Where to Watch Surfers in San Diego? 5 Fantastic Spots

With its sunny beaches, gnarly swells, and laid-back vibe, San Diego is the perfect place to enjoy all things surfing. If you’re interested in enjoying the sport without getting a toe wet – then we have some amazing spots for you to watch surfers in action.

Whether you’re a local or just visiting, watching surfers carve up the waves can be an exciting and entertaining experience. In this guide, we’ll explore some of the best places in San Diego to catch a glimpse of the best surfers in their element.

So grab your sunscreen and a beach chair, and let’s dive into the best places to watch surfers in San Diego!

Table of Contents

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What is the best time to watch Surfers in San Diego?

Time of the Day

The morning and evening are frequently the finest times to go surfing. You will find the highest number of quality surfers on the ocean either early in the evening or just before sunset.

Due to pressure differentials between the land and ocean, surfing is best when an offshore wind is blowing, typically at the beginning & end of the day. In the middle of the day, on onshore wind sometimes known as a “sea breeze” develops as hot air from the land rises while cooler air from the sea flows beneath it. This blows the wind away from the ocean, toward the land, which makes for less ideal surfing conditions.

What are the best places to watch Surfers in San Diego?

Oceanside Pier

Why this surf spot?

This place has waves for days! With miles and miles of sweet little breaks, you’ll see all kinds of surfers from the newbies just starting out to the gnarly veterans who shred those waves like nobody’s business. Plus the Oceanside Pier is pretty cool! It’s huge! At almost 2,000 feet long, it’s one of the longest piers on the whole dang West Coast.

For spectators

The pier is one of the few places where you can catch a bird’s eye view of the surfers as they ride the waves and show off their moves. It’s always fascinating to watch them scope out the perfect wave from afar and then ride it all the way to shore. And, if you’re lucky, you might even see a brave surfer weave through the wooden pillars of the pier for an even more radical ride!

The surfing community in Oceanside is strong and it’s a blast to soak up their energy and excitement. Don’t forget to grab a bite at one of the cool surfer-run restaurants nearby, like the Beach Break Cafe or The Privateer. Hang loose, dudes and dudettes!

La Jolla Shores

Why this surf spot?

This spot is so good, even the seals come to hang out! And who can blame them? With miles of sandy beach, crystal-clear water, and perfect waves, it’s no wonder everyone loves it here. You’ll see surfers of all levels, from first-timers to seasoned pros, and everyone is just having a blast. Plus, with well-staffed lifeguards and plenty of amenities, you can sit back and relax without a care in the world. Just don’t forget your sunscreen – you don’t want to end up looking like a lobster!

For Spectators

There are two primary surfing areas on the beach. You’ll find the surfers by the best breaks on the south end of the shore (rolling in towards the pier). The area is has a very beachy vibe with a few fun restaurants, parks, and beach supply rental shops.

Windansea, La Jolla

Why this surf spot?

The waves here are no joke – they’re powerful, fast, and really pack a punch. But that doesn’t stop the local surfers from carving up the ocean with style and grace. Windansea has some of the most consistent surfable waves in San Diego which typically draws a decent number of surfers at peak wave times. This spot is definitely for more advanced surfers, not beginners. While you’re there, be careful not to ruffle any feathers with the regulars – they can be a bit territorial.

For spectators

If you’re looking for a front-row seat to watch some surfers catch some gnarly waves – head down the stairs to the beach off of Neptune Place street. With its high cliffs and natural arena, Windensea gives you the perfect angle to watch good surfers in action. If you want some shade take a little break in the permanent tiki hut on the beach.

Make sure to park your ride before heading down to the beach, as parking can be a bit of a challenge. But once you’re there, you’ll be treated to one of the best free shows in town.

Lower Trestles

Why this surf spot?

This place is the cream of the crop when it comes to surfing spots in San Diego, and it’s not just the locals who know it. World champion Kelly Slater himself calls this place his fave in the world! So, you know you’re in for a treat. The waves here are so long and perfect that you’ll see some of the most epic surfing ever. And if you’re lucky, you might just catch a glimpse of some pro surfers in action.

For spectators

The beach is a long walk in from the parking lot. It also requires some light hiking to get down to the beach.

Sunset Cliffs

For spectators

The area south of San Diego known as Point Loma is composed of rugged sea cliffs and is known collectively as the Sunset Cliffs. If you’re looking for a real surfers’ paradise, this is where it’s at! This spot is strictly for the locals, so you know the surfers here are the real deal. And the breaks here are so diverse that they can be surfed on a longboard or shortboard.

For spectators

Sunset Cliffs can be a little tricky to reach. Once you reach the parking lot, you’ll need to take the narrow staircase down from Sunset Cliffs Blvd. Make sure to wear some good movement shoes because, you might need to scramble up and down the bluffs & cliffs to get a good view.

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