surifng san diego

I’m going to be in San Diego this upcoming weekend and Halloween weekend (I’ll be in LA during the week). I’m visiting some family & friends out there. I’m from Miami and I’ve never surfed waves bigger than barely chest high. I surfed Huntington and Redondo beach 2 years ago but never San Diego. I’m looking for some slow easy breaks with a sandy bottom so I don’t kill myself out there!!! I also need to rent a board(7’6" funshape) out there and maybe a full suit (I don’t know if my spring suit 3/2 and 2mm booties are good enough). Can you guys give me some info on where to surf and a good shop to get rent equipment. I checked out a store called cheap rentals online and it looks pretty good. I just don’t want to rent one of those foam boards!! I’d really appreciate the help!!

your 3/2 should be fine. la jolla shores is an all around place to surf, but there could be places that are closer to where you’re staying. what part of sd are you going to be in?

Pacific Beach – Tourmiline – small. mellow. lots of beginners. Rent at Mitch’s on Pearl St in La Jolla – $21 a day for board, wetsuit and roof racks – nice selection of boards too. Have fun.

thanks gemstone and I’ll be near USD by oldtown. Any other spots?

Sylvia, I have extra boards if you want to borrow one, plus if you want I can take you around to some breaks? Check out my website and email me if you want to go Mark Scott

I know a little about surfing San Diego. Please don’t go to La Jolla shores. It’s a closeout and will give you a bad first impression of San Diego. My suggestion is that if there is a south swell running, however small, go to San Onofre, but with a slightly bigger board. Perhaps eight foot, rounded nose-type board. San Onofre is a really fun wave, with all skill levels. Last time I surfed there (about a month ago) there were kids, grandmas, a couple little white sharks (supposedly) and Colin McPhillips, three time longboard champion. Here’s my list of fun waves with mellow people that might just be the ticket for you: Terra Mar Cove in Carlsbad. Oceanside Pier in Oceanside Cardiff Reef (but stay on the south peak, away from the surfers who are ripping Grandview in Leucadia Moonlight Beach in Encinitas (if it isn’t closing out). Boneyards (300 yards north of Swamis) in Encinitas Tamarack in Carlsbad (it’s full of kooks like myself who think they are really good. Mellow vibe. My home spot. If you want to get together and surf, without the worry of getting hit on, email me: ) La Jolla Cove (okay, it’s a stretch, but there are times when it’s head high and nobody is out. Don’t surf it alone and watch out for the rocks. For some reason I really like it) That’s all I really know for easy, mellow waves. If you are looking for isolation, it’s easy to find in North County San Diego. The waves might not be the best, but from South Del Mar through Oceanside, you can find a peak to yourself if you are willing to walk for ten minutes and are willing to sacrifice a little quality. Of course, once in a while you will hit on something great. Oh, there is one place that’s never crowded, but sometimes is really good, but I don’t know the name. At the most northern end of Carlsbad is Offshore Surf Shop. A few hundred yards north of there are a bunch of peaks that are rarely ridden by others. Places to avoid if you are not really good (and if you want to avoid the evil eye): Swamis Windansea Blacks Trestles Big Rock Cardiff Reef (main peak) Ponto (hey, it’s better than they think) Seaside Pipeline Kirra Mavericks Wait, now I’m just getting silly. Don’t know anything about the LA area, except that I don’t want to know anythiing about the LA area. Santa Barbara is great, but I couldn’t tell you about anything other than Emma Wood (recommended) and Rincon (don’t do it unless you are good). Seriously, get the book “Surfing California” by Bank Wright. Most folks on this website will argue my surfspot choices, but they won’t argue that Bank Wright is a legend. He made a masterpiece. It’s available in all the surfshops, and if you can’t find it, look in the next surfshop. It’s there. They sell it at Hansens in Encinitas and Surfride in Oceanside and Solana Beach. It’a extremely valuable. Sorry to be so longwinded. I am an unofficial (and usually unwanted) ambasador of North County. I like to share. I think you’ll find a happy, mellow vibe here, very little problems and no localism. Oh, and if you are in a little surf town called Cardiff, go to Yogis and ask for Kieth, the owner (bald, tough-looking dude). Tell him you heard from people on the internet that you had to go to Yogis. He will hook you up with some free drinks. Then, ask the bartender to throw on a surf video (they do it everyday). Finally, when your free drinks run out, ask any bartender for Gary Fairbanks. Tell him you met his son at Swaylocks (he’ll say, “Sway-what?”). But he’s nice and he’ll score you more free drinks (if you are there early enough. The geezer seems to go home earlier every year. I think ten is a late night for him. Have fun. But, hey, where’s your sense of adventure? Rent a car, get daily Mex insurance, and go to Baja. Just don’t drink the water.

