Huntington Beach Surf Guide: Where to Surf, Where to Park & More
Huntington Beach, also known as Surf City USA, is a hub for Southern California surfing.
Huntington Beach has a rich surfing history and still does as it is still a staple for every surfer in the area.
It has everything a surfer needs from a wide array of surf shops to some super fun waves.
There’s waves that are great for learning and waves that are meant to be shredded in Huntington.
It might be hard to know everything about the waves here so we’ll break everything you need to know about them down.
What’s So Special About Surfing in Huntington Beach?
Waves in Huntington Beach
The waves at Huntington vary from perfect to overrated depending on who you ask.
It's definitely a hectic spot, there's no doubt about it but Huntignton still makes its case for being a great wave year after year. Most of the spots need north or northwest swells to get going.
On top of that if the Santa Ana winds hit Huntington on a medium tide it turns into a near perfect wave. Winter is probably the best time to score at Huntington.
The Surf Culture in Huntington Beach
HB is a town with a lot of history when it comes to surfing. It was one of the cultural centers for the surfing boom in the 1950s and 60s.
It got the nickname Surf City and has lived up to its name for the past 60 years. Despite being known as Surf CIty, it definitely has its haters.
Just listen to the punk song from the 80s by DI called “I Hate Surfing in HB”.
The surf shops and scene have definitely gotten more commercial over the years but that totally dismisses the rich history and amazing waves.
Equipment Needed to Surf in Huntington Beach
You’ll need a wetsuit most of the year and maybe even booties on really cold winter days. Late summer and early fall require almost nothing but trunks though.
The Best Surf Spots in Huntington Beach
Huntington Beach Pier
The famous Huntington Beach pier.
Look up HB on google and this is probably the first picture you’ll see. It's iconic and for good reason.
It still holds the US Open of Surfing every year in late July.
You’ll hear HB locals arguing about which side of the pier is better, in actuality they are both pretty decent.
The south side will be a little more crowded and it's also where the US Open usually holds its contest.
It's a pretty basic pier sandbar break setup.
It takes north swells really well and has both lefts and rights. HB Pier is also capable of holding size but it's also worth noting that the crowds here will be wild so be on the lookout for that.
Just north of the pier is the Huntington Cliffs section of the beach. It's a pretty basic mushy beach break setup.
The waves here are usually pretty lackluster and nothing special but the crowds are much quieter than the circus over at the pier.
It's primarily a left but also offers some rights.
Most days the cliffs will be pretty powerless and have zero push but it does take north and northwest swells really well and doesn’t close out when it's big.
Locals shouldn’t be too much of a problem here because there’s really no jurisdiction out at the crowded Huntington breaks.
Every surf town needs its jetty break and Surfside Jetty is Huntington’s.
This jetty can get really good and the south side of it produces some steep and challenging waves. The wave can get hollow with the right southwest swell.
This makes it a perfect summer wave.
The crowds aren't horrible on Huntington standards but aren’t great by any means.
Just be prepared to wait a while in between waves. Locals are also pretty protective of this wave and for good reason.
A 3 mile stretch of beach just north of the HB Pier, Bolsa Chica has a variety of peaks to surf.
It's nothing special but this stretch of beach is still loved by HB locals because of how quiet it is compared to the rest of Huntington.
It does have some trouble holding any sort of size and it can be impossible to paddle out because of huge closeouts.
This makes Bolsa Chica a great longboarding wave.
Wind also has the potential to ruin the waves here so early morning is the best time to surf here.
Huntington Beach State Park
Huntington Beach State Park is another stretch of beach break that is better than some of the other stretches of beach in Huntington.
It’s about a two mile stretch of beach so there are multiple peaks that are surfable.
The best breaks here are rights and they can get steep and heavy when it gets big.
The waves here are as good as anything that you’ll find at the pier but without the unbearable crowds.
This makes it popular among the locals and you’ll probably run into some local who claims he’s surfed a peak since he was a grom.
What To Do In Huntington Beach When the Waves Are Flat
There’s plenty to do in Huntington Beach besides surfing. First check out Main Street. It’s right by the pier and has plenty of things to do.
There's a variety of surf shops and restaurants to eat at after a long surf or when there’s no surf. It's also worth renting a bike and biking along the 8.5 mile stretch of Huntington Beach.
This is a great way to see the coast and scope out some potential surf spots.
Another fun activity is to walk along the Huntington Beach Pier and experience some of the rich history that the pier holds.
Huntington Beach Surfing
HB is an amazing surf town. In fact it is the quintessential surf town.
There are plenty of waves and plenty of spots to escape the notorious HB crowds, so get out there and surf them for yourself.