|Find the best surf spots||
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Datum: WGS84 [ Help ]
Latitude: 33° 25.187' N
User rating (25)
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Exit 5 Freeway 'San Clemente'
DistanceIn the city
WalkInstant access (< 5min)
Easy to find?Easy to find
Public access?Public access
Special accessDon't know
FrequencyVery consistent (150 day/year)
DirectionRight and left
PowerFast, Powerful, Ordinary
Normal lengthShort (< 50m)
Good day lengthNormal (50 to 150m)
Good swell directionNorthWest, West, SouthWest, South, SouthEast
Good wind directionEast
Swell sizeStarts working at Less than 1m / 3ft and holds up to 2m+ / 6ft+
Best tide positionAll tides
Best tide movementFalling tide
- Rips / undertow
- Man-made danger (buoys etc..)
There's lots of paid parking, it only fills up on busy summer weekends. If you're lucky, you can find free street parking in the neighborhoods ~ be respectful, we live here. Please Don't litter. Paid lots are free before 10am or after 5pm.
Between Memorial Day and Labor Day, the only spot that isn't blackballed is the area north of the Pier. The rest of the year, you can surf on either side.
The most common spot to surf here is the north side of the pier. Due to ocean currents hitting the Pier Pilings, there is pretty much always a sandbar just north of the pier, and south swells will hit it and create excellent right-handers that will barrel easily.
You can get long rides here too, as long as they aren't too big. This place gets very heavy on large swells, and will close out and send you to the bottom, so be safe. If you go left, you can shoot the pier and get some cheers from the onlookers watching from the pier... listen closely and you'll hear their feet scurrying across the planks.
There are sometimes more peaks further north of the pier, and you will generally see a clump of people sitting straight out from the clocktower on the beach. It can get peaky here, but closeouts are common.
On a medium sized winter swell, the south side of the pier can produce excellent waves.
Ideal board size depends directly on swell size. If it's under 3 feet, bring your log and wait for a lower tide. Otherwise, you'll be wanting your shortboard.
For more information about San Clemente Pier: https://sanclemente.com/surfing-in-san-clemente/
The wave quality here can range dramatically based on swell size and wind conditions, and it's very easy to get here. so that turns this spot into a melting pot of groms, newbies, and wannabe pros. You'll likely never see a pro here, however, because if it's excellent here it's gonna be better somewhere else in town.
There can be some very aggro local guys here that will run you over (I'm looking at you, blonde dreadlocks). Remember that most of the people here are just trying to squeeze in a surf and share some stoke.
This is a very popular spot for beginners, especially the spot in front of the clocktower. However, despite it's popularity, it is not necessarily an easy wave to learn on. The waves can be strong and powerful, and are very likely to close out everywhere except the right off the pier, and that right off the pier is usually being caught by a more skilled surfer.
If you're not surfing, this is a great spot to watch, whether its from the beach or the pier. don't throw things at the surfers (unless they're harassing groms)
By Anonymous , 04-08-2009
PIER @ NIGHT - The SC pier is best hit at night like 1030-11pm at the end of a south swell. Nobody in the water and the waves on the N side rip lefts and are pretty well lit.
By Anonymous , 10-06-2009
It get good sometimes! - The Pier is often walled up. It really needs a combo swell to make it a peak and break good. Oh, I am one of the 204 Boys from the early 70's.
By Anonymous , 31-08-2008
pier - for the most part, the pier sucks. its usually small and mushy. that said, there are days when the pier can get really, really fun, but only like 7 days out of the year. if theres a solid sw swell (and you dont like trestles) then the pier may be the best option. and all the old time local guys are full of shit, trust me.
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