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


Santa Barbara County

The Northern part of Santa Barbara County is really not part of Southern California. This is because it lies north of Point Conception. Santa Barbara County begins at Santa Maria and extends down to Carpinteria.

North of Point Conception, the water and the air are colder than south of Point Conception. Also, the Great White shark threat is increased as there is a considerable amount of marine life both at Point Conception and north of it. The swell can get huge in the northern part of Santa Barbara County, but also can get very blown out. It can be a very desolate place and it’s more than a little creepy in some places.

Jalama is a popular beach break just north of Point Conception. It offers some hollow and powerful surf, but does get blown out often particularly during the summer months when most surfers in south Santa Barbara County need to drive north or south to get waves. This is because the channel islands block most of the south swell from hitting south Santa Barbara County. Next to Jalama is a point break called Tarantulas, supposedly named because of the tarantulas occasionally seen on the road down to the beach. It’s a windy and pretty road to get to Jalama, you see many a cow. It’s not like a typical drive to go surf in Southern California and is a nice little adventure for Southern Californians.

South of Jalama and Tarantulas is Cojo Point and the Ranch. The Ranch has some amazing waves like Rights and Lefts, Lefts and Rights, Big Drakes, Little Drakes, Auggies, and more. Unless you own a boat or know someone with some land in The Ranch, you won’t get to surf it. Even if you know someone who lives there, if the other locals are out you may not be surfing that particular break until they get out of the water. Of course, when it’s good there are plenty of boaters to get the surf and annoy the residents often to the point of some yelling.

South of The Ranch is Refugio, a longboard-able right which rarely breaks. Next is El Capitan, which also rarely breaks but when it does it is good. El Cap is a barreling right hander which breaks over rocks and next to a campground. Next are some mediocre places to surf next to the road until a place called Naples. Naples is another right-hander, but watch the rocks sticking up at low tide. Then comes Sands, a beach break with some rocks for which to watch out, and the rest of the breaks in Isla Vista including Devereux, Peskies, Depressions, and Campus Point. Devereux can be a very fun right point, but gets crowded with college students like all of the breaks in Isla Vista. The bay between Devereux and Peskies can break when the swell is large and windy. Peskies is a mediocre break not worth surfing most of the time. Depressions can be a fun place to surf if you want uncrowded close outs with some corners. Then comes the right-hander Campus Point which unfortunately rarely breaks because when it does it offers up some incredibly good barrels, but filled with college students.

Between UCSB and Santa Barbara City College there are some beach break waves that can be had occasionally until the right-hander that longboarders prefer, Lead Better Beach. After this is the harbor break , Sand Spit, which is a right barrel.

Montecito has Hammonds Reef and Miramar, but these rarely break. Hammonds is a very good right when it does break. Between here and Rincon there’s not a lot of great places to surf. There are some beach breaks, supposedly some points, and Santa Clause Lane sometimes gets some surf.

Since most of Santa Barbara County is flat in the summer and the part that breaks is near Point Conception or further north, a wetsuit and probably some booties are necessary. Boards that can be used would be longboards, shortboards, hybrid/fish, standard shortboards, step-ups, and semi-guns.

Hazards are just the surf when it’s big, and in the north there’s a remote possibility of a shark encounter, or an encounter with surly bearded old guys in the water, and the weather is cold.