Santa Cruz Surfing Culture

Santa Cruz Surfing CultureWhen relocating to Santa Cruz there are no doubt many questions on your mind about living in Santa Cruz, one commonly asked question is, "What is Santa Cruz known for?" Or "What makes Santa Cruz so popular?" Asking these questions helps a potential Santa Cruz homebuyer get to know the area and decide where they want to settle in or what they can expect when they get here. 

Santa Cruz is popular for many things, one of them is the surfing culture. It is said, with some dispute (not from us), that Santa Cruz is the first place in the United States to have a surfing culture. Legend tells a story of Hawaiian royalty bringing the sport to America first surfing the waters off the coast of Santa Cruz in the Monterey Bay and the sport took off in America from there. 

Santa Cruz has some of the most perfect surfing conditions in the world, and certainly in California. This is why the surf culture has long thrived in Santa Cruz County. The rocky coastline gives shelter from strong winds making the waves smooth and consistent all year. Santa Cruz offers big waves and small beach breaks, it is a place where surfers of all levels can enjoy the sport. Whether you are moving to Santa Cruz as an avid surfer or might be excited to try something new in a new home, you can do it in Santa Cruz. 

The Best Time to Get Out And Surf In Santa Cruz

As for the best time of day to surf in Santa Cruz, it is in the early morning and late afternoon when the winds are calmer. When talking about seasons, any time of year is a good time for surfing in Santa Cruz, depending upon your surfing level you may find different times of year more ideal for surfing. 

In Spring and Fall transitional seasons there is a mix of both winter and summer conditions found on the water. Waves can range anywhere from 2 to 4 feet on average with some larger waves coming through occasionally. These months are more unpredictable than the summer and winter. It is always smart to check the surf conditions each day before going out, especially in the spring and fall. 

Summer in Santa Cruz is the height of tourists visiting the area. It is your classic expected California weather full of sun and great for surfing. Warm water brings smaller waves making it the opportune time for beginners to learn a new sport. Waves are 1-3 feet on average. 

Winter is a favorite time of year for surfing pros. Surf City Rentals describes winter surfing conditions like this,  "Winter is the time of year when Santa Cruz sees some of its biggest swells. The cold water temperatures and strong winds create powerful waves that are perfect for experienced surfers looking for a challenge. Expect to find waves ranging from 3–6 feet in height, with occasional larger sets rolling through. The winter months also bring more consistent swell direction and size, making your surf session planning easier." 

Great Surfing Spots in Santa Cruz County

Now that you know the general surfing conditions, you may be interested in discovering where to find the best places to surf in the Santa Cruz area. There are several great places let's talk about the top 5. 

Steamer Lane

This might be the most talked about surfing spot in Santa Cruz because it not only offers ideal surf conditions it is in one of the most beautiful spots in Santa Cruz. Steamer Lane is located in the waters off of West Cliff Drive in Santa Cruz. There are four reef breaks at Steamer Lane one of them is popular for producing the best waves in Santa Cruz. It is so popular for surfing that you will not only find surfers but spectators along the cliffs. Take some time to check out the surfing museum in the lighthouse that gives all the details about the Santa Cruz surfing culture. 

Pleasure Point

Another premier surfing location that lives up to its name. Found at east cliff drive and 36th avenue. Pleasure Point offers wave conditions for every surfing level. This is often a busy surfing spot that is easily accessible. When surfing in busy spaces observing the surfing culture and knowing basic surf etiquette is essential. Pleasure Point draws locals, tourists, and people from all over the area. 

Cowell Beach

Located at 109 Beach Street Cowell Beach just might be the perfect spot to learn how to surf. For this reason, you can find several area surf schools at this location. It is a family-friendly location where you will find many local kids getting on a surfboard for the first time. The sandy bottom is a plus to offer ideal conditions when you fall off the board (it happens to everyone). 

Cowell Beach is a great place to spend a chill surfing day with calm conditions and great local shops and restaurants across the street. The Santa Cruz Boardwalk is just steps from Cowell Beach. 

Capitola Beach

Capitola Beach is the ultimate family-friendly destination. It also provides the ideal conditions for surfing beginners. The water is shallow and the waves are gentle. It is a great place to learn the basics, especially if you have kids who want to learn to surf. When you are done or need a break from surfing the beach has a great village area with ice cream parlors, restaurants, and boutique stores. 

Manresa State Beach

Not far from Santa Cruz in the city of Watsonville, is Manresa State Beach a favorite spot for local talented surfers. this is not your gentle beginner's surfing spot. Getting to the waves takes some work, but once you are there it is well worth it. Paddling out a quarter mile brings you to big waves that offer long rides. This spot is never crowded, but for safety always surf with a friend. This area is home to large northwestern waves with peaks and commonly produces rip currents. Manresa State Beach is at 1445 San Andres Road. 

If you are moving to Santa Cruz and looking for the perfect Santa Cruz home, I am here to help. I am happy to help you find the ideal home that has the features you want and need. Contact me any time with any Santa Cruz real estate needs.

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