Malibu Beach: the heart of SoCal surfing

Southern California is the capital of US surfing. From Santa Barbara to San Diego, within 200 miles (321 kilometers) only, you get the best surf spots in SoCal.

In a single summer week, you can experience the surf trip of a lifetime, exploring and discovering the iconic wave peaks, the legendary sand and rocky points, and the mythical beaches of sunny California.

There are hundreds of world-class beach breaks for all levels of surfing that can be ridden along the beautiful coastline highway. Although there are no secret spots to be unveiled, Southern California offers the realAloha surf spirit. Surf crowd is inevitable.

SoCal surfers are friendly, but you should respect locals as well as surf etiquette. Almost all Southern California surf spots are easily accessible and do not require tricky paddle-outs. Flawless, perfect waves will roll in every SoCal beach.

Los Angeles and San Diego are the biggest surf cities in Southern California and offer a large number of unforgettable surfing experiences. The Northern boundary of the Southern California map can be explored by surfing Rincon, near Santa Barbara, where you'll find a long, peeling right-hander that is often perfect during low tide winter sessions.

Malibu Beach is the ultimate SoCal surf spot. Laid back wave rides, warm sands, beautiful people and fast access to the Pacific Coast Highway makes of Malibu an icon of Southern California. Grab a longboard and hit the waves with a smile on your face.

On your way to Los Angeles, Zuma Beach, Topanga and Venice Beach should only be surfed if you're in the intermediate and advanced levels. Enjoy fast, short and consistent waves before you head out to sunny LA, where you only have an average of 35 days of rain per year.

In the heart of the Californian surf metropolis, you'll find two great urban surf spots. El Porto is an excellent peak for beginners, although winter swells may boost medium-sized waves for everyone. Hermosa Beach is an alternative beach break for all levels of surfing experience, as well as Manhattan Beach.

Seal Beach offers a long sand strip protected by jetties with the best swells coming from SW. A few miles before arriving at Huntington Beach, there's Bolsa Chica, a popular surfing and fishing beach break for classic riders.

Huntington Beach Surf City USA is the capital of surfing in California. The famous pier offers surfable waves on both sides of the pier, although the south peak is generally trendier. The city features some of the most consistent waves of the West Coast.

The Wedge, in Newport Beach, is a crazy SoCal surf rollercoaster. Best-known for its bodyboarding wave conditions, the spot offers an incredible backwash ride. The wave is hollow, deep and quickly breaks in the sand. It's an iconic must-surf Southern California spot.

The roots of modern surfing are inevitably linked with Salt Creek Beach, in Dana Point. In the late 1950s and 1960s, California surfers would show off their new boards and skills in these infamous and powerful left-handers. Prepare to grab the rail.

On your way to Trestles, check T-Street, in San Clemente. It's a fun city surf spot surrounded by palm trees. San Onofre State Beach is not far away and showcases the world-famous, A-frame, cobblestone break of Trestles.

Lower Trestles is a SoCal surf classic. Near San Clemente, the several peaks of Trestles are the ideal region to relax and enjoy the sights. Offshore winds produce perfect, endless surf lines for shortboard and longboard adventures. A friendly rocky bottom invites you to feel the spirit of surfing in California.

Drive through the San Diego Freeway, with the Pacific Ocean on your right, and arrive at Oceanside Pier, another timeless SoCal surf center. Then, near Encinitas, discover Cardiff Reef Beach and Blacks Beach. The latter frequently delivers amazing barrels in its three-peak wave formula.

The surf trip through the best surf spots in Southern California ends in the La Jolla shores. Park your surf wagon at Scripps Beach and enjoy waves for all levels of experience. SoCal means surfing.

Get a quality California surf travel guide, check the Wave Height Forecast for Southern California and enjoy life.

Also, take a look at the best beaches for surfing in Los Angeles, and explore the best surf spots in Northern California.

The best Southern California Surf Spots | Ideal Swell and Wind Conditions

Rincon, Santa Barbara
Swell: W, WSW, and WNW @ 15s | Wind: NE

Manhattan Beach, Los Angeles
Swell: Any Direction @ 16s+ | Wind: E, SE

Malibu, Los Angeles
Swell: S, SW, WSW @ 16s+ | Wind: NW

Zuma Beach, Los Angeles
Swell: S, SW, W @ 16s+ | Wind: E

Topanga Beach, Los Angeles
Swell: SSW, SW, WSW, W @ 16s+ | Wind: Light E

Venice Beach, Los Angeles
Swell: SSW, SW, WSW, W @ 12-16s | Wind: E

El Porto, Los Angeles
Swell: SW, WSW, W, WNW @ 16s+ | Wind: E, SE

Hermosa Beach, Los Angeles
Swell: Any Direction @ 16s+ | Wind: E, SE

Seal Beach, Seal Beach
Swell: SSE, S, WSW; W @ 16s+ | Wind: Glassy, E, NE

Huntington Pier, Huntington Beach
Swell: SSE, S, SW @ 16s+ | Wind: NE

The Wedge, Newport Beach
Swell: S, SW @ 16s+ | Wind: E, NE

Salt Creek Beach, Dana Point
Swell: S, SW, W, WNW @ 16s+ | Wind: E, SE, S

Lower Trestles, San Clemente
Swell: S, SW @ 16s+ | Wind: E, NE

T-Street, San Clemente
Swell: WNW, W, SW @ 16s+ | Wind: E

Oceanside Pier, Oceanside
Swell: SSW, SW, W, WNW @ 16s+ | Wind: E, NE

Cardiff Reef, San Diego
Swell: NW, W @ 12-16s+ | Wind: Glassy, E

Blacks Beach, San Diego
Swell: W, NW, SW @ 16s+ | Wind: E, SE

Scripps Beach, San Diego
Swell: W, NW, SW @ 10-16s+ | Wind: E, SE

Lunada Bay. A surf spot like thousands in the world. Not better than Ericeira, Bells Beach or Jeffreys Bay, but still a splendid wave. The right-hand point break is located near Rancho Palos Verdes, just 40 miles west of Huntington Beach.

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