Everything you need to know about surfing in Huntington Beach

Welcome to Surf City, USA! While this is just a nickname for Huntington Beach, there is a good reason for it. Located in Southern California, Huntington Beach has eight miles of sand and surf just waiting for you.

While Huntington Beach is a small beach town in Orange County, it has a lot of surfing to offer. The consistent swell is probably the most notable surfing feature of this town but that should not be overlooked. If you can surf everyday, chances are you are going to get pretty good. This is why so many professional surfers have come out of Huntington Beach.

Consistency is the key to progress and consistent swells are the key to progressing your surf skills.

The waves don’t take a day off so it is no wonder so many surf contests are held here. Most famously, the World Surfing League holds the US Open of Surfing on the south side of the Huntington Beach Pier every summer. This event alone puts Huntington on the map for most Californians.


The US Open might take place primarily on the south side of the pier but this pier serves awesome waves on either side.

The south side is going to be most impressive in the winter with a north-west swell going through the pier. The arrangement of sandbanks around here create a pier bowl, which is responsible for the consistency and open face of these waves. This surf spot is going to be best for short borders that are ready to paddle in place to keep a spot in the lineup.

When the swells are working right for the right side of the Huntington Pier, you will find a crowd in the summer.

The pier bowl is still doing its job on this side of the pier to create both wonderful rights and lefts. These waves are going to have a rounded peak but overall they are going to be a shorter ride. This wave is going to work best with south-west swells in the summer and gets crowded because the south side is going to be a swimming only area.

If you choose to paddle out at the Huntington Beach Pier, expect some company as the Pier gets busy but don’t worry because there’s plenty of waves!


If the crowds are too much for you, venture slightly north to Goldenwest where you will find a comparable wave to the Pier but a lot less people.


Goldenwest, also known as 22nd Street, tends to be less crowded which is the positive but the waves here seem to close out quicker than at the pier. This beach break stays around 2-4 feet and is best in the summer and fall catching a south-west swell. For beginners, Goldenwest might be a good alternative to the pier.


If you are just learning how to surf, venture north to Bolsa Chica State Beach. You won’t be crowded or intimidated by the crowds and the waves are much more forgiving.


Bolsa Chica’s beach break tends to be smaller and less powerful than the waves closer to the Huntington Pier. This stretch of beach has more waves and different breaks to offer. The further north you get, the smaller the waves get.


When surfing in Huntington Beach, you can expect warmer waters but you’ll still probably want a wetsuit in the winter. Your go-to wetsuit should either be a 4/3 or 3/2.


The surf culture in Huntington Beach is strong which is probably due to its great waves and its history of surfing. Not only does the Surf City produce professionals but also legends like George Freeth.


Surfing is what put Huntington on the map and is pretty much what it is known for today. This town thrives off of surf culture further giving it its name, Surf City, USA.


While Huntington Beach is short, you can find waves anywhere along this coastline. You can paddle out and catch a wave just about everywhere.


While surfing here seems like a dream come true, there are a few things to look out for. The clear waters allow you to see what is around you so use that to your advantage and make sure to look out for jellyfish.


You can’t miss out on a chance to surf in Surf City so grab your board and get going and if you are hungry after your surf session, grab some food at Sancho’s Tacos!


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