Surfing San Clemente: A Comprehensive Guide

San Clemente is a coastal city in Orange County, California, that’s known for its beautiful beaches and world-renowned surf spots. With consistent waves year-round, San Clemente is a favorite destination for surfers of all levels, from beginners to professionals. In this ultimate guide to surfing San Clemente, we’ll explore the best surf spots, the best times to surf, the gear you’ll need, and important safety tips to help you enjoy a safe and memorable surfing experience.

Surfing San Clemente: Everything You Need to Know

Best Surf Spots

San Clemente has some of the best surf spots in Southern California. Here are some of the top spots to check out:

#1. Trestles:

One of the most famous surf spots in the world, Trestles is known for its consistent and powerful waves that break over a cobblestone reef. It’s a popular spot for experienced surfers and hosts many professional competitions.

#2. San Onofre:

This surf spot is known for its longboard-friendly waves and has been a favorite among surfers since the 1930s. The waves here are ideal for beginners and intermediate surfers.

#3. T-Street:

T-Street is located in the heart of San Clemente, T-Street is a popular spot for both locals and visitors. The waves here are great for all levels of surfers.

#4. Cottons:

This surf spot is known for its fast and hollow waves, making it a favorite among advanced surfers.

Best Time to Surf

San Clemente has waves year-round, but the best time to surf depends on your skill level and the type of waves you’re looking for. Generally, the summer months offer smaller and more manageable waves, making it a great time for beginners. However, the winter months can offer bigger and more challenging waves, making it a great time for more experienced surfers.

Best Gear to Use

Having the right gear is essential for a successful surfing experience. Here are some essentials to consider:


The type of surfboard you use will depend on your skill level and the type of waves you’ll be surfing. Longboards are great for beginners, while shortboards are better for more experienced surfers.


San Clemente’s water temperature can vary throughout the year, so it’s important to have a wetsuit with the appropriate thickness. A 3/2 wetsuit is generally suitable for the summer months, while a 4/3 or 5/4 wetsuit is better for the winter months.


This attaches your surfboard to your ankle, so you don’t lose it in the waves.


Protect your skin from the harmful rays of the sun by applying sunscreen before heading out into the water.

Safety Tips

Surfing can be a dangerous sport, so it’s important to take the necessary precautions to ensure your safety:

  • Always surf with a buddy.
  • Check the surf report before heading out to ensure the conditions are safe.
  • Be aware of rip currents and how to escape them.
  • Respect the local surf culture and rules.


San Clemente is a must-visit destination for surfers of all levels. With its beautiful beaches and world-class surf spots, it’s easy to see why. By following the tips and guidelines outlined in this guide, you can have a safe and enjoyable surfing experience while exploring all that San Clemente has to offer.

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