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Bernardus Lodge, Carmel Valley
Surfing at Marina State Beach

Surfing at Marina State Beach


The Monterey Bay coastline is a popular destination for surfing. Because of its twists and turns, there is a section of beach that faces literally every direction of the compass. For surfers, this means that at any time of the year, there's at least one beach in Monterey County with great surf.

Surfing Monterey Bay: Insider Tips.

Jeano Abraham of South Bay Surfriders has been surfing in the area for over four decades and has the following advice on what to wear, as well as his favorite surfing spots.

What to Bring

Monterey's climate is mild throughout the year, and Monterey Bay's waters are chilly year-round. "You will need a wet suit year-round if you plan on spending an hour or so in the water," Abraham cautions.

Advice for Beginners

"Don't just assume that you can surf where all the other surfers are," Abraham says. "They may be a group of intermediate or advanced surfers." Don't be afraid to ask locals for advice, he adds. "If you're not sure about surfing a spot, ask a surfer on the beach. They can point out a more gentle peak nearby." Although no surfer is likely to give up information on his favorite, secret surfing spot, "most locals will help guide a novice to a safe beach on a particular day," he says.

Where to Go

"Generally speaking," Abraham says, "waves in Monterey are too big and the coastline too rocky to ride from Lovers Point to Big Sur, unless you are an advanced or expert surfer." However, beginners are in luck. "The safest place for beginners to try their hand at surfing is at Del Monte Beach, where most of the year the waves roll gently to shore in fairly shallow water."

For the surfer looking for reliable waves, Abraham says, "the beach that breaks most often is Asilomar Beach. This beach is in the open ocean, however, and should be surfed only when the waves are less than waist-high." Abraham gives other cautions, as well: "Watch out for riptides near the road and a few clusters of submerged rocks."

Another intermediate-to-advanced beach that Abraham recommends: "Carmel Beach is fairly well protected from the open ocean, but the riptides here have taken many lives over the years during big winter swells. Surf here only when less than waist-high."

Other popular beaches for surfing include local favorites Marina State Beach, Moss Landing and the beach at Andrew Molera State Park in Big Sur.

Lay of the Land

Lay of the Land


County Map


Click on the links for high-resolution maps of Monterey County communities, suitable for printing: Monterey, Carmel and Carmel Valley, Pacific Grove, Pebble Beach, Salinas, Seaside, Marina, Sand City and Moss Landing.


Fly direct from these five airports:
Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)
McCarran International Airport (LAS)
Phoenix Skyharbor International Airport (PHX)
San Francisco International Airport (SFO)
San Diego International Airport (SAN)

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