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5 Beginner Surf Spots in San Diego

a group of people riding skis on a body of water

Read our blog to learn about the best beginner surf spots in San Diego!

Are you looking for a fun summer activity? Surfing is always at the top of the list, and there are plenty of beginner surf spots in San Diego. We’ve put together a list of our favorite spots where you can catch your first wave and try surfing as a San Diego beginner. Let’s get started.


1. La Jolla Shores

a beach with a mountain in the background


La Jolla is #1 on this list because you simply can’t talk about surfing in San Diego without mentioning this beach. It provides consistency and quality, which is about as much as you can ask for when you’re starting out. It’ll often have a consistent steady crowd from sunrise until sunset. One nice aspect about La Jolla Shores is that it is protected from the southwest trade winds which means that a stiff onshore won’t blow off the waves in the same way it would along with other spots on the coast. 

For this reason, it’s a top beginner surf sport in San Diego, and you’ll find that many surf schools love this area. 


2. Tourmaline Beach

a group of people on a beach


Tourmaline Beach sits on the border of the Pacific Beah and La Jolla districts of San Diego. This beach is largely used for surfing and sunbathing year-round. Considered a surfers’ “mecca,” head here for one of the best beginner surf spots in San Diego. There are numerous amenities – lifeguards, restrooms, showers, fire pits, picnic tables, BBQs – and free parking. What more could you want? 


3. Pacific Beach

a group of people riding skis on a body of water


Pacific Beach is often referred to by locals as “PB.” It has gentle waves and consistent conditions, which makes it a great beginner surf spot in San Diego. It also has a sand bottom break, which means you don’t have to worry about falling; it won’t be too hard on your body. There are also a number of amenities nearby like public toilets, restaurants, bars, and lifeguards. This is an ideal place to start if you want some smaller waves to get used to the sport. 


4. Mission Beach


This is one of the best spots to learn to surf in San Diego. Mission Beach is also a san-bottom break that can be ultra-forgiving when you’re just getting started. You’ll want to visit Mission Beach when the swell is small and clean, and the tide is high. This will be your best chance of catching some sort but fun waves. Once you’re feeling confident, you can head to the South Jetty where there are some better-quality waves. They have more to offer experienced surfers in terms of size and rideability. Since it’s one of the best beginner surf spots in San Diego, it can get crowded. 


5. Oceanside

a long bridge over a body of water


The Oceanside Pier is considered one of San Diego’s surfing hot spots. You can catch great waves on both the north and south sides at any time of the year. Because of this, you can expect there to be a crowd (both tourists and locals alike!). Head here as a beginner to experience some of this magic. You’ll learn the sport here at one of the best beginner surf spots in San Diego, and then you can continue coming after you’ve got it down. 

Final thoughts

Ready to get out there and learn how to surf? The city has a lot to offer in turns of beginner surf spots in San Diego. Try one and fall in love or try them all! And if you’re interested in having fun on the water some other way, considering driving your own speed boat in San Diego!

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