More Details

Best Tide:
Mid
Best Swell Direction:
W, NW, SW, S
Best Size:
3 to 6 feet
Best Wind:
E, NW at Coronado
Perfect-O-Meter:
6 (1=Lake Erie; 10=Jeffreys Bay)
Bottom:
Sand
Ability Level:
Beginner to advanced
Bring Your:
Shortboard
Best Season:
Year-round
Access:
Easy
Crowd Factor:
Light
Local Vibe:
Protective if need be
Bicep Burn:
3 (1=1ft Waikiki; 10=15ft Ocean Beach)
Poo Patrol:
10, thanks to the Tijuana River (1=clean; 10=turds in the lineup)
Hazards:
Big poops in the lineup and who knows what else for the Tijuana River, big sharks outside of Tijuana sloughs
Surf spot travel photo of Imperial Beach

About Imperial Pier SS   Go to Imperial Pier SS report »

This is the end of the country -- head west or south any distance, and you'll either be wet or in Mexico. Despite the socioeconomic factors at work here -- a first- and a third-world nation divided by the most heavily trafficked border on the globe -- a surf off the borderland of Imperial Beach can be a serene experience. From the Interstate 5, take Palm Avenue to the beach, then head south on Seacoast Drive. Pull off on any number of side streets and find your own peak. IB, as it's known, breaks year-round and holds some of the best sandbars in San Diego County. Southwest swells are received better here than most any spot in central San Diego, making it a good summertime alternative to Mexico's beaches. Medium tides work best. The shape and location of sandbars vary: sometimes it's hotter near the pier, and sometimes it's better farther south. The very end of Seacoast Drive is a popular spot. There's plenty of public parking, and, south of that, sand and ocean to one side, and wetlands to the other.