I dunno, you don't have to rent a car and can still get variety. The extra 30-50$ a day you save can be thrown at a beach room. You could surf reef at PB Point, beach at Tourmaline & Diamond, structure at Crystal Pier, beach at Reed and then structure at MB jetty if you wanted to, all from a rented bicycle. I jogged down to the Mission Beach jetty every morning before my morning sesh, I think it was like 7-8 miles round trip, depending upon where I was in PB at the time. There's some cheap motels too, November's the off season. I've never made it from Hotel Circle to Mission Blvd in 5 minutes though. It usually takes me longer just to park there, the light at Mission Bay and Mission Blvd is a traffic pain and the lots are pretty full. Not in November. I rarely surfed South of Windemere though, the MB Jetty wasn't that appealing and neither were the MB crowds. Kane's was fun back in the day. I remember seeing Sublime there. I think Kane's got closed down though.
I can't imagine flying out from the east coast and just surfing weak assed Tourmaline, Crystal Pier, and Mission Beach jetty - below average spots in that stretch to avoid dropping $200 on a ****ty car rental.
We're used to surfing in crowds on the east coast...when in SD, i want to surf high quality waves to justify the five hour flight. Wave for quality wave, Blacks- Sunset- Church- arent as crowded as decent spots in the mid atlantic. Mission Beach, and the Pier at PB are mushier, more average waves (not all days - they do get fun but they seem weak a lot of the time) than a lot of what we deal with in the mid atlantic.
None of the reef spots are hard to find. Nothing out there is hard to find - especially fake racks on rollerblades. Crazy.
EDIT: i realize im talking about a big stretch of coast and driving up to an hour north to get to some of those spots. When i go our there i dont mind doing it. I've scored fun chest high Church with 5 people out on a random afternoon check. But theres something to be said for just posting up in PB like you said and surfing nearby. I should probably try it sometime. I drive way to much and have kind of grown immune to it.
...when in SD, i want to surf high quality waves to justify the five hour flight. Wave for quality wave, Blacks- Sunset- Church- arent as crowded as decent spots in the mid atlantic.
No worries, I'm not trying to discourage anyone from getting around or exploring. And, I totally agree, the Pier to the Point isn't the best break in San Diego (it's a darn good one though); but, I do think for a base camp, especially if you aren't familiar with the town, it's got everything you need. I want people to enjoy my home as much as I do, so I try to steer them some place that is friendly and conveniently geared to out-of-towners. You'll never hear anyone who lives here say anything good about the traffic, but compared to the Tri-State area, it's nothing. I'm probably just overly sensitive to it.
Here's a good question that I don't know the answer to, but have tried to find out: Where's a good 4 Star hotel, in San Diego, on a consistently GOOD surf break? I have yet to find one. You have to be able to walk from your room to the break in under 200 to 300 yards. Think Waikiki. Also, the Hotel Del Coronado doesn't fit the criteria. 1) I'm not sure I totally agree with the 4 star rating 2) Coronado is not a consistently GOOD surf break, okay sometimes, but that's it.
Im a nj native belmar/casino pier are my normal spots. I have been to CA about 16 times in 9 years for weeks at a time. I have family that lives out there because of military. One of the first times I ever went I stayed here http://www.carlsbadinn.com/ was directly on the beach next to a beginner break, a walk down the beach was Tamarak. It was late September the water was super warm I also think the pros where in town for the Trestles contest or the US open at Huntington I forget which one, all I know is that the swells where decent about 10ft. I surfed every single day more than I ever had in NJ and although Tamarak is a beginner wave my hotel was still right on the beach and the wave was better than anything I have ever surfed in NJ. Carlsbad was also cool because other than the beach it had a decent night life all in walking distance. Locals where awesome I had no issues. I would definite go back to carlsbad. I think that trip I also surfed Churces too... not sure the trips blend together. Churces had almost no one surfing it and the waves where good. Since then I have stayed close to Miramar SD which is very close to La jolla. This by far was the best home base. Like some of the other posters have said La Jolla is perfect a lot of beach access and its easy. I have had some great waves in La Jolla, locals where a non issue and crowds are not as bad as people say. Ocean side is ****! so is IB!! I would not waste your time going to either of those two places its trash bro. In my CA travels over the years I have surfed Uppers, Lowers, Churches, Swamis (amazing), Blacks (amazing feels like my home breaks but much better) La Jolla cove, Scrips, Oceanside, Iperial Beach, tamarak and windnsea to name a few. These are all well known so please no one cry to me. If you want more info you can also hit me up. I need to get my ass to ventura never been north of LA.
Like others have said don't worry about the "Reef" breaks in SD they are mostly stone and its not jagged stone either...you will be fine. Plus when I surfed my first real reef (coral) I didnt feel ready...you have to start some day.
Huntington Beach and Oxnard are "trash" too....but that doesn't mean that the waves are "trash". Hollywood By The Sea is almost a carbon copy of Blacks, except that you'll be paddling out with guys that look like they should be part of the Sinaloa Cartel.
I will admit that IB can get pretty bad, but I've never gotten sick in over 20 years of surfing that place. I just don't paddle out when the water is brown. Brown water = Mexican Brown Trout
P.S.---if you have any buddies in the military, I know of some bomb spots where you'll be surfing with just you and your buddy. Military pass is mandatory.
1. Whoever is telling you to stay at hotel circle is a quack. Its like 3 miles inland. Im sorry, but if I'm going on vacation, I'm staying ocean front...
Get a spot in PB/MB and you will have a blast. even if the waves aren't great.
As for surf, we should be getting winter swells around then. GO TO BLACKS EVERYDAY. Check the reefs in la jolla once and a while. I really like hospitals. Shallow short left. Windan gets so crowded with the ****head locals. and you must surf the cliffs.