach (called State Park or The Campgrounds) is known as Ponto, and is ideal for the novice, provided the swell is not running high.

Carlsbad's seawall begins at Tamarack Beach, and though it's usually quite crowded there, one can walk north to relatively unpopulated spots at the base of Juniper, Cherry, Acacia or Walnut streets.

On the right swell, North County seems to have a great surf spot every 100 yards or so, and Oceanside almost always has some rideable surf. The Pier and the Harbor offer some of the best surf, but are usually packed with experienced surfers.

Los Angeles Times Articles