Southern California Surf Spot Guides & Reports

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

SoCal Surf Guide

Southern California, often the iconic image of the west coast, stretches from Santa Barbara to the US-Mexico border in San Diego.

The coastline, most of which is highly developed and highly populated, features every type of break and wave you can imagine. And lots of them can be truly world class when the conditions align. Points, reefs, beachbreak, jetties, piers, rivermouths, you name it, you can find a good example of it somewhere in Southern California.

Many areas in Southern California are situated in spots that can pick up all types of swell, and work well on combos.

With near-perfect weather all the time and tons of options, you can find quality surf year-round with the right local knowledge and expectations.

While SoCal gets lumped together as one thing, the diversity even within each large city and county is apparent. There’s a little something for everybody in Southern California if you know where to look.

It can be crowded in Southern California, especially in the summer and especially at the well-known and easily accesible breaks. However, there is still a lot of room to spread out – and you can find yourself a peak of your own even in the height of summer.

The major development along much of the coast creates an issue when it rains in terms of water quality.

Seasons for Surf in Southern California

  • Fall: Fall brings some of the best weather of the year, clean offshore conditions, and consistent surf.

  • Winter: Winter brings the big surf, and some of the better spots in the region shine. Crowds are noticeably thinner as the weather and water cool down, but good surf remains.

  • Spring: Surf in the spring can be a little more sporadic than the other seasons, but there’s still usually some great potential for crossed-up swell and clean conditions.

  • Summer: The summer can get extremely crowded in many spots in Southern California. Traffic is painful, and parking near the beach can be even worse. But, if you can make your way to the beach, you’ll usually find some fun south swells and trunk-able water temperatures by July-August.

Southern California Average Monthly Water Temperatures

Mid summer to early fall in Southern California can see water temperatures in the low to mid 70s for some spots in the region – couple that with sunshine and warm air, and you’ve got the perfect conditions for some sessions sans-wetsuit. Winter can get very cold, relatively speaking, and you’ll benefit from some insulation throughout the rest of the year. While you can get away with a 3/2 for the most part, its helpful to have some options as the seasons change.

Avg. Water Temp (°F) 57° 58° 59° 60° 62° 64°67° 69° 67° 65° 62° 59°
Low 55° 57° 58° 58° 60° 62°64° 67° 65° 62° 60° 56°
High 59° 60° 62° 64° 67° 70°71° 72° 72° 69° 65° 61°
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