There are many best places to surf in Santa Cruz, California. The Santa Cruz coastline is blessed with some of the best surf spots in the world. Surfing here is an experience everyone should have at least once in their lifetime.
Some great places to surf in Santa Cruz include Pleasure Point, Steamer Lane, Capitola Beach, and the Santa Cruz Municipal Wharf. Each of these surf spots offers something unique and different, so choosing the one that’s right for you is important.
- 1 An Introduction To Surfing Spots In Santa Cruz
- 2 Surfing in Santa Cruz At A Glance
- 3 Best Surfing Santa Cruz Places
- 4 What we’d take on a southern California surf trip…
- 5 Conclusion
An Introduction To Surfing Spots In Santa Cruz
Surf City is not just a nickname for Santa Cruz. We think it is the best-known and most recognizable. Here are more than ten amazing breaks. There are a variety of breaks, from calm logger waves protected from the NW swell to fast right-hand channels and frothing peaks. AKA, there is a wave for everyone. However, the quality of the waves means that you will rarely be the only one in the group.
The town is quite epic from top-to-bottom. It’s a key location in modern surfing’s development. Jack O’Neill may have used this location to test a wetsuit prototype. Hawaiian princes were also believed to have been here in 1885. This was one of the earliest instances of surfing on mainland America.
Folks who paddle out to legendary spots Steamer Lane and others today feel heavy about all that culture. Surfing Santa Cruz doesn’t mean catching waves. It’s also about riding waves made by giants and trying to do as well as possible.
Surfing in Santa Cruz At A Glance
- Amazing range of spots
- Steamer Lane enjoys amazing rights
- Offshore winds come from the north. Winter surf is possible!
- This can be a dangerous place for localism.
- You don’t know when surf competitions will pop up, but it’s worth your time.
Best Surfing Santa Cruz Places
1. Four Mile Beach
The spot is located just 4 miles (6 km) from town. Four Mile is protected by a group of cliffs and bluffs that protect it from strong winds. This means even beginners can catch waves that are just right for them. For all you expert surfers out there, Four Mile still can catch those powerful swells you love.
2. 30th and East Cliff
It’s time to go to East Cliff Santa Cruz to explore the Santa Cruz surf spots. Experts looking for a challenge can enjoy 30th and East Cliff, but beginners should also take the time to check out this spot. This spot is one of Santa Cruz’s best spots to see surfers.
We are confident that the surfers here know a lot. The waves are quick and aggressive and are great for advanced tricks. You can often see many people lined up along the shore on a good day to get a glimpse at the surfers.
3. Pleasure Point Beach
Pleasure Point is Santa Cruz’s first-star spot for surfing. It is perfectly placed to catch any W or NW swells from September to March. With the additional blessing of NW offshore winds in the fall, it has some extra consistency. There are many take-off points.
You won’t be surprised to see 200+ surfers in the water between 30th Street and The Cove beach. The waves are almost dead at this point due to the shallower sandbanks.
There are three to four major breaking points between them, which can be linked up beautifully if there is enough power. The Santa Cruz surfers locals often take over the entire area, tearing it apart. It’s fun to see, but we would steer clear.
4. Steamer Lane
Steamer Lane is the most common place people associate with Santa Cruz surfing. You have to experience the incredible waves at this iconic surf spot.
Its intensity is a major factor. Steamer Lane in Santa Cruz’s most dangerous spot to surf when the swell rises. It is a great spot for surfing, whether out on the swell or looking from the shore. Steamer Lane’s definition of “surf” is so perfect that there’s even an entire surfing museum right by the beach.
5. Cowell Beach
Cowell Beach is the next spot to surf. If you’re looking for a Santa Cruz family vacation where you can all learn to surf together, this is the spot to visit. The surf spot is well-known for its gentle waves and easy catch. This spot is great for both longboarders as well as stand-up paddleboarders.
This is where you will most likely learn if you sign up for a surf school. It can get very crowded on weekends and holidays, so plan.
6. The Hook
The Hook, a popular right-hand point break, is located off Cliff Beach’s southerly rocks. The W swells, which wrap around the bay and create long and fun rights that are often very glassy, make it a popular spot for loggers. Bad-attitude localism can let you know that you are still in SC, not Malibu. Problem number one is the kelp flowers, which can often drift into the forests.
7. Natural Bridges State Park
Natural Bridges is one of Santa Cruz’s most beautiful spots for surfing. It offers the best waves for all levels. It is important to time the surf correctly, as it can be very demanding. The surf can be spectacular when the timing is perfect. Natural Bridges, even when conditions aren’t perfect, is still an amazing place to paddle out and float.
8. Manresa State Beach
Manresa State Beach surf report is just a short drive from Santa Cruz. This spot is much more peaceful than the Santa Cruz beaches. Surfline Manresa has some of the most beautiful swells in the area.
9. Waddel Beach
You’ll likely spot colorful kites from windsurfers as you drive along Highway 1. It is a haven for kiteboarders and windsurfers, whose aerial tricks amaze shore-bound visitors. You’ll see surfers taking frontside photos on Waddel’s steep curls, even if it’s not windy. A jacket is a must, but you can enjoy the show in your car if it’s too windy.
10. Capitola Beach
Capitola Beach is the last place on this list! Capitola surfing is the ideal spot to learn how to surf. It is family-friendly, and the gentle waves provide a beautiful and stress-free environment to learn how to surf. There are also tons of safe and family-friendly shops and restaurants in the area, making it a great place for a Santa Cruz family vacation.
What we’d take on a southern California surf trip…
Wetsuits ( Men)
By June and July, the south swells will have brought some warmth to the SoCal waters, and there’s a three-month window when you can usually get away with a shorty. We love this camo Dawn Patrol because it is an all-rounder.
A solid 3/2 to carry you through the Cali shoulder seasons, the Syncro is one of our forever favs. The key panels feature StretchFlight x2 technology, making them warm and flexible.
A 4/3 is usually enough to carry you through the winter in SoCal. This one is a great choice, with new seam taping and amazing thermal stats.
This is a corker for the ladies – it’s got the E5 neoprene (warm and flexy) along with blind-stitched seams.
I love the colors on these new E Bomb summer+spring steamers. It’s perfect for medium-water south California.
Super important stuff. You know that South California is sunny. You will need at least 30 SPF, no matter what season. The Sun Bum is water-resistant for 80 minutes and paraben-free.
Thanks for reading! In this article, we’ll be discussing the best places to surf in Santa Cruz. Santa Cruz is a world-renowned surfing destination, and for good reason – it has some of the best waves in the world! Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned pro, there’s a spot for you in Santa Cruz. So, let’s get started!