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Surfing Day
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Surf's Up

Throughout the Golden State, you’ll find amazing places to Hang Ten and celebrate the surf culture that is synonymous with California. In honor of California Surfing Day on Sept. 20, 2023, cities throughout the state are highlighting surf history, the best places to catch a wave and world-class surfing events. 

Hang Ten History


The center of surfing in Ventura is California Street, better known simply as C Street. Here, when the waves are good, it’s one of the best surf spots in the world. In 1965, pro surfers came to town to compete in one of the first pro surf competitions in the state. Many surf idols, including Sage Erickson, Dane Reynolds and Eithan Osborne, have called Ventura home. 

Santa Barbara

With an idyllic location on the Central Coast, Santa Barbara has attracted surf enthusiasts throughout the years. From board innovators like Renny Yater and Al Merrick to the birth of iconic Mr. Zog’s Sex Wax, the city has excited entrepreneurs and surfers alike. World champions like Kelly Slater ride the Campus Point and Devereux surf breaks, but the area is also great for aspiring surfers to learn with lessons from Paddle Sports Center or Santa Barbara Adventure Co. 

Dana Point

Home to the only surf museum recognized by the Smithsonian, Dana Point is known worldwide as a surfing epicenter. With the ominous-sounding “Killer Dana,” one of the most famous surf breaks on the planet, the area has attracted the top talent in the sport for decades. The city’s Doheny Beach was immortalized in the Beach Boys’ classic hit, “Surfin’ USA,” and the most iconic surf movie ever made, “Endless Summer,” was produced here. 

Huntington Beach

When you’re known as Surf City USA, little more needs to be said. Huntington Beach boasts the Surfers’ Hall of Fame, Surfing Walk of Fame, Huntington Beach International Surf Museum and the World’s Largest Surfboard. To celebrate California Surfing Day, the city is hosting A Great Day in the Stoke, the largest gathering of Black surfers on Sept. 16, and a Blessing for the Waves on Sept. 17. 

Where to Surf and Shop

Mendocino Coast

If you think you can’t surf California’s North Coast, think again — the Mendocino Coast tests intermediate and advanced surfers at Virgin Beach, Smuggler’s Cove and Point Arena. Gear up to ride the waves at Fort Bragg’s Lost Surf Shack shop. 

Del Norte County

Del Norte County allows surfers of all levels to catch a wave. Beginners find South Beach’s sandy beach break and mellow waves an ideal place to gain confidence. With its rock breaks, Pebble Beach in Crescent City offers rippers a chance to test their skills. Pelican State Beach, Kellogg Beach and Klamath also serve up waves worthy of a ride. 

Sonoma County

While the Sonoma County area is known for crafting fine wine, artisan William Beal, a.k.a Billy Blaze, is quietly producing some of the best-handcrafted boards around. In a world of mass-produced boards, Blaze’s boards stand out for their attention to detail and artistry.  

Half Moon Bay

Each year the best surfers in the world gather in Half Moon Bay to try and tame the largest wave on the Continental U.S. West Coast in the Titans of the Mavericks surf competition. Whether you’re a newbie or a seasoned surfer, the concierge team at The Ritz-Carlton, Half Moon Bay, can curate a surfing vacation tailored to your trip. 

Pebble Beach 

Driving California’s famous 17-Mile Drive is a must for visitors to Pebble Beach on the Central Coast, but it’s also a great spot for surfers. While Mavericks is one of the world's most famous big wave spots, Ghost Tree off Pescadero Point rivals it in magnitude and danger. At Fanshell Beach, surfers can ride the waves near Spyglass Hills, a haven for harbor seals. Spanish Bay Beach boasts the Dunes, Cobblestones and Mole Point for surfing. 


With year-round perfect weather, uncrowded beaches and top-level, underrated surfing, Oxnard is one of the sport's best secrets. For rippers, Silver Strand Beach serves up consistent surf breaks and powerful swells. It produces breaks like the Banzai Pipeline in Hawaii in the winter, making it an excellent spot for tube riding. 

Morro Bay

Surfers flock to Morro Bay to ride the waves in the shadow of the iconic Morro Rock, a 576-foot tall, 23-million-year-old volcanic plug that jets out of the ocean. Cayucos Pier is a great spot for beginner and intermediate surfers. Advanced surfers should head to Joe’s Surfboard, which offers high-performance, custom-shaped surfboards that tempt top riders.


Surfers of all levels will find everything they need to ride the waves of nearby Moonstone Beach or anywhere on the Central Coast at the just-opened Cambria Surf Shop. The store also rents equipment. 


If you’re looking for an uncrowded place to ride the waves, look no further than Torrance Beach. It has some of the best surfing in the region without any of the crowds. Located adjacent to the start of The Strand, a 22-mile bike path with stunning views of the Pacific, it makes for a great day spent on water and land. 

Surfing Events


With some of the best beaches in the Bay Area, Pacifica is home to the Kahuna Kupuna, a surfing competition for athletes 40 or older, the World Dog Surfing Championships and Grom Fest, a surfing contest for the kiddos. 


It’s not surprising in a town known as SLO that a laid-back culture that appeals to surfers is found. The city starts the year with the World Surf League’s SLO CAL Open at Pismo Beach in January and ends with the SLO CAL Open at Morro Bay in December. Each competition is sponsored by Visit SLO CAL and hosted by Surfing for Hope, a local charity helping families affected by cancer.

San Diego

On Sept. 10, 2023, see how much easier surfing is with four legs than two when the world’s best surfing dogs take to the waves in Del Mar. Proceeds from the fun-loving competition for Fido benefit the pets and programs at the local Helen Woodward Animal Center. 


With its epic waves, Oceanside is an official training location for USA Surfing. With such incredible swells, the city also hosts two surf competitions to celebrate California Surfing Day.  From Sept. 6-10, the US Open Adaptive Surfing Champs showcases the remarkable talent of para surfers, including hometown hero Liv Stone. Then from Sept. 22-24, the Nissan Super Girl Surf Pro brings the most talented US female surfers to town for three days of thrilling competition. 


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