|Find the best surf spots||
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Datum: WGS84 [ Help ]
Latitude: 36° 56.915' N
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DistanceIn the city
WalkShort walk (5-15 mn)
Easy to find?Easy to find
Public access?Public access
Wave qualityRegional Classic
BottomFlat rocks with sand
PowerHollow, Fast, Powerful, Fun, Ledgey
Normal lengthNormal (50 to 150m)
Good day lengthLong (150 to 300 m)
Good swell directionNorthWest, West, SouthWest, South
Good wind directionSouthEast, East, NorthEast
Swell sizeStarts working at 1.0m-1.5m / 3ft-5ft and holds up to 5m / 16 ft and over
Best tide positionAll tides
Best tide movementRising and falling tides
Week crowdFew surfers
Access is easy enough, there are 3 places you can access the area/park: Free parking on Swanton, state beach parking that will save you a hundred yards+ of walking, or if you are adventurous, you can park at the Marine Lab and make your way down side of the cliff to the north. All otherwise you will have a short walk across the beach and a shelf rock reef, which can hurt your feet if you don't walk it right. I would say wearing booties will really help you out until you get dialed in here, the reef is fairly flat, but can be sharp, so you can get messed up, especially when you get caught inside the main peak on 6-8ft days. Bring your down the line board on most days, the main attraction is a fast, shallow barrel on the inside section, be prepared for it.
There are at least 5-6 different peaks you can surf on various types of swells:
Winter: This is your time to get Sidewalks at it's best. I saw it break most perfectly the late afternoon before the December 4th, 2007 NW swell, very long period, very consistent, this makes for better 2nd and 3rd+ waves as more water will be sucked off the reef. Generally more inconsistent than other breaks on the Westside, but also the most hollow wave you will find on most days. Marine Labs will also be good on early season swells while the sand is still there. If you dare, paddle north on low tide midsize west swells to find a secret surprise.
Summer: This is when you will find a much larger diversity of waves all over the Natural Bridges reef. Starting at the very north, directly in front of the Marine Labs point is a slab wave that breaks over a big flat rock that sticks up at low tide(surf it high tide), really not a great wave compared to the others. Marine Labs is a local summer spot that actually regularly houses a lot of out of towners. You can surf this spot at low or high tide, but generally 2-3 ft is best for surfing the main peak at 3-5 ft. The outside peak gets very serious at size, and is usually a closeout. There is also a left on the other side of the channel that runs right into shallow rocks, works on any swell but only on wide sets. Sidewalks will only break on summer swells over 4ft on the buoy, and it's generally less makeable with all the sand it has on it during summertime. Finally, there is a left that breaks off the iconic natural bridge off the beach. Generally very mushy, it occasionally offers a nice 50 yard wall to ride into a closeout.
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