More Details

Best Tide:
Best Swell Direction:
Combo of swells SSE, S, SW with WSW, W, WNW
Best Size:
Shoulder- to 3 feet overhead
Best Wind:
NE, Santa Anas
7 (1=Lake Erie; 10=Jeffreys Bay)
Ability Level:
Beginner to advanced
Bring Your:
Shortboard, longboard, fish, funboard
Best Season:
Year-round, but fall can be epic
Free parking on side streets and meters
Crowd Factor:
Zoo at the pier and Cliffs, everyone is spread out elsewhere
Local Vibe:
Can be heavy at the pier, a few grumps at Cliffs, otherwise mild
Bicep Burn:
6, but can be a 10 on a south swell current (1=1ft Waikiki; 10=15ft Ocean Beach)
Poo Patrol:
6, and State Beach can be a 10 near the Santa Ana River if it's flowing. (1=clean; 10=turds in the lineup)
Locals at the pier, pier pilings, car rip-offs at Cliffs, Southerly current, loose longboards at South Bolsa, baby white sharks at the Huntington Flats.
Surf spot travel photo of Golden West

About Goldenwest   Go to Goldenwest report »

Huntington Beach is the alleged Surf City: a land of palm trees, riots, reform madness, body art, heat sheets, pink stucco, and a surfing Walk of Fame. Huntington, like many of Hollywood's sagging heroes of yesteryear, has undergone some major cosmetic surgery over the past few years. The Pier alone has been reconstructed some half dozen times. Mom-and-pop liquor stores and surf shops have transformed into block-sized palaces equipped with movie theaters, health food and top-rate surf goods. Like it or not, the days of Huntington as a mellow little surf town are over.

Despite all the surrounding changes, the waves remain unchanged. Diehards swear by the break, claiming it's the ultimate surfer's wave, and others just laugh and say that contest organizers can have it every day of the year, for all they care. Whatever the case, there are still classic California days to be had at the Pier. Just wake up early one morning and if it's a peaky swell with Santa Ana winds, you'll side with the diehards. The division between the two main breaks is a logical one.