Updated: Sep 29, 2019
Surfing in San Clemente can bring you a unique surfing experience in the Orange County. This wave-rich city is a jewel and your perfect location for your surf trip.
If you’re itching to ride the waves, get on board and check out the best surfing spots in San Clemente!
San Clemente Surf Breaks
From T-Street to Trestles and the beach breaks in between, San Clemente shines with the best waves in Southern California. Tap the adrenaline junkie in you with its fast and hollow beach breaks. Awaken your senses with their slow and crumbly cobblestone reef breaks. With the right kind of swell, San Clemente is an ultimate surf hub with its miles of coastline.
This surfing spot has been one of the best San Clemente surf breaks. Since the 1930s, the locals and tourists have been enjoying competitive and recreational surfing in San Onofre.
During summers or on weekends throughout the year, families drive from all directions to visit ‘San-O’ to ride the gentle surf that the vicinity offers. It has better longboard surf along the coast. Beginners in surfing may also enjoy the area.
Around one million tourists visit San Clemente Beaches including San-O. Nearly half of the number of visitors is in for day-use. If you want to catch the waves, you need to catch them early!
To the south of San Clemente lies another surfing gold, the Trestles. Its handful of surf breaks makes the region a go-to place for surfers and surfers-wanna-be.
The waves can be ‘world-class,’ and you might want to ride ’til your heart demands. The intense crowd makes it challenging to do so. You can get to the beach by taking a mile walk down the trail. If you’re not familiar with the route, you may park somewhere next to Carl’s Jr. located just east of the Christianitos Fwy exit. Follow the people carrying surfboards towards the beach, and you’re on your way to surfing madness.
Hail to one of the most popular surf breaks in San Clemente! You can almost always find an exciting wave to ride. All thanks to a near-shore reef, you may enjoy waves with better shapes than most beach breaks in town.
During the periods of higher tides and smaller surf, the reef forms a peak and breaks all the way into the shore. The quality of the lefts and rights of the ridge depend on the swell’s size and direction.
In summer months, ocean conditions in San Clemente for surfing, especially in T-Street, may only allow you to surf during the morning and evening hours.
The Pier-South Side
The south side of San Clemente Pier is also a famous beach for swimming and bodyboarding. It’s closed during the summer months. During southerly swell, you need to beware of the high current running toward the pier. It has been responsible for many lifeguard rescues.
The Pier- North Side
The north side of the San Clemente is another one for the books. Although large swells often produce closed-out conditions, you may find someone surfing the pier nearly every daylight hour of the year.
This surfers’ influx may be due to the convenient access from the large public parking lot at the bottom of the Avenida Del Mar.
The surf conditions on the north side can be terrible or excellent. It depends on the size and peak level of the swell. The beach break waves at the pier also differ with wind and tide fluctuations.
San Clemente State Beach
San Clemente State Beach sits just to the south of Calafia Beach Park. Although fickle, quality surfing experience is possible when the conditions are just right. The shallow sandbars can produce hollow, shifting peaks.
Like the San Clemente State Beach, Calafia may also offer great waves depending on the conditions. The surf at Calafia is sensitive to tides.
Just south of the North Beach sits the ‘204’. In this area, the swells refract over offshore reefs before breaking on shallow sandbars. For easy access, you may park in the lot at the North Beach and walk south until you find the right peak. The surf may vary because of continually changing sandbars and swell directions.
At the north end of the town sits the North Beach. It’s where the Avenida Pico meets the Pacific Ocean. The North Beach is a popular family destination for body boarding and swimming. The parking spaces are plenty in the lot adjacent to the beach.
Restrooms are available, too. If hunger strikes you after riding the waves, you may grab a tasty lunch at the North Beach Burger. The snack place is open during summer months.
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