Learn to Surf - San Diego, California

A San Diego trip is not complete without a session of surfing. If you’re a beginner surfer, then there are many beaches where you can learn how to surf, plus many surf schools. Depending on the area you are visiting, there is most likely a beach where you can rent a board and gear, and learn how to surf from experience instructors. The list below is a San Diego beach guide where you can learn how to surf.

Learn to surf

Pacific Beach 

This beach accommodates surfers of all levels and backgrounds. At the north end of Pacific Beach, you’ll find long boarders where they gather at PB Point. South of Pacific beach, you’ll run into Tourmaline Surf Park, which is a favorite for beginners and long boarders. At The end of Garnet Avenue and adjacent to the boardwalk, you’ll find yourself at Crystal Pier. At this spot, there are waves all year long and is one of the best places to learn how to surf. If you’re looking for easy-going waves, Pacific Beach will be the spot for you. The level of surfing that this beach is best for beginning to intermediate surfers.

Ocean Beach

Head to the jetty, the holy grail of Ocean Beach. Ocean Beach is a great surf town with a variety of surf breaks. You can head south of the pier for a consistent reef that breaks mainly left. North of the pier you will find a lot of beach breaks where there are plenty of lefts and rights. Ocean Beach is consistent year round, and if you catch Ocean Beach on the right swell, you'll be in for a good time. This spot is best for an intermediate to advanced level of surfing.

Mission Beach

At this beach, the surf lineup can be just as busy as the north end of the beach where there are tourists who enjoy the water with their foam boards. Mission beach is not just for beginners and tourists, but experienced surfers and locals surf the beach when a swell is in town. You can also visit the South Mission Jetty, where you’ll find surfers riding impressive waves.

Del Mar

This fun family spot is where you can spot horses, beautiful beaches, and some of the best cuisines. 15th Street is where you’ll find an easy-going reef break that is available year round. When the summer comes around with warmer weather and the south swell’s waves pick up, you’ll see more and more people running to the beach for fun. If you’re surfer trying to catch a wave, and you feel cramped due to all of the people, then head north where there is plenty of beach break for you to catch a wave. Del Mar is best for beginning to intermediate levels.


Swami’s has some of the best waves in California when they are available. Skilled riders get the chance to showcase some of their best moves with the long and rippable waves at Swami’s. Because there are cliffs at Swami’s, this spot is protected from wind that ruins the surf. This spot is best for advanced surfers looking to practice their skills and become a stronger surfer.

San Diego Surf School is located in Pacific Beach and Ocean Beach. The surf school is the leading surf school in Southern California, and offers experienced instructors who are eager to teach surfers on any level, all while having fun.


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