Best Surf Spots in Santa Cruz County

by : Seb Frey



There are eleven break points along the best surf spots in Santa Cruz County and is known as "Surf City." Steamer Lane is host to the O'Neill Cold Water Classic on annual basis during the fall months. In May the Longboard Invitational takes place adjacent to Lighthouse Point. The Capitola Women's Longboard Surf Fest in held in October. Women of all ages participate and surfing skill participate.

Waddell Beach is very popular with boogie board, kiteboarding, and kayaking enthusiasts. Kiteboarding is a hybrid of wakeboarding and windsurfing. People are able to get forty feet of air from the waves.

Cowell's Beach positioned along Westcliff Drive, is said to have calmer waves. This is a popular surf spot for people just learning the sport. There are stairs from Westcliff Drive that lead out to the surf area. Capitola Beach is another popular surf area for beginners. Many people use longboards with the waves when conditions are permissible. Parking is ample and readily available. When parking in metered parking areas always have ample amounts of change and keep the meter updated. It is not uncommon to get ticketed right away when the meter expires since it is monitored closely.

The Hook is located along what is known locally as Pleasure Point. It is positioned at the end of the stairway located at 41st Avenue. Longboards are most popular for this surf area. Shortboards are only able to be used on days when the waves are higher. This surf is said to be best for skilled surfers. 30th and East Cliff is popular with Pleasure Point surfers. However, due to the degree of difficulty very few people are permitted to surf in the area.

Manresa State Beach is positioned along Highway 1. It is less crowded than some of the other beaches. The waves can become very high and rips are very common in the surf area. 30th. This surf area is said to be best for experienced surfers.

Steamer Lane is said to be the most popular surf area in the region. The waves get extremely high at times said to reach triple overhead in height. Much caution needs to be exercised when surfing in this area. Deaths do occur on annual basis at this surf point. Surfing goes on year round at Steamer Lane.

Moss Landing is positioned twenty miles south of the city. It is rarely crowded and has its beach break near the harbor entrance. Waves can get very high here, so it is recommended for advanced surfers only. Rips are common along this area.

Natural Bridges surfing is located south of the rock arches. Conditions fluctuate in the area so surfing isn't always possible. There is a lot of kelp and sealife in the area.

There are many places to surf along Highway 1 in the middle of Half Moon Bay and the city. North of the city is where some of the more advanced surfers like to go. It is advised that you avoid surfing in this area alone do to its secluded nature.