all year... what kind of question is that haha cali always has surf like over hear it gets good in the winter but summer times waves in california are great warm weather, good waves, hot chicks, the works! they have the pacific ocean and i think it rarely encounters serious flat spells like we see over here. but all in all california always has waves
Winter is best in CA. pretty much chest high+ everyday, all winter (at least this past winter)...
Spring you will get chest high - HH+ waves about 3-5 days per week, with occassionally larger swells and occasionaly waist to chest days....
Summer out here is like your fall back east... Our summer is more consistent than your fall, and the water is super warm. Summer is usually like 2-3 days of chest-HH days per week and when actual swells arrive, it can get up to DOH... Usually nothing more than that in the summer cause they are all souterh hemi swell....
As for the CA fall, my favorite time of year. Surf everyday... Ranging from mostly HH to DOH on the good swells... a few off days where the surf drops down to waist high or so.. It really starts pumping in October when the SW and NW swells mix together for a few months...
That is it in a nutshell... hope that help
P.S. The thing to remember about CA is how different everything works out here. Back home, you need an actual "Swell", whether its local windswell, or groudswell, the midatlantic just doesn't start breaking... So there are very small swell window that come into play.... In CA, pretty much everyday is "In Between" swells, where it is still chest high and consistent groudnswell, but out here we dont even consider that a "Swell"... That is just good old CA daily surf... we call Swells here when it peaks. Like, in the summer, it is waist to chest in the water all week, but we dont call it "swell", but when a SW peaks and it gets OH, then they start actually advertising it as a "Swell'
So, even when there is no "Swell" here, there is. There are some random summer days where you may need a high tide and a Log to get a wave, but there is something out there ALWAYS... So, you are safe to travel here all year, but if you want to just SURF, then come in the winter. Me and my buddies spent all winter surfing sick spots with only a few of us. I dont even recall a winter day that wasnt at least Chest to HH... So, if you mean it, come in the winter... But like everyone else out here, they always come in the summer... If I lived in the midatlantic, I would visit the warm weather out here in like mid january, get pumping swell and uncrowded surf..... In the summer, everywhere out here is crowded. Its like surfing in OC MD.
There is undoubtedly much more consistency in year round swell in California. In general, big south swells come during the summer months and big NW & W Swells during the winter. Different regions/county's are better during the different seasons depending on the geographic orientation of the coastline i.e. south facing areas receive more swell in the summer. One things for sure, the crowds are usually pretty thick - especially at the premier spots. Pick and choose where and when you surf wisely and understand your abilities, limitations and surroundings.
Honestly, if your planning a surf trip I wouldn't choose California unless you know somebody who can point you in the right direction. You really need to spend some time there before you get the gist of where and when to go and how to work the crowds. There are many better options that will cost you much less money and allow you to get more waves for yourself. I would recommend anywhere in Central America over California for a "surf trip" in the summer months.
Of course... it varies from location to location... South, Central, North... you just can't say "there's always waves" at any one spot in particular, but there's generally somewhere to surf within driving distance almost daily. There are flat days, though, but they are few and far between.
Man I would HATE to live in California, Hawaii, or any places with consistency. I would be up tight about having all the waves to surf, and having to work all the time! I am already occasionally at that point back here at home on the East! This last week I missed out on great surf aside from yesterday, because I had a lot of work to get done. Sucked.
I've never been let down in maybe a half dozen trips to California...i think ive been in February x2, May once and June x3. Never been when there was a real swell running typical in between swell conditions = stomach - shoulder high (at the swell magnet spots) and glassy every morning till 10 a.m.. By missing out on swells, ive scored RELATIVELY uncrowded (maybe 20 heads on the peak and many just sitting + talking) Lower Trestles several times, empty Cottons Point, chest high Blacks Beach with a thin lineup, Chest high Windansea with maybe 10 ppl out and mellow crowd. Pleasure Point and Steamer Lane at chest high and not hard to get waves.
Going to San Diego again later this year and can't wait. Love it.
Here is how Lower Trestles looks on a small weekday with maybe 15 ppl out. you'll be tossing buckets you didnt think you had in you! FUN!
Last edited by mitchell; Apr 11, 2010 at 02:02 PM.
i'm with mitchell. in jan/february i spent 2 months traveling up and down the california coast surfing everywhere i could and i never had a problem paddling out and scoring some epic wave. my favorites are definitely trestles & steamer lane. i moved to huntington beach 2 weeks ago.