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5 Surf Spots around Santa Barbara

surfing santa barbara

Surfing and Santa Barbara go hand in hand! Santa Barbara is famous for its beaches and there are several surfing spots that are popular with surfers. Since 1998, Santa Barbara Adventure Company’s surfing trips have been a great way to experience this exciting sport! Our knowledgeable guides focus on the fundamentals–reading water, paddling, etiquette, catching waves and riding. We choose surf sites based on the current swell and tide conditions, finding the best breaks for successful learning. So where are the best beaches to catch a wave? Take a look at the following best surfing spots in Santa Barbara and the surrounding area!

Big Drakes
The wave quality at Big Drakes is regional classic and the normal length of the waves on a good day is between 300 and 500 meters. The direction of the swell and the wind is northwest. The swell starts working up at 3.5 meters and holds up to 4 meters. The Tide here is between low and mid. During the weekend this spot is crowded, since this is a place which is popular with surfers.

El Capitan
This surfing spot is for experienced surfers only. At El Capitan, the wave quality is world class. The waves are 150 to 300 meters on a normal day and 300 to 500 meters on a good day. The direction of the swell is West ward and the wind direction is North, Southeast, East and Northeast. The El Capitan surfing spot is open to public access and is crowded during the weekends.

Driftwoods is open to the public and is accessible to all surfers. The wave quality is awesome! This spot is sandy with rocks so you need to be careful. Normal wave length is 50 to 150 meters on a normal day and 150 to 300 meters on a good day.

Campus Point
The wave quality at Campus Point is standard and the beach is sandy. Campus Point is located right near the University of California, Santa Barbara campus. This surf spot is open to the public. On a normal day the wave length is less than 50 meters and on a good day it is between 150 to 300 meters. The direction of the swell is Northwest, West and Southeast with the wind direction at North, Southeast, East and Northeast. If you are a beginner, this is a great place to try. A big west swell makes for long right-breaking waves that can go for 100 yards.

The Coral surfing spot is open to public access, great for experienced surfers and the wave quality here is standard. On normal days the wave length is less than 50 meters and between 50 to 150 meters on a good day. During the week the spot is relatively empty and on weekends it is crowded. This place offers some good challenges with all the corals and sharp rocks present.

Where is our favorite spot for surf lessons? Well, you will just have to join us on a trip to find out. Here at Santa Barbara Adventure Company, we offer 2–hour Surfing Lessons and Full-day Surfing Lessons at this location. If you are really adventurous, we even offer a 2-day Surfing Lesson! We pick one of several popular local’s favorites for a perfect break for beginning surfers.

Do you have a favorite surf spot, did we miss one? Share it with us in the comments below.

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