Finding the right spot is the first step to a great surf session. Luckily for us, San Diego County is blessed with a variety of surf spots for all preferences and skill levels. Whether you’re learning to stand up for the first time or trying to get barreled in steep fast waves, we can find a spot that works for you.
With 70 miles of coastline spanning Imperial Beach to San Onofre, San Diego has got it all. Whether you are after heavy barrels and high-performance waves like Blacks in La Jolla, or longboard and alternative friendly waves like Beacons in Encinitas, there is something for everyone.
While there is something to surf nearly every day of the year, it rarely gets bigger than overhead and is most often in the knee/waist to chest/head high range. Depending on the tide and swell, waves could be mushy and thigh-high in the morning, and peaky and chest high in the afternoon.
September/October is usually the golden window for Southern California, where optimal conditions can align. This means a combo of both North and South swells, offshore winds, not too cold of water and warm daytime temperatures. While the waves can get bigger on the good swells, there is almost always a good spot for a beginner to have fun too.
November/December/January/February, our winter season is the most variable in terms of condition. While some days are sunny and 70 degrees, some are cloudy and quite cold. Water temperatures drop down into the 50's and wave heights can reach 6-8ft. On most days, we can find a spot for beginners, but some days may be too big if the swell is peaking. This is best time for more advanced surfers looking to surf the region while it’s pumping.
March/April our spring can be fun and similar to the fall, but conditions are a bit more variable. It's still a fun time for surfers of all levels but its good to keep an eye on the weather patterns. Things tend to slow down as we approach summer.
May/June this is usually the slowest time for surf in Southern California. However, there can still be amazing south swells. The weather is usually overcast but still warm or at least mild enough to not need a jacket or a thick wetsuit.
July/August summer is in full swing and temperatures are hot and winds pick up early. That being said, this is the window for south swells to come in with good energy and light up the south-facing breaks.
Local knowledge is key to finding the best spot and time window to score good surf. Conditions are generally best in the fall and winter months where we have calm or favorable winds and lots of swell activity but spring and summer have lots of good days as well.
While we offer a range of options, this is our premium day package to get the most of your San Diego experience. Our day starts before dawn and we take my van loaded with multiple boards and wetsuits to the best break for dawn patrol and surf for up to 2 hours.
From there, it's off to a local eatery for a delicious and nutritious breakfast before we cruise the coast in search of more surf.
San Diego is home to a huge amount of different surf spots and we will hit at least 2 (even 3 if you have the energy) and you will have the option for a different board (from 11' gliders to high-performance thrusters) and fresh Rip Curl wetsuit for the second session. After our second surf, we can hit Mission Bay and stand up, paddle out to the barefoot bar for an afternoon hang, and then we can end the day at a local brewery or seafood restaurant (fish tacos anyone?) before I drop you off at your hotel or Airbnb.
I guarantee you two things: first, is that you will have fun surfing and exploring San Diego and, the second. is that you will sleep like a baby when the day is done.
With over 25 years of surfing experience, Christian is the owner and founder of Progressive Surf Academy San Diego. He grew up in Florida before relocating to Hawaii for much of his youth. He quickly gained competitive success and was a sponsored surfer for many years. He found his true passion was sharing his love of surfing with others. As he has traveled all over the world to surf, he has a vast knowledge base to share.
In addition to being an accomplished surfer, Christian is an excellent and patient teacher who can adapt his methods to your individual needs.
He has over ten years of experience teaching all levels of surfers. The majority of his experience came from working with the infamous “Uncle Bryan” and the Sunset Suratt Surf School on the North Shore of Oahu.
Aside from surfing, Christian has a passion for helping others. Together with his wife, who is a Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist, he has a particular desire to help youth with mental health concerns. Out of this desire, our charity was born. Giving back is a fundamental part of Progressive Surf Academy.
Progressive Surf Academy was born from the philosophy that surfing lessons should be about more than just pushing people into waves and yelling, “stand up, stand up!” Our approach to surf instruction teaches all aspects of surfing – proper technique, knowledge of and respect for the ocean, wave selection and, of course, having a blast in the water.