From Santa Monica State Beach and Laguna Beach to Newport Beach and Venice Beach, you’ll spot surfers everywhere, and feel the laid-back lifestyle. If you're new to California, the surf culture may seem like a foreign concept. Luckily, New York travel company AllTheRooms is here to share with you the top things you need to know about the surf culture in California...dude.
It’s said that the surf culture on the West Coast began in 1885 when three Hawaiian princes brought the sport to the Santa Cruz area. Since then experienced surfers and newbies alike have been tearing up the waves in California.
More recent surf culture history in the Golden State dates back to the fifties when local legend Jack O’Neill invented the wetsuit in a bid to battle the chilly waters of the Pacific. If you find yourself in California and want to learn more about the surfing culture in Santa Cruz, head to the Surfing Museum. It’s located along West Cliff Drive and very fittingly is housed in an old lighthouse.
Surfers in California, much like surfers from all around the world have a deep passion and love for the ocean -- that includes keeping it clean and healthy, as much as it includes surfing and swimming in it. Organizations such as the California Coastal Commission and The Surfrider Foundation have fought and continue to fight, to keep the oceans unpolluted and open to all.
These organizations have thwarted developers who have been insistent on using the water to make money, whilst destroying breaks, habitats and limiting public access. As a result of all the sustainable efforts, many of the ocean's bio systems in California are still intact and the waves are in great shape to provide good surf for all.
Part of knowing about the surf culture in California comes with the knowledge of knowing which beaches to surf in and when. The variety of breaks in the state is incredible, with big waves, point breaks, epic rights and sandbars to name a few. This variety makes it all the more challenging to know where to surf. If you’re not sure where to start, San Diego is always a safe bet. Take a look at the best beaches in America’s Finest City -- you’ll be spoiled for choice!
One of the most important things to know about the surf on the West Coast is that it’s generally consistent all year round. During the summer the swells may be a little smaller, but they’ll be good enough to ride. During winter you’ll find the cold waters measuring an icy 55 F, meaning many non-committed surfers would think twice about taking a dip. The waters are quieter and you’ll be able to enjoy the surf as long as your body can take the temperatures. Generally, however, there's really no off-season downtime -- you'll find surfers taking to the water most days of the year.
Surfing culture in California isn’t just limited to the waters. It also encompasses local restaurants and bars, surfing schools, shops, and boutiques. Some of these hangouts are a key part of the surf culture. The places welcome sandy the bare feet and dripping wet haired diners looking for a hearty meal after hours on the water. Some of the world’s best surfers can even be found in the famous Jack O’Neill lounge at the Santa Cruz Dream Inn, sipping on O’Neill Coldwater Classic or two.
Sage Fitzpatrick is a travel blogger currently living in London. She can be found drinking tea, reading and traveling the world. When she’s not traveling she spends her time blogging about her travels over at A Virtual Postcard.