A Local’s Guide To Surf Spots San Diego
I moved to San Diego to learn to surf, so it’s no wonder ocean playtime is top on my list! Here are some of my favorite surf spots in San Diego up and down the coast! Grab a board and paddle out!
Tourmaline Surf Park
- I live a block from Tourmo (as us locals call it) so it’s almost always where I paddle out. (Pictured above.) The waves are perfect for longboarding, and it’s a beach break, so no reefs to fear. Know that the beach can get incredibly rocky at times (due to varying swell and earth rotation, all that scientific-y stuff), so be prepared to hobble over some rocks to get in the water. Personally, I wear wetsuit booties to make walking on the rocks less painful. Plus, my feet stay warmer in the water! The parking lot at the bottom of the steep hill is safe and easily accessible. Depending on the day, I’ll either surf just to the right of Tourmo, straight in front, or a bit to the left (what is called “Pumphouse” because of the old water pumphouse on the beach).
- Way less crowded than Tourmaline, Beacon’s is a nice longboarding beach break. Park in the Leucadia neighborhood and walk your board carefully down the long wooden stairwell to the beach. To wash off the sand and salt, walk a 1/4 mile north to the winding stairwell with a fresh-water shower head. You’re welcome for including this is a Surf Spots in San Diego list!
- For those loving the naked life, Black’s Beach is a must; it’s the only clothing optional beach in San Diego. Park at the Torrey Pines Gliderport which, depending on the time of day, may or may not be crowded, and then carefully walk your board down the steep path to the beach.
- A hippie beach town, OB is a fun beach break, especially north of the pier with both lefts and rights. Ride some waves, and then play a couple games of beach volleyball and/or hang out on dog beach where furry friends run rampant.
- A few miles south of Ocean Beach, up along the rocky shore, Sunset Cliffs offers a more risky surfing experience. I have never personally surfed this spot because I fear tripping and hurting my longboard. However I have taken photographs on the long staircase leading from the lookout spot to the rocky shoreline and watched others surf there. Be super mindful of the tide and where you step while getting in and out of the water! People love these breaks, so don’t follow my lead on this one!
15th Street, Del Mar
- Just off the main drag in Del Mar, the break is also a great spot if you’ve got non-sand lovers in tow, because a grassy area for picnics and playtime overlooks the beach. Expect there to be many children playing in the water, so be ready to dodge them to avoid collisions.