Surf Trips in Northern California

What type of person are you? Are you someone that likes to go against the grain? Or maybe someone that likes to stay in the middle of the pack? There are really two types of people in my opinion. Someone that likes to test the waters to see what happens even when there is a lot of uncertainty. And then, there is someone that is risk averse and likes to take the safe play. Whatever person you are, there’s lots to explore. If you’re starting to venture out into unknown breaks, this might help prepare you for what to expect.

I’ve been living in Northern California for pretty much my entire life. Northern California is expansive and diverse in its geography. The entire state can be quite expansive with 840 miles of coastline, the 3rd longest in the nation behind Florida (1,350 miles) and Alaska (6,640 miles). But one thing is true, the Beach Boys and the phrase “California Dreaming” explains why California tops the list for its beaches and surf lifestyle. If you’re wondering where to go next, California has a lot of surf hot spots, you just have to find them. Take a look at this list from that lists the top 30 surf spots in the nation (close to half of them are in California). BTW, I will be visiting most if not all of them, so stay tuned! (There are some missing hot spots on the list, but I’ll keep my mouth shut for next time.) To begin your surf adventure here are some dangers to think about.


Top 10 dangers surfing in Northern California,

  1. Sharks
  2. Rip currents
  3. Big waves
  4. Drowning
  5. Unknown terrain such as rocks
  6. Localism
  7. Crowds
  8. Fog
  9. Water temperatures
  10. Bottom out

In order to prepare for your trip, you will have to measure your skill level and be honest with yourself. Do not attempt to surf breaks that are for more advanced and experienced surfers. If you surf a 2′-3′ wave typically, stay within your range. If you want to surf more difficult breaks, train yourself and build up your endurance by mastering your current surfboard and local break.

Here’s a critical piece of advice, study unfamiliar breaks by watching the waves and attempt understand how it breaks, locate the rip current and be aware of your surroundings such as rocks or where other surfers position themselves. Talk to the locals and be respectful.

If it looks too big or out of your comfort zone, chances are, it probably is. In my next blog post, I finally venture out and experience one of the best surf breaks on the Top 30’s list infamous for Great Whites. Here’s a preview. Until next time!

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