After surfing Topanga Beach, I heard about the northern most beach from research and friends that grew up in SoCal named, Zuma Beach. Zuma has a 4-mile stretch of beach with plenty of space for volleyball and other beach activities. You can check out California’s Best Beaches for detailed information on the layout and what to expect here.
After arriving, I noticed some of the locals parked on the shoulder of highway. There was plenty of parking on the shoulder that gave you easy access to the beach, no need to pay parking. From what I’ve heard, Zuma Beach could be crowded. I surf in the mornings to avoid the heavy traffic and crowds in the line up. After I arrived at 8:00, there were only a handful of surfers out. It seemed like a pretty chill, but the real differences in comparison to other beaches I noticed took place in the water.
At first glance, Zuma Beach seemed to be pretty small with wave breaks of 2-3 ft. However, once I paddled out the waves appeared to be much bigger. The water crashes on sand break and in shallow water. If you time it correctly, you can duck dive past the wave, but if you don’t time it correctly you can get drilled.
The current was strong and I constantly kept paddling south. Zuma Beach reminds me a lot of Ocean Beach in San Francisco. There is a lot of open water and a strong rip current. You really have to pay close attention to your land markers just in case you get pulled out to sea. Since it’s open water along 4 miles of beach, you also have to pay close attention to the waves that come in.
Zuma Beach was the most difficult beach I surfed in Southern California for its large exposure to the sea and its stronger rip currents.
- Zuma Beach is a bit cooler a wetsuit is recommended 3/2mm
- There is a strong rip current that will push you north
- The waves crash closer to shore and bigger sets come in unexpectedly
- Pay close attention to land markers