you probably know this but check: wannasurf.com for detailed info of area surf breaks. A great resource. Also, check the surf forecast to figure where your going. The Channel Islands shadow a lot of swell so it could be bigger in one area than it would be in another. Find out who's getting what on surfline's reports. You'll have fun everywhere, but if you've got a few minutes and a car, the Oceanside jetties pick up a fair amount of swell and the crowds are spread out. It's jetty surfing just like NJ and works on mid to lower tides., It's also decent with NW (onshore) winds. Enjoy-
ill be sure to check out that surf shop. if its anything close to 50 dollars a day, i may just buy a used board and leave it with my buddy as ill be staying for a little more than a week. Was planning on going south for waves as you suggested. And although this hasn't been a bad winter here, the water is still 42 degrees, so bring on the 60 degree water..yewww
I went to puerto rico last year, flew continental. The flight there I checked it in by size and weight,$150. The flight back they told me to check it as sporting goods,$50. I was happy! So you might want to call them and ask if you can check it as sporting goods and save your self some $.