OP should go to Jalama Beach Park to camp and surf. Of the places I've been out in CA it was the most like what it sounds like you want to experience.
Try either the reefs near a state camp ground called Montana de oro. There is a series of really good reef breaks walking distance from good camping. Morro strand has a ton of beach break also, check the canyon can't give any more info. Also in between Santa Cruz and Ocean beach SF there is soooooo much untouched stuff that picks up any swell. You shouldn't have any hasles if you just smile and share, its not delmarva it gets real good and the boys keep you in check if you get stupid.
Right! Maybe a lil lazy and spoiled! My friends that live there rarely paddle out unless it's chest-high plus...so if you are a true East Coaster(Transplant) Cali straight spoils you! Obviously gaffer you haven't surfed on the East Coast much. We get stoked on surf you guys consider scraps! But I love surfing all of our Donkey Free line-ups here on the Banx...nuff said
zaGaffer.... wow interesting post......think you been spending a bit too much time with southjettybill