Experience

California

THE ADVENTURE STARTS WITH CALIBUNGA

Did you catch a great photo during a lesson with us? We love sharing photos and video of clients lessons riding awesome waves and wiping out! If you have a great photo you would like us to share you can email it to us, post to our social media, or #Calibunga. 

Check out our gallery for amazing photos of surf lessons in Los Angeles. Spot your favorite beaches a search the gallery for amazing photos of the Santa Monica Pier, Venice Fishing Pier, Zuma Beach, or the Manhattan Beach Sunset. 

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Calibunga Surf Lessob

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Home to the Hollywood entertainment industry, Los Angeles, California is famous worldwide for its palm tree-lined streets, perfect weather, and countless attractions. Boasting nearly 300 days of sunshine each year, the warm Southern California weather attracts millions of residents and visitors to the beaches of Los Angeles and surrounding areas. Not surprisingly, this makes the Los Angeles area one of the most popular surfing destinations in the world.

With 70 miles of Pacific Ocean coastline, Los Angeles County hosts a number of well-known and not-so-well known surfing beaches. The local beaches of Santa Monica, Venice, and Manhattan Beach are popular among surfers of all levels while the cobblestone point breaks of Palos Verdes and Malibu are better suited for intermediate and advanced wave riders.

Northern Los Angeles County (and by that we mean from County Line to the northwestern most corner of Santa Monica) isn’t what you’re thinking. This mountainous, lush, green, quite, wave-rich stretch of coast is the yang to metro L.A.’s formidable, grid-like, flat, paved, wave-starved yin.

The jewel of North L.A. County is, of course, Malibu, where Miki Dora laid down the law, and hordes of surf-stoked city boys follow it to the letter. This is the beach where Gidget hung out and where surfing’s mainstream movement took roots. Today, the retro movement calls Malibu its Mecca, and you’ll see groups of 19-year-old guys sitting on the hoods of their 1940s Plymouths, smoking Camel Lights, and combing their hair back. This sight can instantly transport you back to pre-Vietnam America, and you might suddenly get the urge to go out and vote for Kennedy. It’s not unusual to rock up to Malibu on a hot August afternoon with a 4-foot swell peeling 150 yards down the point, and see 200 surfers in the water … all vying for one wave. And if you drop in on Cameron Diaz or Zach de la Rocha, try not to hit them, they’re national treasures.

But Mal isn’t the only good thing about this northern wing of the city of angels. Other spots include Zuma Beach, Leo Carillo, and the enigmatic and occasionally über-perfect Topanga. Fish and longboards go really well in this stretch of the world, so don’t be afraid to do the time warp.

Southern Los Angeles County (from the tip of Santa Monica to the Queen Mary in Long Beach) is know as the home of the movies, television, and the Lakers, but it ain’t known for its amazing waves. The majority of this part of the county is simply west-facing (mostly closed-out) beachbreaks. Yes, they can get good, but usually when they’re good, Trestles is off its face and Malibu is doing it’s Kirra impression, so what’s the point? The point is, if you live in L.A. and you want to surf, you can. Go ahead.

Stand-out spots in the area include Venice Beach — which anywhere else in the world would not be a “stand-out spot” — El Porto, the Redondo cliffs, and Lunada Bay, L.A. version of Sunset Beach without the suntans. We don’t mean to slag this region, but it’s truly average.

Surf Crowds

Malibu is only eclipsed by Australia’s Superbank when it comes to the most crowded spots on the planet, but the beauty of Malibu is that it frees up many of the surrounding spots by collecting nearly everyone. South L.A. County isn’t one of surfing’s gems, but there is some surf there and L.A. huddled and unhuddled masses yearn to surf it if there’s nothing better to do. Keep in mind that Los Angeles County is home of over 10,000,000 people.

L.A. localism isn’t very strong because almost everyone in the water had to make an hour commute to get there, though you might run into some real old-school locals now and then.

Surf Hazards

Shark attacks aren’t very common in L.A. Scientists theorize that sharks have too much self respect to spend a lot of time there. The bigger dangers here are petty theft, super-heater car seats, parking, and ultra-aggressive, balding lawyers who use the ocean as a form of therapy. Just be cool, and really concentrate on the hidden meaning of the parking signs … they can be complicated. If you cross your eyes, sometimes the silhouette of a dolphin will emerge.

Surf Pollution

Yes. Avoid the ocean after a rain when 85 buhgillion gallons of god knows what runs through the sewers and into the vast, blue Pacific.

Best Surf Seasons in Los Angeles County

1) Fall

September through November is the best time to surf in Southern California with cleaner and even warmer conditions than summer. The blessing here being the more frequent offshore Santa Ana wind conditions. (Unless you own inland real estate — frequent tinder for the Santa Ana-fanned brush fires.) Add to that the early north swells crossing up with lingering souths and the exodus of the tourists, and you have little reason to leave SoCal in the fall.

2) Summer

Summer in Los Angeles is typically warm and mild with temperatures reaching into the 90s, yet cooled by the ocean breeze — T-shirt and flip-flop weather. Water temperatures generally hover in the high 60s through summer, which is a bit chilly, but you can still surf in the raw, and the surf comes almost exculsively from the south. Around August, temps get up near 70 degrees and quite a bit cooler from Malibu north.

3) Winter

The word “winter,” when applied to SoCal, is almost a misnomer. December brings generally clear skies and temperatures in the 60s and 70s, though a few nights each winter can get down near the freezing point. This is the rainy season, but many find it almost comical to watch the L.A. local news coverage of StormWatch 2000 — listening to the hype, you’d think there was a biblical flood upon the city.

4) Spring

Spring is a good time to surf somewhere else. On the upside, several good sandbars are left over from winter. An early session is your best bet, and don’t put the fullsuit away just yet. Spring is probably the least desirable season for surfing in L.A., but savor some solitude before school lets out for the summer.

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Surf Lessons

Calibunga offer amazing beginner surf lessons at five Los Angeles locations. Wether you are visiting the Santa Monica Pier, enjoying the SoCal surf culture of Venice Beach or keeping it close to LAX airport with a surfing lesson at Manhattan Beach we can accommodate your trip and promise an unparalleled experience. With a group lesson you can sign up the entire family and learn to surf side by side in the water under the supervision and assistance of a professional. Surfing is always better w