Revel In The Heart Of San Diego's Prime Surf Season
San Diego is a world-famous surfing destination, and this time of year is the height of prime conditions. Whether you’re a veteran tube-rider or simply a fascinated spectator, it’s time to head to the sublime Southern California coast for some first-class breaks.
Heart of the Surf Season
Surfers hit the waves in San Diego and its hinterland year-round, but late summer through mid-autumn tends to deliver the most consistent high-quality opportunities.
Powerful southerly swells muscle into the coast, gradually shifting to westerly as winter approaches. This time of year also sees the peak of the infamous Santa Ana winds, those hot, dry gusts pealing down off the coastal mountains toward the ocean. The Santa Anas can conspire with big swells to create fantastic curling waves—a mouthwatering sight to a San Diego surfer.
Some of the finest surfing in the San Diego region lies in the north, where incoming currents roll into a northwest-trending coastline. Among the most renowned sites is Lower Trestles, set at the mouth of the intermittent San Mateo Creek and reachable only by foot. This time of year, Trestles can experience beautifully consistent south swells—which makes it a true surfing magnet. Nearby is Old Man’s, a better choice for neophytes with its easier access and passive (but still highly rideable) waves.
Another surfing hub is Del Mar near Torrey Pines. Here the nearshore topography is nice and varied, producing a diversity of reef and beach breaks. On the southern side of Torrey Pines is the celebrated Black’s Beach, where a submarine canyon ushers in powerful, high-cresting waves.
Farther south the surfing conditions can be more variable, but there are still plenty of excellent spots, including right along the South Bay.
Join the Fun
You don’t need to put a toe in the water to enjoy the San Diego surfing scene. Set yourself up on the bluff or beach at one of the popular spots and enjoy the spectacle. A line of surfers barreling along a sunlit wave crest is one of Southern California’s iconic sights, after all.
Grab your board—or your camera—and get yourself to the coast: It’s San Diego’s prime surf season!
Photo credit: Bengt E Nyman