Saturday 16th June will mark International Surfing Day, where people will come together across the globe to celebrate this year’s theme ‘Protect & Enjoy’, encouraging people to give back to the ocean and help to protect and preserve its natural beauty.
California is arguably the place to surf in the USA, so where better to start your adventure than on the Golden beaches of the Golden State. The state offers multiple ways to get involved in surfing all year round with a variety of beach related activities, surf lessons, competitions and ways to discover California’s best surf spots.
To celebrate International Surfing Day here are 7 ways to ‘Hang ten’ in some of California’s top surfing destinations.
Huntington Beach is widely known as Surf City USA ® after the first surfer took to the waters at the Huntington Beach Pier over 100 years ago. It’s now widely recognised for its famous surf culture and lifestyle. As well as hosting the Vans US Open, the world’s largest surf competition, where over 500,000 visitors arrive to see the best surfing legends in action every July. The Surfrider Foundation will celebrate International Surfing Day with a community of everyday people who passionately protect our oceans and beaches. Held on the north side of the pier, visitors are invited to join in a beach clean-up, environmental awareness sessions, live music and of course surfing.
For surfing of a different kind try San Francisco, The Bay Area also offers an ideal destination for kite surfing, complete with incredible views, breaking waves and uncrowded beaches including a colourful backdrop to the iconic Golden Gate Bridge. The San Francisco Chapter, an organisation that is responsible for protecting the diverse coastline within San Francisco County, finds creative ways to prevent plastic pollution from making it to the beach and ocean in the first place. To celebrate International Surfing Day they are hosting a variety of festivities including a beach clean-up event on Ocean Beach and a free ‘barbeque, bands & beers’ event at Park Chalet with live music all day.
Beginners can head towards La Jolla Shores, an ideal place to learn to ‘hang ten’ due to its calm-moderate waters. Surf Divas Surf School is a great place to take to the waves, which started as an all-girls surf school 22 years ago, it provides year-round private and group lessons for all ages. All summer, San Diego’s surf culture hosts competitions and events, stick around in July for the surFUR four-legged shredders to raise funds for the San Diego Humane Society. To celebrate International Surfing Day The San Diego Chapter will be hosting yoga classes and surf lessons, offering free surf board rentals along with food and stalls.
For those looking fulfil their lifelong dream of learning to surf, there is no better place to start than in the US’s birthplace of mainland surfing and home of surfing legend Jack O’Neill. Santa Cruz is a great place for first-timers with a range of beaches that accommodate all levels. The best place to start is Cowell’s Beach which offers long, gentle waves textbook for longboarding. For those looking to catch the pros head north to Mavericks, where ocean swells pile up against an offshore reef about 2 miles off the Northern California coastline with waves reaching 80 feet. When that happens, a select group of 24 surfers (plus alternates) get invited to compete in a competition with the start time only announced 24 hours in advance so surfers (and fans) have to be ready to pack up their boards and go as soon as Mavericks gets a green light. An easier option is to join the ‘Titans of mavericks’ competition from the shore line and stick around for the awards presentation, when surfers often linger to chat with fans.
All surf lovers should know about Rincon Point in Santa Barbara – located off Highway 101 between La Conchita and Carpinteria. They say things worth having don’t come easy; this area is legendary with surfers around the world hitchhiking to this location to catch a wave, especially for the famous break known as The Queen of the Coast. Rincon Point has also been a testing ground for surfboard technology and its waves have tested designs by Santa Barbara’s most famous surfers and surfboard designers.
With a stretching coastline of more than 30 miles along the Pacific and Highway One, Malibu has achieved almost mythological status among California beach towns. While it may sound exclusive, there is plenty of Malibu magic for visitors to access too. Considered to have some of the most perfect waves, Malibu’s Surfrider Beach, just off the Malibu Pier, was named the first World Surfing Reserve and nearby Zuma Beach is a sun magnet for locals and families. For more contemporary, beachy masterpieces check out the 30 historic surfboards on display, some dating back to the 1910s, at the Surf Museum at Pepperdine University’s Payson Library. Check in for a stay at the new Surfrider Hotel, with cool beach aesthetics and free board rental.
International Surfing Day in not complete without a visit to The California Surf Museum in Oceanside, where it celebrates the State’s surfing tradition. Step inside to see historic boards and exhibits honouring legends who have carved the waves here. The museum also offers many revolving exhibits each year, with the current exhibition titled ‘Surfers, the Vietnam War, and the Healing Power of Wave-riding’. Showcasing a rare set of archives consisting of photos, first-hand accounts, surfboards, and memorabilia from those who were there. The story of the tales of scores of veterans who surfed in Vietnam during the war has never before been told. Throughout the area, especially in beach towns like Leucadia and Encinitas, visitors will find plenty of board shops, including Hansen Surfboards (open since 1961); stop by these venerable hangouts to get tips on local lessons.
For further information, please visit www.visitcalifornia.com
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