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A Guide to Malibu's Best Surfing

Top Malibu Surf Spots

Surfing Paradise in Malibu:
Explore the Top Surfing Spots and Ride the Waves of Southern California


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Updated on Mar 25 2024 12:12pm

Surfing Malibu

Welcome to our comprehensive guide to surfing in Malibu, California, where you'll discover the best beaches, waves, and insider tips for an unforgettable surfing experience in this iconic Southern California destination.

Surfing in Malibu, California is an absolute must for surfers seeking a West Coast paradise. Renowned for its point breaks and stunning beaches, Malibu offers top-notch surfing conditions for a significant portion of the year. With its expansive sandy shores, crystal-clear turquoise waters, invigorating salty air, and consistently ideal waves, Malibu stands as the premier surfing destination in the Los Angeles area. Regardless of your skill level, whether you're a novice or a seasoned competitor, Malibu caters to all surfers. While the summer months typically offer the best surfing opportunities, the local surfing culture thrives year-round. To make the most of your surfing adventure in Malibu, consult this ultimate guide, which highlights the best surf spots and where to find exceptional surf lessons. Get ready to catch some epic waves because the surf's up in Malibu!

Surfing Surfrider Beach

Surfing Malibu Surfrider Beach

Malibu Surfrider Beach, immortalized in surfing films of the '50s, '60s, and '70s, offers the quintessential Southern California surfing experience. Located off Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu, this world-renowned beach features three distinct surf breaks catering to surfers of all skill levels. The first and second points provide thrilling breaks for advanced longboarders, while the third point offers a more beginner-friendly experience. Families can drop off their kids at the surf camps near the lagoon by the third point, known as the "kiddie bowl." To complete the Surfrider experience, a visit to the historic wooden pier, east of the beach, is a must. There, visitors can engage in activities such as bird-watching, picnicking, fishing, and capturing the iconic Southern California scene. Recognized as the first World Surfing Reserve, Malibu Surfrider Beach is not only a surfer's paradise but also a testament to the importance of preserving wave breaks and protecting the local marine environment. For those seeking to delve deeper into Malibu's rich surfing history, the nearby Malibu Lagoon Museum provides a comprehensive educational experience.


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Surfing Zuma Beach

Surfing Zuma Beach

Zuma Beach gained fame as the filming location for Baywatch, but it offers much more than just a Hollywood connection. This beach is a haven for summer surfing, with ideal swells for beginners and intermediate surfers looking to improve their skills. While the waves typically range from manageable heights, occasionally they can reach up to an impressive 20 feet. Zuma Beach provides a more private and tranquil atmosphere compared to its counterpart, Malibu Surfrider Beach, making it an excellent choice for those seeking an escape from the crowds. The vast expanse of wide, long sands is perfect for engaging in various beach activities and games, particularly for families with children. Additionally, the southern end of Zuma Beach features a stretch known as Westward or Drainpipes, notorious for being one of the most challenging beach breaks in Southern California. The power and size of the waves are not to be underestimated, as even experienced surfers can be tested. Westward Beach Road leads visitors to this exhilarating surf spot, where big summer south swells wrap around the point, delivering impressive lefts that are sure to excite thrill-seekers. Despite its occasional intensity, Zuma Beach remains a favorite destination for families, offering an unforgettable beach experience.


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Surfing Pointe Dume

Nestled along the coast, Point Dume State Beach offers a mesmerizing landscape characterized by striking cliffs, rugged coves, and expansive sandy shores, making it a haven for exploration. This beach is not only a haven for scuba diving, swimming, and fishing but also a prime location for some of Malibu's finest surfing experiences. When the conditions align, intermediate to advanced surfers flock to Point Dume to ride the waves. While it can get quite crowded and parking nearby may require a short trek, the beach's beauty and unique terrain make it a captivating destination that sets itself apart from the typical white-sand beaches. Point Dume State Beach promises a memorable experience where visitors can bask in the warmth of the California sun and immerse themselves in its captivating surroundings.


Pointe Dume State Beach, 6800 Westward Beach Rd, Malibu, CA 90265

Surfing Topanga Beach

Topanga Beach, a hidden gem among Malibu's beaches, offers a respite from the crowds typically found elsewhere. This beach provides surfers with a variety of terrain options, catering to different skill levels. Whether you prefer waves breaking onto sandy shores or waves crashing over rocks, Topanga Beach has something for everyone. Surfers can enjoy longer rides thanks to the breaks found here. Steeped in history, Topanga Beach played a significant role in shaping Malibu's surfing culture, serving as a gathering place for some of the area's earliest surfers. Even if you're not hitting the waves yourself, the beach provides ample opportunities to observe and admire the skill of surfers as they ride the waves. Take a leisurely stroll along the spacious beach or soak up the sun while immersing yourself in the vibrant surfing atmosphere that Topanga Beach has to offer.


Topanga Beach, 18700 Pacific Coast Hwy, Malibu, CA 90265

Surfing Leo Carrillo

Leo Carrillo, located just half a mile south of the county line where Pacific Coast Highway dips near a picturesque cove framed by imposing rocks, is home to an unmistakable right-hand wave. This iconic surf spot, also known as Secos, was featured in numerous bikini beach movies of the '60s, adding to its allure. On most days, the wave peaks near the large rock outside, offering a lively inside section. However, the limited take-off area can be challenging, accommodating only a handful of surfers or a couple of determined longboarders. Complicating matters further, Leo Carrillo is a popular spot for windsurfing, especially when the northwesterly winds pick up in the afternoon. When conditions align perfectly, with ideal wind and wave combinations, the lineup at Leo Carrillo can be as crowded and intense as rush hour in the South Bay. For the best experience, Leo Carrillo thrives on a medium tide, with south or southwest swells reaching up to double overhead. Outside, a series of rock reefs come into play during big west or northwest swells, shifting the take-off zone north and outside the rocks, creating a setup reminiscent of a point break. On the largest swells, surfers can explore another point further north known as Primo's. Surprisingly, the water temperatures at Leo Carrillo tend to be cooler than expected, owing to the amusing fact that nobody has ever relieved themselves in their wetsuit while surfing there.


Leo Carrillo, 35000 Pacific Coast Hwy, Malibu, CA 90265
Malibu Visitor Guide
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