Located in the stretch of beach towns of Encinitas to Oceanside, Southern California, Cardiff Reef is an excellent surf spot that breaks over a rock and sand bottom. The waves here are well known for holding shape with size as well as being quite fun for the longboarders when it is a bit smaller. The waves here can break quickly and strongly, but at other times be mush burgers. They break for up to 150 meters and can be cruisey, rippable, or hollow depending on the tide and swell.
What are the best surf conditions for Cardiff Reef?
Really turns on between head high to triple overhead. A longboard will work when it is below chest high here, but when the size arrives a shortboard is best. Cardiff is best suited to intermediate and advanced surfers. The surf here is pretty consistent (7/10) but the local crew is pretty heavy (8/10). Offshore winds come from the East here and the best swells come from the Northwest, West, and Southwest. It works on all tides, although the lower it is the hollower it gets.
We recommend wearing a 3/2 wetsuit in the summer when the water temperatures rise to 20 degrees. In the winter a 4/3 is best when the water temperature drops to a chilly 15 degrees. See the temperature chart below for more data on this.