Located right in the middle of the UCSD campus in Southern California, Blacks Beach is a world-class, epic beach break that breaks over well-defined sand bars. This half-mile stretch of beach break is heavy for Southern California standards due to an offshore underwater canyon that funnels incoming swells, focusing them directly onto the beach increasing speed, power, and size of the waves compared to nearby spots. The waves here are best known for providing deep, open pits for the tube hunters in the area. There are three defined peaks along the beach. South Peak is a dredging left-hander famed for its perfection when good. Middle Peak is a flawless A-frame that provides barrels to both the left and right. North Peak is a quick but deep right-hand barrel. Hazards here include strong currents, long hold-downs, and sleeper sets (Think of a more approachable OBSF and you’ll have a good idea of Blacks). Check the waves from the cliffs next to the parking lot before making the long trek down the twisty, rocky path (wear booties or bring shoes). Be aware that this is a nudie beach, don’t be surprised if you see sunbathers in their birthday suits.
What are the best surf conditions for Blacks Beach?
Blacks holds size very well up to triple overhead and starts breaking well around waist high. A shortboard will work here up to a bit overhead at which point a step up is the way to go. This spot is not a good area for beginners, leave it to the intermediate, advanced, and pro surfers. Because of the offshore canyon, Blacks is one of the most consistent spots on the coast (7/10). However, if there is a hint of swell it will be jam-packed (9/10). Blacks will pick up summer swells from the South and Southwest well, but it gets classic on big, long period Northwest and West winter swells. Offshore winds blow from the East. The bars will work on all tides, lower ones lead to more hollowness.
We recommend wearing a 3/2 wetsuit in the summer when the water temperature rises to 20 degrees. In the winter we recommend wearing a 4/3 when the water temps drop to a chilly 15 degrees. See the temperature chart below for more data on this.