Sorry about the lack of punctuatio up there. I thought I was going down a line after I listed each surfspot, but Swaylocks didn’t pick up on what I was doing. Oh, and if anyone in North County is rude to you, they are probably from somewhere else. They moved here ten or twenty years ago, and now grumble about how good it used to be. Ignore them. Oh, and for eating, I recommend: Potato Shack in Encinitas, Pipes Cafe in Cardiff, Viggiluccis for dinner in Carlsbad Village, and Kotija Taco shop in Leucadia for grubby (and delicious) Mexican foot that will make you head straight to the Lou (but very much worth it).

Fairmont, thank you so much…and I’ll take you up on that offer of surfing with you if it wouldn’t be too much trouble! As far as my level of surfing, I’m on the lower levels of intermediate, but in California it’s a whole 'nother ball game for me (being from Miami and our gutless waves out here). I remember 2 summers ago when I was pounded by the whitewater out there!!(I didn’t expect it to be so strong!!) I’m just dying to ride more than 5 seconds on a wave (the average ride in MIA). I’d also love to meet up with some shapers and/or glassers to see how other people do stuff out there.

15th street in Del Mar. Or, as Fairmont said… T-Street is awesome, if you feel like coming up to OC.

Well, again, I’ll mention San Onofre, since you want a longer ride than five seconds. I think everyone here will agree with me that San-O is the longest ride going. Of course, if there is a north swell, I have no idea how San-O breaks. I only ride it in the summer. But, seeing how you are here soon, it will probably offer some cool waves. Do to and click on the travel section. You’ll see maps of California. Check it out. They are very informative. Also go to and click on the world atlas, north america, california, etc. If you are worried about getting pounded by whitewater, then avoid the beachbreaks. You mentioned you wanted a sandy bottom at the surfspot. Well, you won’t get the best rides at breaks with sandy bottoms unless you want fast, hollow surf. I recommend reef breaks. You might want to avoid the point breaks, though, because there are some really good surfers there, and sometimes they are grumpy as hell. I surfed Swamis the other day and pulled a real kook move. I dropped in on a guy, wiped out, and wiped him out. I felt very, very stupid. I get really ticked off when someone does that to me, but I never say anything, because I know that sooner or later I’ll do it too. Good luck, and charge. Don’t hold back out here. It isn’t dangerous, you won’t get hurt. When you are about to take a beating, relax and enjoy the ride. Sometimes wipeouts are a good time to think about where you want to eat after surfing. I usually imagine Mexican food, of course, but sometimes I wonder if I’m about to eat my skegs. I eat a rail once in a while, and always a lot of sand.

Wait, Sylvia is a guy? Well, then, I definitely won’t be hitting on her…uh, him.

if your in OC anytime let me know,would lobe to meet you and you other half.

where is a good area with low localism, camping, longboarder waves, and good people?? just talking anywhere in the golden state…i maye be spending a month surfing the coast. i want to have the best experience…anyone shed some light?

Hey wierdo, since when is Sylvia an guy’s name…I’m a girl!

Very cool herb…thanks! We’ll be in Redondo at my sister in laws house from this upcoming tuesday-thursday. I would love to meet up with you and see your boards! We can drive down to OC no prob!!

Thanks for all the advice! One more question…aren’t reef breaks dangerous? I’ve never surfed them.

E-mail me in advance or when you get here/ready,and I’ll give you my cell and home #s.Herb

Herb, I don’t know if I’ll have internet access in California. my email address is . Could you email me on how I can contact you when i get out there? thanks so much!