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Jill Sanford | 03.24.2017

The crash of iconic surf breaks, the social scene of many of these beaches, and the picture-perfect Southern California coastline all make L.A. one of the most quintessential surfing destinations in the world. There is something for everyone from first timers to experts. The sport might have been invented in Hawaii, but it gained a ton of popularity thanks to the Southern California surf scene and culture. If you are a surfer looking to check out L.A.’s popular and noteworthy breaks and beaches, then here is a roundup of the best places to check out on your trip.  

  • Manhattan Beach: If you are a seasoned surfer or a newbie to the sport, Manhattan Beach has something to offer you. In the winter, an underground cave makes for some supreme swells for those who have some experience under their belts. The area offers lessons as well for rookies, and since it is often pretty busy, you will learn how important surf etiquette when you are out there trying to catch a wave. This is just as important as the body mechanics if you truly are trying to get into surfing.
  • Zuma Beach: Located just north of Malibu, Zuma is a hotspot for beginning and intermediate surfers. It’s claim to fame is that it’s the set for Baywatch, so if you are looking for that iconic Southern California experience, this is the spot. The water here is a little chilly, so you might want to pack your wetsuit for this spot.
  • Venice Beach: An eclectic boardwalk featuring rollerbladers, joggers and cyclists, volleyball nets, and an iconic surfer’s scene, Venice Beach is one of the most famous and popular beaches in L.A., both for surfers and non-surfers alike. It’s another place to go if you want to soak in that SoCal surfer vibe, and the break here offers something for all skill levels.
  • Topenga Beach: This spot is a little more off the beaten path, but expect to see some of the same amenities as the more crowded beaches. With a variation in rocky and sandy beaches, it’s also a great spot for a wide range of skill sets. What sets it apart for experienced surfers is that it has a longer ride on the waves thanks to those rockier areas.
  • Lunada Bay: Known as one of the best places to surf in L.A., Lunada Bay has a reputation as a local’s only spot. It’s best to have some sort of in before showing up here, and even then you will still have to impress the locals.
  • Redondo Beach/ The Breakwater: This spot is for experienced surfers. Larger waves here end in a serious shore pound, and there are much stronger currents than some of the other L.A. spots.
  • Surfrider Beach: Another iconic beach where surfers show up to prove their mettle, the Surfrider Beach in Malibu features a long, lazy break. It’s been one of the most popular spots for surfers since the 1950s, and don’t be surprised to see camera crews and maybe even a few pros out there on any given day.
  • Hermosa Beach: Another chillier spot, this beach is currently one of the hippest beaches in Southern California. It’s best during low tide during the fall and winter.


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