Top Places to Learn to Surf in California

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Thought about channeling your inner surfer dude this summer in good old California? Have no idea how to surf? We’ve got you covered. Rather than jumping right in with the original “brahs” you may want to check out this list of places for starters. That way if you fall the first twenty times, it won’t be as embarrassing.

1. Doheny State Beach, Dana Point

The state park that doubles as a camp ground can be a great starter-beach for your surfing ambitions. The waves are longer and shorter as well as gentle due to the break they make on the harbor.

2. San Onofre- San Clemente

Known for it’s friendly attendees, you’ll never be alone here. With good beginner waves, people are constantly catching waves and riding to shore alongside one another. You may even be able to find a fellow surfer to teach you a few tricks. You could also learn how to pronounce “Onofre”.

3. Cowells- Santa Cruz

Speaking of beginners, this beach, located in one of the biggest surfing places in Cali, is constantly packed with learners. So you can fail and succeed with newly-made friends! And if you and your wallet are really up for it, you can get professional lessons from one of the surf shops.

4. Bolinas-Marin County

If you are intent on learning and want to get some lessons—this is the spot for you. One of the most popular spots to take lessons, The Patch, has slow moving waves perfect for newbies.

5. Santa Monica- Los Angeles

Also equipped with slow-moving beginner waves, you can gain your skills and then move up to the big-kid waves in Malibu. Not to mention you’re in L.A. so it’s a win-win situation. Who knows? You could run into Harry Styles— L.A. is basically his second home. Surfing and fangirling opportunities; what could be better?


Everybody wants a reason to say “Totally rad,” at least once in their life. Unless you go against the grain like myself and say it anyway. Which, unless you want a lot of awkward silences, probably isn’t the best idea. However, learning to surf is probably one of the most acceptable ways to do it.

Where did you first learn to surf? Let us know your favorites in the comments! Hang ten dudes!