Northern California Surf Spot Guides & Reports

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

Northern California Surf Guide

Stretching from north of San Francisco up to the Oregon border, California’s northern coast feels very different from its southern counterparts.

Cold, sharky, big, and natural could be some quick ways to describe the setting. The waves can be good, but it’s much more fickle than the rest of the state.

The coastline is majestic with sheer, rocky cliff faces, wind swept beaches, and giant evergreen forests. The area is kelpy, rocky, and full of all sorts of marine life.

Surf-wise, you’ll find a variety of rivermouths, points, beachbreaks, rocky reefs.

Conditions often leave much to be desired, but if you know where to look and when to go, you can find some good waves with minimal to no crowds.

Seasons for Surf in Northern California

  • Fall: Fall can bring lighter winds, and some early winter-like swells. It’s a good time to find cleaner, surfable conditions and more comfortable water and weather.

  • Winter: Winter brings huge, powerful waves and strong wind. Conditions are often unsurfable, but it’s possible to find a window of semi-clean conditions here and there.

  • Spring: Spring doesn’t offer much in terms of clean surf. Weather can be sporadic, windy, and cold.

  • Summer: Summer brings small, crumbly surf and lots of fog. The water can often get colder in the summer than in cooler months.

NorCal Average Monthly Water Temps

The water is real cold around the year in Northern California. You’ll need a nice thick wetsuit, some booties, gloves, and a hood.

Avg. Water Temp (°F)52° 52° 51° 51° 51° 52°53° 54° 54° 54° 53° 52°
Low 50° 51° 50° 49° 49° 50°51° 51° 52° 53° 53° 51°
High 53° 54° 54° 55° 55° 57°58° 59° 58° 57° 55° 55°
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