San Francisco’s Ocean Beach is a popular surf spot known for its consistent waves and picturesque setting. While the main surf breaks are well-known among surfers, there are lesser-known spots waiting to be discovered by those who seek a more unique surfing experience. In this comprehensive guide, we will reveal five secret surfing spots at Ocean Beach that offer a thrilling ride for adventurous wave riders. Whether you are a local or a visitor, these hidden gems will bring a new dimension to your Ocean Beach surfing escapades.
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Sutro Baths Ruins
Sutro Baths Ruins, located at the north end of Ocean Beach, near the historic Sutro Baths ruins, this surf spot offers a secluded experience away from the crowds. The waves here break over a rocky bottom, making it a challenging spot suitable for intermediate to advanced surfers. The unique location, surrounded by the remnants of the once-grand Sutro Baths, adds a touch of intrigue and history to your surfing adventure.
To access the Sutro Baths Ruins surf spot, park in the nearby lot at Lands End and walk along the coastal trail, keeping an eye out for a path leading down to the beach. Be prepared for a steep descent and ensure that you have the appropriate footwear. Additionally, always check the tide and swell conditions before heading out, as the waves can be unpredictable.
The South Windmill spot, near the southern end of Ocean Beach, is a hidden gem often overlooked by surfers. The waves here break near the shore, making it an ideal spot for shortboarders seeking a thrilling ride. The picturesque windmill nearby adds charm to this less-crowded surf spot. Keep in mind that rip currents can be strong in this area, so always exercise caution when surfing here.
To access the South Windmill surf spot, park in the Beach Chalet parking lot and walk south along the beach until you reach the windmill. The surf break can be found just offshore, and it’s best to observe the conditions from the beach before paddling out. Remember to be respectful of other beach users and maintain a safe distance from swimmers and sunbathers.
Tucked away between the North Ocean Beach break and the famous Cliff House, Kelly’s Cove is a favorite among local surfers. The waves here tend to be smaller and more manageable, making it a great spot for beginner and intermediate surfers. The sheltered location also means that the waves are less affected by the wind, resulting in a smoother surfing experience.
To find Kelly’s Cove, park near the Cliff House and walk along the beach to the south. The surf break is located just offshore and can be easily spotted by the cluster of surfers in the water. Keep in mind that this spot can get crowded, so be prepared to share the waves and always practice proper surf etiquette.
North End Sandbars
The North End Sandbars are a collection of shifting sandbars that create dynamic and ever-changing surf breaks. These elusive spots can be challenging to find, but they offer an exciting and unpredictable surfing experience for those willing to explore. The sandbars are best surfed during low to mid-tide, and their location can vary depending on the time of year and wave conditions.
To access the North End Sandbars, park near the northernmost point of Ocean Beach and walk along the shoreline. Keep an eye out for changes in the waves and sandbars, and be prepared to explore until you find the perfect break. As the sandbars shift frequently, it’s essential to be aware of your surroundings and pay attention to the changing conditions while surfing.
Seagull Island is a small, rocky outcrop located just offshore from Ocean Beach. This hidden surf spot offers a unique experience for advanced surfers seeking a more challenging ride. The waves here break over a shallow reef, creating fast, hollow sections that are perfect for experienced wave riders. Due to its remote location and tricky access, Seagull Island is rarely crowded, making it an ideal spot for those seeking a more solitary surfing experience.
To reach Seagull Island, you’ll need to paddle out from the main stretch of Ocean Beach. Be aware that the paddle can be challenging due to strong currents and the distance from the shore. It’s essential to assess your skill level and physical fitness before attempting this surf spot, as well as to check the local surf reports and weather conditions.
San Francisco’s Ocean Beach offers more than just its well-known surf breaks. For those willing to venture off the beaten path, the hidden gems listed above provide a unique and thrilling surfing experience. These secret spots cater to surfers of various skill levels, from beginners looking for smaller waves to advanced riders seeking a challenging ride.
As always, it’s essential to keep safety in mind when exploring these lesser-known surf spots. Be aware of the local conditions, respect the environment, and adhere to Leave No Trace principles. By doing so, you’ll help preserve these special surf spots for future generations of wave riders.
In addition to the fantastic surf spots, Ocean Beach and the surrounding area offer a vibrant surf culture and community. Be sure to check out local surf shops, cafes, and events, and don’t hesitate to strike up a conversation with fellow surfers. The camaraderie and shared passion for the sport make the experience even more unforgettable.
So, grab your board and get ready to uncover the hidden world of wave riding at San Francisco’s Ocean Beach. With these five secret surfing spots, you’ll discover a new side to this iconic surf destination and create memories that will last a lifetime. Happy surfing!