Central California Surf Spot Guides & Reports

Find surf spots in Central California. Learn about the best conditions for different spots, find information about the types of waves, and compare surf reports in the region.

Central California Surf Guide

Stretching from about mid-Santa Barbara to San Francisco, Central California feels like a true mix between the Northern and Southern portions of the state, but with a unique identity of its own.

Central California is home to some iconic surf destinations including Santa Cruz and Mavericks, as well as miles and miles of beautifully scenic coastline that you can take in and look for empty waves along Highway 101.

It’s also home to Pacifica/Lindamar – known for its beachside Taco Bell and crumbly, gray, and crowded surf – all of which probably hold a special place in the heart of many a Bay Area surfer.

Throughout Central California you’ll find a mix of points, coves, beachbreak, jetties, and reefs that are fickle for the most part, but certain spots can pick up lots of swell.

While there’s certainly pockets of popular and congested surf spots spread throughout Central Cal (Santa Cruz, Pacifica, SLO), the spaces between still offer some opportunity for discovery.

Seasons for Surf in Central California

  • Fall: Fall brings some great weather as well as some decent swell to the region. You’ll get a greater mix of South & North swells that can provide some great waves in the right spots.

  • Winter: Winter brings the storms and heavy conditions. This is the window for giant waves at places like Mavericks.

  • Spring: Spring is more sporadic in its weather and surf, and tends to be too onshore, but you can find some waves here and there.

  • Summer: Summer is generally flat or small for most parts of Central Cal, but you’ll be able to find waves in the areas that can draw in a variety of swell like Santa Cruz, Moro Bay, and spots near Big Sur.

Central California Average Monthly Water Temps

Here’s what you can expect for water temperatures around the year in Central California. You’ll definitely need some sort of wetsuit, as it’s chilly most of the time.

Avg. Water Temp (°F) 53° 54° 54° 54° 55° 57°58° 59° 60° 58° 56° 53°
Low 51° 53° 52° 51° 51° 52°53° 54° 55° 55° 55° 53°
High 55° 56° 56° 60° 63° 65°66° 66° 66° 64° 58° 55°
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