Where to find waves in Orange County
No matter if you are new to the area or a long-time local, everyone has their own opinion on the best surfing spots. Since that is the case, you need a non-biased look at the best ideas on where to surf in Huntington Beach and the nearby beaches of Orange County. Here are just a few:
Huntington State Beach
“Surf City” – the iconic home of the surfing Walk of Fame, palm trees and too many hard bodies. No list of surfing spots can start anywhere else. This sandy bottom spot works best at medium tide for beginner to advanced, however only above average at the pier. It’s a year-round spot but the fall can produce the best rides.
A sandy bottom beach-break classed as regional classic. It’s just north of the Newport Beach pier with metered parking on the street. The friendly beginner/longboard waves are best at low to mid tide with 150 to 300 m on a good day. Named for the legendary “Blackies by the Sea”, it’s also known as Newport Pier. The crowds can be brutal, especially in the winter months.
This is a coral/sharp rock bottom with sloppy waves best left to experienced riders. The best tides are all tides and the crowd holds just a few surfers during the week and on weekends. With a south swell, this can be the biggest break in Laguna. If you are out waiting on the big swells, you might even run into Kelly Slater, Rob Machodo or Donavan Frankinter.
Laguna Beach brings us the monster of where to surf in Huntington Beach. You’ll be seeing 30-foot waves here, making this the place to see more bodysurfers and bodyboarders. In fact, between May 1st and October 31st you can see that raised black ball flag meaning no boards in the water between 10 am and 5 pm. Hazards are an incredibly powerful shore pound and backwash strong enough to create new waves that crash into boarders and bodysurfers. Bring a camera.
Another sandy bottom spot that is great for kids and intermediate boarders in the summer and fall. Mid tides will bring the best size waves at head-height plus fun peaks. The waves are mellower here as is the crowd, much less competitive than Blackies. The closer you get to the pier, however, the smaller the waves become.
Corona Del Mar
This one is a bit of a gamble. The breaks here are few, but when the three right conditions come through, this can be the best of the best. The three elements are a huge southwest swell, at least double overhead. Then you need an offshore wind to lift and hold the wave, and finally, mid tide to carry you the distance. Because of some jetty damage, the big northwest swells get into a spot called Foamers and produces a local secret in the form of the best wave in Orange. Locals call it a freak of nature with just a handful of people who know about it. That puts it on the list of where to surf in Huntington Beach.
54th – 56th Street Beach
The final spot on this very short list is at Newport. It is often called the hottest 100 yards of Newport with their reputation for defying surfing tradition. Because of jetties that break up the sand, crossed peaks make plenty of ramps for some fast boarding. The best tide for this rock and roll beach is mid with around 150 a day here. During the week, the crowd has just a handful of surfers, but weekends are crowded. Hazards are rips/undertows.