Howzit, brah? The waves are epic!
Over the last five decades surfing has become a large part of the Santa Cruz culture. With 11 world-class surf breaks such as Steamer Lane and Pleasure Point, it is easy to understand why so many dedicated surfers have an attraction to Santa Cruz, and why some of the greatest surfers in the world call it home!
General Surf Conditions
Santa Cruz is considered one of the best surfing locations in California. From the gentle waves at Cowell Beach – perfect for beginners – to the more advanced skill requirements of Steamer Lane, Santa Cruz has the surf that can cater to just about any skill level.
Capitola, CA – A good spot for beginners. Also, when conditions allow, it can be perfect for longboards.
Santa Cruz – Located between the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk and West Cliff Drive, the area is a great spot for beginner’s, and for riding the waves on a longboard. It is also home for surf and windsurf schools.
Santa Cruz’ Most Famous Surf Spot — Steamer Lane (also known as Steamer’s Lane or Steamer’s) is probably the most famous surf spot in Santa Cruz. It’s definitely for the more skilled and adventurous surfer.
Because this is such a prized surf location, use caution because the local surfers can be a little possessive and tend to apply a very strict code of conduct for those that use the waves.
Steamer Lane is home to the O’Neill Cold Water Classic surfing competition. It is also where Jack O’Neill developed the modern wet suit for surfing. More >>
Although it’s still a very popular spot for surfing, the area has gone through a major transformation over the last decade or so. Like much of Santa Cruz, it’s moved away from being a local surf Mecca lined with small beach cottages to something much more affluent with large multimillion dollar homes. But because its rocky bottom point break creates some fantastic surf, it is and probably always will be one of the most popular surfing areas in Santa Cruz. More >>
The beautiful bluffs, beach and surf play host to surf fishing, surfing, and other recreational activities. The waves can get really big with strong rip currents! It can also get very windy!
Half Moon Bay’s Most Famous Surf Spot – 45 miles north of Santa Cruz – near Half Moon Bay – is the, famous Mavericks! It can be found a ½ mile off of the Pillar Point Marsh shoreline.
During the winter months the perfect set of environmental conditions can come together to create some of the biggest waves on the planet! Although spectacular to look at, the waves at Mavericks should only be negotiated by professionals. Less experienced surfers can find more appropriate waves along the local beach beaks. More >>
Expand your search area to include:
|| Half Moon Bay Surfing – 45 miles north of Santa Cruz.
|| Monterey Surfing – 40 minutes south of Santa Cruz.
Additional Surf Links:
|| Wet Sands – World Wide Waves – Provides information on surf, tide and beach conditions.
|| WannaSurf – A free illustrated atlas of Santa Cruz Area surfing with maps of surf spots, detailed descriptions and photos. All the best weather and forecast maps. An interactive environment provides messages, reports and data editing.
|| Lighthouse Field State Beach – Provides information on the park next to Steamer Lane.
|| Surfer’s Museum – Provides information on the surf museum that is located inside the old lighthouse at Lighthouse Field.
|| Surfrider Foundation – A nonprofit environmental organization dedicated to the protection and enjoyment of the world’s oceans, waves and beaches.
|| Club Ed Surf and Windsurf School – Located on Cowell beach next to the Santa Cruz Wharf (800) 287-7873