Surfing in Santa Cruz County - North
Overview of surfing in Santa Cruz County - North
Northern Santa Cruz County stretches from Ano Nuevo State Park down to the edge of the city of Santa Cruz. This are is dominated by coastal plains that lead to cliffs bordering beaches and extending into the sea itself. These extensions usually groom big northwest swells around points and turn them into manageable, at times perfect walls. The ocean here is often covered in kelp which keeps conditons glassy for most of the day. The surf here is not as crowded as the city, but is a bit more difficult to access. There are a lot of local farms here that offer opportunities to eat some homemade pie and get some fresh produce. Come here to escape the bustle of Santa Cruz and find some (hopefully) uncrowded surf.
The 4 best Surf spots in Santa Cruz County - North
Surf seasons and when to go
Santa Cruz County is a great area for moderate climate year round. Rains come in the winter and summers bring dry heat. Mornings are cold year round as the marine layer from the Pacific fills in almost every night. Bring layers whenever you are visiting, more than you would think. Take look at legendary local Jack O’Neill’s wardrobe (a bunch of heavy coats) for an idea of what to pack.
Winter is the best time of year for bigger, consistent surf. It will definitely be cold and the offshore winds will be howling which puts a 5/4 into the conversation of what to wear. The swells this time of year generate from the Northern Pacific, pulsing down massive waves that thunder into the coast. If it is an El Nino year you are in for a treat. If you prefer sizes smaller than double overhead, find a smaller cove that will most likely contain a lovely point break.
Summer brings warmer temperatures, smaller swells, and more difficult winds. The swells this time of year are small and long period, but still bring in some great waves to the points as well as beach breaks. When crossed up with local windswell a frames are common. Onshore winds start earlier in the day this time of year, around late morning, so get on it early. A 4/3 should be fine here this time of year, and 3/2’s are not unheard of.
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Santa Cruz County - North surf travel guide
There really aren’t too many options on this stretch of the coast. There is a decent amount of camping, especially a few miles inland. There is one small town of Davenport that has an inn, but other than that there are not too much housing available. AirBNB might prove fruitful, but reserve in advance.
This are isn’t exactly void of opportunity for recreation, but there is little other than nature to entertain. Hiking, biking, and horseback riding on trails are all easy to find and do. There are many local ranches that offer opportunities to pick local produce (you get to keep it) aas well as fishing companies that will take you to their secret spots.