San Diego’s large swell window, exposure, and mild climate make it ideal for surfers year round. San Diego and North County are the 2 areas that make up the region. San Diego proper starts at the US border to Mexico and runs to the Torrey Pines area. This includes Imperial Beach, Point Loma’s Sunset Cliffs, Ocean Beach, and La Jolla’s favorite surf spots like Scripps and Windansea. Farther up is North County which is home to the famed Swami’s and Ponto Jetty in South Carlsbad, and includes the cities of Encinitas, Cardiff, and Oceanside. The geography is varied with miles of beach break broken up by scattered reefs, jetties, piers, and sandbars. It offers a nice diverse selection of surf spots for the millions of people who hit the beach each year.
Summer surfing in south San Diego means that the water gets crowded even if it’s not the best season to surf. The university and college students are out of school, tons of families are on holiday, south swells are dominating. By early fall, dry Santa Ana winds bring weeks offshore conditions. When school is back in session the water temperatures dip, but the beaches thin out. Winter water temperatures drop to the 50’s, northwest swells from Alaska hit south San Diego, and surfers break out their full suits and booties. Spring is a glorious season in the area. There will be rainy days followed by blazing hot sunshine. Northwest swells continue to dominate and the south summertime swells start slipping in.
North County and San Diego might as well be different planets if you ask locals but the 70 or so miles of coastline attracts surfers and non-surfers from around the world to bask in the glory of beach life that encompasses the area.