Surfing and Kitesurfing Facts
- Surfing and kitesurfing spots within 50 km
6 (kitesurfing), more than 50 (surfing)
- Best time to travel - kitesurfing
April to July
- Best time to travel - surfing
- Recommended apparel
Spring wetsuit (July to September), full wetsuit (December to March)
- Flight connection
Featuring more than 300 days of sunshine a year, 70 miles of coastline and 33 public beaches, San Diego is the epitome of the Californian dream come true. Having proclaimed September 20th as “California Surfing Day”, the Californians even have a special day to honour their favourite sport. A late summer visit to the San Diego County is especially worth it: September is when the world elite of the World Surf League meet in Trestles for a spectacular contest.
Top Surf and Kite Spots around San Diego
Surfin’ U.S.A in Encinitas
At the very latest since the Beach Boys landed their hit song “Surfin’ U.S.A”, Encinitas has been widely known as one of the world’s top surf destinations. From the fast waves at Cardiff Reef to the internationally renowned Swami’s surf spot with big waves that challenge even experienced surfers: Encinitas has the perfect wave to suit all skill levels. Access to Swami’s Beach requires descending some steep steps, which is why only few sun-worshippers and swimmers make their way there. That being said, numerous onlookers tend to gather there to watch the experienced and highly proficient surfers perform their stunts.
Mission Beach and Pacific Beach – Classic Surf Spots
Situated on the three-mile San Diego Ocean Front boardwalk, Mission Beach and Pacific Beach (referred to by the locals as “MB” and “PB”) are home to San Diego’s illustrious surf scene. Lined with a slew of bars, restaurants and shops, the boardwalk is also busy and bustling after dark. The changing wave shapes with the shifting sand bars offer surf action for all levels. Those eager for some surfing tips are advised to visit the Pacific Surf School on Mission Beach, which was founded by former surf pro Emiliano Abate in 2007.
For Surf Newbies: La Jolla Shores
Thanks to the gentle waves of La Jolla Shores, this beach is popular not only with kayakers and long-boarders, but also with surf newbies. Apart from Central Coast, it is where most of the surf schools in the area are located, including Surf Diva, which was set up in 1996 as the first surf school with all-girls instructors. Founded by Swiss-born Daniel Niklaus and Dave Cinquini from California, TheCaliCamp is the only surf camp in San Diego for adults. It is an hour’s drive north of San Diego.
Surf up, Ocean Beach
Ocean Beach is arguably San Diego’s most lively and bustling beach. Exuding a 1960s hippie vibe, this surf spot is popular with tourists and locals alike. Consistent waves ranging from small to powerful guarantee a fun surf for beginners and pros. Known also as Dog Beach, Ocean Beach is San Diego’s only leash-free beach where dogs can run freely on any given day of the year. Every year in August, the human’s best friend can take part in the Imperial Beach Surf Dog Competition where “surFUR” dogs get to showcase their talent on their boards - with or without their two-legged companion.
The Californian Coast: Kitesurfing Spot for Pros
San Diego has emerged as a water sports mecca in recent years. However, kitesurfing on the Californian coast requires skill and experience. Even in summer -and especially at Nord Pacific Beach- kiteboarding is practiced almost exclusively by advanced kiteboarders or pros. Beginner kiteboarders meet at Mission Bay that features shallow waters and mild to moderate winds. Mission Bay is also where the courses of San Diego’s only kitesurfing school are held: Manta Water Sports.
Recommended surf schools
The following schools are excellent schools to learn how to surf: