Surfing is a must try for the time you are living in California, so put it on your list! It is a fun thing to do!
Northern California might not be Hawaii, where you can go without a wetsuit. But it is lots of fun, tiring and relaxing at the same time. I am usually the kind of person preferring to look at water than being in it, but after my first surfing trip to Santa Cruz I totally fell in love with both, surfing and Santa Cruz.
There are a couple of nice surf spots for beginners in and around the Bay Area. My favorite ones are Linda Mar in Pacifica, Cowel’s Beach and 38th street, both in Santa Cruz. All have their pro and cons, but mainly it really depends on the surf. The surf is better in fall, winter and early spring than in summer. Of cause the beach and water is a lot warmer in summer, even so it can be foggy on the coast on early summer mornings.
It is recommended to check the surf before you leave, or a day before. Surfline.com is a good website to check the conditions. Poor to fair with 3-5 feet waves is good to start with.
Unless you have a surfer friend, a surfing book or watch tips for beginners on youtube, it can be helpful to take a surfing lesson to get the basics. No matter what, be prepared to be dumped by waves during your first tries, remember starting something new is never easy. You will be rewarded even just by the feeling of lying on your belly and riding your board towards the shore – wonderful!
The most valuable learning for me was body surfing. Even if your board disappears in the wave below you, stiffen your body and the wave will carry you.
Don’t miss a chat from surfer to surfer while waiting for the next wave; seeing eager paddlers trying to catch a wave and flying surfboards of dumped surfers…
Linda blogging from Menlo Park.