Surf’s Up In San Diego!

A quick reference guide for your San Diego surf trip.


San Diego, the so-called “finest city” in America, holds the title for a valid reason. The weather here rivals any other climate in the Northern Hemisphere, providing the perfect spot for a winter getaway, especially for surfers. What better way to enjoy a December day than with a morning surf session followed by the best Mexican food available on this side of the border? And some margaritas on the beach? Yes! Mid-day coastal temperatures during the winter typically eclipse seventy degrees, setting the table for a comfortable day of lounging in the sun. Ocean swells also tend to be much more powerful and consistent during the winter months, fostering some fun sessions at the following local spots:

1. Sunset Cliffs, Point Loma

This picturesque spot really only “goes off” in the wintertime when hit by powerful south swells. Finding a safe way to traverse down the eroding bluffs typically poses a challenge to those who aren’t familiar with the local pathways. But if you make it to the line-up without stumbling off the cliff, you will be graced with some fun waves.


2. Windansea, La Jolla

This popular reef break often harbors an ant farm of local young rippers. With a decent swell, this spot produces an exciting, steep barrel pitching both lefts and rights to indulge the advanced surfer. Hit it up within school hours on the weekday and you’ll share it only with the kids who decided to skip class at the local private school.

3. Blacks Beach, La Jolla

Blacks, famous for its status as one of the only clothing-optional beaches in California, also serves as home to some of the best waves in SoCal. A rather lengthy hike down the cliffs will drop you into the water where south swells produce fun waves almost all winter long. Powerful swells can push the wave to heights of twenty-five feet every once in a while for those of you “down” to test your relationship with Mother Ocean.


4. Del Mar

Del Mar remains probably the most versatile beach in San Diego, with access to both the reef breaks along the cliffs and the beach breaks situated between 16th Street and the Del Mar Rivermouth. Make sure to check out both before paddling out, as the tide tends to play a significant role in the outcome of the waves here.

5. Boneyard, Solana Beach

Fifteen minutes north of Del Mar sits Boneyard, an aptly named point break marking the border between Solana Beach and Encinitas. With a decent swell, pitching waves form nearly perfect rights curling around the point here. With easy access and parking available, this spot typically houses quite the crowd, so be prepared to battle for position with the masses on the sets.

Disclaimer: Keep in mind that although all of the following places are technically public beaches, locals take pride in their home spots. Local-ist vibes are stronger in some places than others, but as long as you show due respect to the ocean and fellow surfers, you should be able to enjoy the waves unscathed. Additionally, most of these spots cater to intermediate or advanced surfers who know their way around the water and come knowledgeable in typical surfing etiquette.

Louis Alcorn

As a San Diego native, Louis lives by his ultimate travel tip: take a minute in each place you visit to collect your thoughts and write them down. They tend to be invaluable when you look back in the future.

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