A guide to surfing in Half Moon Bay

The Bay Area is known for its sights such as the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz which means people often overlook its coastal features.

Surfing in NorCal is just as popular as surfing in SoCal and arguably may have better waves. Half Moon Bay is just one of the highlights of surfing in the Bay Area but it is not one to miss!

Half Moon Bay sits just 30 miles south of San Francisco and 40 miles west of San Jose and is a favorite of most Bay Area surfers. The water may be cold but it sure will be worth it!

If you are just learning how to surf, head north over to Linda Mar. Here you will find a calmer beach break perfect for longboarders!

One of the pluses of surfing Linda Mar is the parking lot so you can paddle out quicker. You won’t have to miss any waves while looking for a parking spot.

The waves here tend to stay around 2 – 4 feet and break slowly making it easier to stand up. Just be ready for a long paddle out and don’t forget to stretch first. After your surf session, you can grab some food at the fanciest Taco Bell you’ve ever seen.

Half moon bay

If you have been surfing for a little bit but still not super confident in your surfing abilities, the Half Moon Bay Jetty is going to offer you good conditions to improve your skills.

The jetty, sometimes referred to as Surfer’s Beach, can be inconsistent at times but when there are waves, you can find an awesome beach break with faster, hollow waves. This wave is going to be preferred by shortboarders and anyone who loves a good right ride.

The paddle out here is much easier and shorter than Linda Mar so you will have lots of energy to catch lots of waves. If you’re hungry after catching all those waves, enjoy the view and grab a lobster roll at Sam’s Chowder House

Once you have more confidence in your surfing skills, you can head over to Kelly Street for a long and slow wave.

With longer, slower waves, you have more room to try new tricks and more room for error. With easy access parking and a short walk to the water, you will be ready to shred and show off your skills. Kelly Street is a great place to improve your skills and confidence as there are fewer people surfing alongside you, giving you the opportunity to catch a lot of waves.

For the more experienced surfer, paddle out to Dunes where you might find yourself catching every wave!

The waves at Dunes are going to be pretty similar to Kelly Street but slightly bigger with more chances to get barreled. There is not much of a crowd here providing you with your own surfing playground. With a sandy bottom, you can afford some wipeouts so try something new.

Next up on your surfing to-do list is going to be Montara for some tasty waves.

Here, you will find a front row parking spot and a great spot in the lineup. The breaks at Montara are pretty spread out giving you lots of room for a long ride. The south cove is going to be the most popular spot within the breaks of Montara due to its shape and how it reacts to wind.

Drive just a little bit north to Gray Whale to catch some good waves and perhaps catch a glimpse of a whale.

Gray Whale is going to offer both rights and lefts consistently but other than that, this surf spot is pretty inconsistent. You could have a short, slow wave on Monday and a long, fast wave on Tuesday. Park across the highway and find the never ending stairway down to the beach. Don’t tire yourself out too much in the water because you have a long venture back up to your car.

The most popular spot in Half Moon Bay is the world famous Mavericks. This might be a place to just watch rather than surf.

Surfing in Half Moon Bay

While Mavs is pretty flat most of the year, when it gets big, it gets BIG. Only the bravest of big wave surfers dare to go out here but when they catch a wave, it is usually the ride of their life.

Half Moon Bay has a lot of surfing and waves to offer. You definitely shouldn’t miss out on surfing any of these spots in your lifetime. If you are just thinking about surfing, you can head up to San Francisco and take a lesson with HOKALI!

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