Travel Information

Land Environment
Country Currency Safety
Mexico Pesos Organized crime,
Banditos, Driving at Night
U. S. U.S. Dollars Violent crime, theft.
Costa Rica Colones Theft, use caution at
night, driving hazards.
Barbados Barbadian
Safe, but getting more
Caution at night.
Driving hazards.
Puerto Rico U.S. Dollars Violent crime, theft.

Surf Information

Ocean Environment
Place Wetsuit Wave Size
Baja Full, Booties, Trunks waist high to
California Spring, Full,
waist high to
Florida Trunks, Spring,
waist high to
Costa Rica Trunks waist high to
double overhead
Barbados Trunks, Top waist high to
double overhead
Trunks, Top waist high to
triple overhead
Puerto Rico Trunks waist high to


San Diego County

San Diego County ends at the Mexican border and begins at Trestles next to San Clemente, there is no first town in San Diego County until Oceanside because of the Marine base, Camp Pendleton. The water temperature goes from 55 to 78 degrees and a fullsuit is necessary in the winter and a springsuit is nice for the summer. All manner of surfboard can be ridden in San Diego County, there are even some places that can handle some serious swell. This is possibly the best county in California to be a surfer. Plenty of variety of waves, colleges, fun beach towns, and America’s Finest City.

The first place to surf in San Diego County is Trestles. Trestles has a few different waves from which to choose. Cottons Point is the wave that is furthest north and is mainly a left and can handle surf well above double overhead. The next break in the Trestles playground is Barbwires. Barbwires is more of a few shifty peaks without too many people on it, which is definitely out of the norm at Trestles as there is no shortage of other surfers. Next is Uppers which is mainly a right, a very good right which is also very crowded with very good surfers. South of Uppers is a miniature bay which can occasionally have a rideable wave, but really the next wave south of Uppers is Lowers. Lowers is possibly the best wave in southern California, it is a perfect A-Frame peak with long rights and faster, but usually shorter lefts. There is almost always an incredibly talented local contingent surfing Lowers along with various professional surfers and plenty of surfers making the drive from other parts of southern California and beyond. If you don’t surf there regularly and only have a short window of time in which to surf, then you’re probably better off not surfing at Lowers. If you’re not in a rush and have low expectations for catching a wave, then you may have a very pleasant surprise and actually get a few waves. After Lowers is strangely enough a wave referred to as Middles which offers some fun waves with less of a crowd. Then there is Larry’s Lefts, which can be fun too. The last wave in the Trestles playground is Churches, named for the marine base’s church on the beach that it breaks near. Churches can be a very good right, especially when all of the sections connect.

South of Trestles is San Onofre which has many waves to choose from, but most are pretty similar. There have been some Great White Shark sightings, but no attacks. North of the power plant the ocean bottom is cobble stone while south of the power plant is mainly sand bottom with the occasional rock or groups of rocks. The first wave after Churches is Mecca, a favorite for surfers transitioning to shortboards. Then there is old mans and Dog Patch. These are mainly longboarding spots. San O is a great place to hang out with the family and friends, barbeque, and surf a little too. South of the power plant is Trails. Trails is a long stretch of beach break beneath a bluff that has different trails leading down to the beach. The trails are numbered 1-6 and each one has a slightly different personality. The most outgoing of the group is Trail 6 where there is a nude beach. The waves here can get pretty good. If you get to Trail 6 early in the morning don’t be surprised that when you get out of the water your bags, towels, etc. may be surrounded by a group of naked Brazilian super-models. Actually that would be very surprising because most likely it will be a bunch of naked old men and maybe an older woman.

Camp Pendleton stretches from the end of Tralis to the Oceanside harbor, but there is probably some decent beach break waves like Trails or maybe even some reefs, but you would need to enlist or have a friend or family member in the Marines to find out.

The Oceanside Harbor has some great waves, both near a rivermouth and between some jetties. North and South of the Oceanside Pier are some very good beach break waves sometimes with some very makeable barrels.

The next beach town south of Oceanside is Carlsbad. Carlsbad has some fun beach break surf including Tamarack, the State Beach, and Ponto. Less crowded surf can be found at the State Beach, South Carlsbad State Beach. After Calsbad is Leucadia and then Encinitas.

Encinitas has some very good surf spots and is a nice town to walk around. The streets, like D- Street can get fun, but Swamis is the main break here. Swami’s is a right point that gets very good and of course very crowded. Then comes the San Elijo Campground and the breaks in front of it. Next is the town of Cardiff by the Sea with Cardiff Reef and then Solana Beach, Del Mar. This whole area has little reefs and beach breaks scattered throughout.

La Jolla has a lot of great places to surf including Blacks Beach, Scripps, La Jolla Cove, Wind and Sea, and Big Rock. Black’s Beach is a beach break at the end of a deep water canyon that picks up and can handle a lot of swell. Scripps is popular with the college crowd, La Jolla Cove rarely breaks, but is the place to surf when it is huge. Wind and Sea is a fun reef break and Big Rock is a good left barrel. Everywhere here gets crowded.

South of La Jolla are three party towns, Pacific Beach, Mission Beach, and Ocean Beach. Each town has at least one or more decent waves. Pacific Beach has Pacific Beach Point and Tourmaline which are popular with longboarders. Mission Beach has a lot of beach break, but the left off of the jetty can get very good. Ocean Beach has a pier, but there is a very good right off of the jetty in front of the dog beach.

Sunset Cliffs is a series of reefs more popular with longboarders. There may be some places to surf south of Sunset Cliffs, but you may need a boat or to join the Navy depending on how far you go. Watch for sharks.

Coronado is a Navy town and some of the coastline is off-limits. There usually isn’t much worth surfing here anyway, but it is uncrowded. Imperial Beach breaks north and south of the pier, but the Tijuana Rivermouth is close so beware of pollution. The Tijuana Sloughs can have some good big waves, but the water must be so polluted that surfing it is probably not worth whatever strange goop you’ll be surfing in, there are safer, more fun, and less polluted spots to surf.