Surfing Lower Trestles: the jewel of Southern California

Surfing
Lower Trestles: a perfect A-frame surfing wave in the heart of Southern California

Lower Trestles is, for many surfers, the best surf spot in the world. There are many reasons why riders pick the Californian surf break as their favorite wave.

Lower Trestles means consistency, all-around fun, a classic reef/point break, perfect-peeling left and right-handers, easy paddle-outs, and endless wave faces.

San Onofre State Beach is, de facto, a virgin surf sanctuary.

Located a few miles away from San Clemente, Lower Trestles is a surfers' paradise. If you had to take a wave peak to heaven, this would be it.

Lower Trestles resembles an artificial wave - it's reliable and handles both storm swells and wind swells.

The peak is perfectly positioned and, with pristine wind and swell conditions, you can train old and new school tricks and maneuvers, equipped with short or longboards.

The construction of a wide toll highway threatened the surfing region for years. It was at the center of a controversy involving Californian authorities, the Surfrider Foundation, and local surfers.

Fortunately, the local surfing community won the battle against concrete, and the project was abandoned.

Lower Trestles is like a surf pool, and it is perfect for training and experimentation sessions.

The downside? Mosquitoes, rattlesnakes, and a few aggressive locals.

Trestles: perfect peeling waves breaking at San Clemente's San Onofre State Beach | Photo: WSL

A Strange Story

According to "Surfer's Magazine Guide to Southern California Surf Spots," Trestles Beach witnessed a rather unusual and humorous event.

"There's an apocryphal story about two local kids who were surfing Cottons when they saved President Nixon from drowning," the book reveals.

"The president was so grateful he granted the kids one wish each."

The first kid asked if Nixon would open up the surfing area to the public, and Nixon agreed, ending many years of hide-and-seek antics between surfers and Marines."

"The second kid said he wanted to be buried in Arlington Cemetery. Nixon said: 'That's an unusual request. I can grant it, but why?'"

"And the kid said: 'Because when my dad finds out I saved you from drowning, he's going to kill me."

How about that?

Trestles Beach: get ready to surf Cottons, Uppers, Lowers, Middles, and Church

Crowded and Magical

Despite being one of the most crowded surf breaks in Southern California, it can change a life and career in surfing.

The feeling of riding a magical surf spot is a constant when you're at Lower Trestles. The surf jewel of San Clemente pumps a lazy right-hander and a fast, short, and hollow left-hander.

If you only had 24 hours to surf Lower Trestles, you would be fortunate to hit the water on a day blessed by a large south/southwest swell and light-to-moderate east winds.

The ideal size for this pristine surf region is four-to-six feet.

The rocky seafloor isn't dangerous if you take care.

It's almost possible to surf Lower Trestles every single day of the year. And because left-handers are shorter, it's easier to paddle out via the north side of the peak.

If you're tired of Lower Trestles, you're probably tired of surfing and life.

After riding the jewel of San Clemente, try "Cottons," "Uppers," "Middles," and "Church" for a full Trestles extravaganza.

Finally, remember to look both ways before your make your way across - or even walk - the train tracks.

Take a look at the best Southern California surf spots.