San Diego’s Best Surf Breaks

It’s a well known fact that San Diego is one of the hot spots of California. The perfect climate, friendly locals, much to see and do and beaches galore. But there is another side to San Diego that only people more ‘in the know’ are familiar with. More pointedly, the surfers that make their way to Southern California search out the part of San Diego that speaks to them. They seek out San Diego’s Best Surf Breaks.



Also known as Old Man’s, this hot spot is located in North Pacific Beach, San Diego, and is a point reef break with beach breaks all around. The break is usually about 1ft smaller than any other break around, so if you’re looking for a bit of a calmer day, more often than not this will be the place. Tourmaline has easy, rolling waves that are perfect for long boards and the five million old men that make the trek to this spot each morning…hence the name!

OB Pier

Located in Ocean Beach, San Diego, this break offers a fairly easy paddle out up and along the pylons of pier. Although many surfers opt to shoot the pier when catching their waves, it is illegal to do so in San Diego, and surfers have been caught upon exiting the water and greeted with a ticket while they’re still dripping wet. So be aware!  OB Pier offers great right breaks as well as a nice, small reef break to the left. This spot is popular enough that localism doesn’t really appear here, but look out for the other breaks in Ocean Beach to north -more specifically, stay away from the north jetty at end of Dog Beach unless you know someone! Otherwise, be prepared to get the stink eye and possibly some nasty comments thrown your way.

Black’s Beach

Not for the faint of heart, Black’s Beach is a surfer’s paradise, but it’s also home to San Diego’s only nude beach. The southern portion of Black’s is a hot spot for surf; keep in mind that if you plan to shred here, you should be very experienced. Not only is there a danger with the larger and fast breaking waves, the locals can get a little bit aggressive. So know your stuff before jumping in. The Northern portion of Black’s is home to one of the largest nude beaches in the United States and is designated as ‘clothing optional’. This beach made the list for the diehard surfers out there, and for anyone who may be comfortable and enjoy that Brazilian beach lifestyle.

Sunset Cliffs

Sunset Cliffs is probably San Diego’s most famous surf spot, known for its series of reef breaks going all the way out to the tip of the peninsula. The spot was made famous by knee and surfboard designer Steve Lis and his twin keel fish surfboard, which was invented for these very these waves. It is not uncommon to see guys out on 10ft boards riding 10ft waves here! You can get an easy paddle out from the steps down the cliffs at the end of the road.

Baja Malibu

For those of you who are looking for a bit of an extra adventure, cross the border and surf Baja Malibu, Mexico. This spot has an excellent mix of beach and reef breaks, can hold about any sized wave, and usually offers a bit more punch than those waves north of border. They aren’t all as epic as the wave shown below, so less advanced surfers can also catch waves at this spot. Just use your judgement, as always! The area has good food surrounding the beach, safe parking and a neat atmosphere with a lot of American surfers. Just get around Tijuana as quickly as you can to find this hidden gem!

So what are you waiting for, Surfers? Don’t miss the best surf breaks that San Diego has to offer!





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