Surfing Lowers Trestles
Lower Trestles is a world-famous surf spot located in San Onofre State Beach in Southern California. The break is renowned for its consistent, high-quality waves, which makes it a popular destination for surfers of all skill levels.
One thing to keep in mind is that Lower Trestles is a high-performance wave, and it can be quite challenging for beginners. The wave is fast, powerful, and can get quite hollow, so it’s important to be prepared and have experience in more challenging surf conditions before attempting to surf here.
If you’re planning a trip to Lower Trestles, it’s essential to check the swell and wind forecast in advance. This will give you a better idea of what conditions to expect and help you plan your trip accordingly. Also, keep in mind that the wave is highly dependent on the tides, so it’s essential to plan your sessions around the tides.
Getting to Trestles
Lower Trestles can be accessed via a short hike from the parking lot at San Onofre State Beach. The trailhead is located at the end of Cristianitos Road, and the hike takes about 15-20 minutes. It’s essential to wear proper footwear and bring enough water and sunscreen, as the trail can be steep and exposed to the sun.
Crowds and other Hazards
Lower Trestles is one of the most popular surf spots in Southern California, so it can get quite crowded, especially on weekends and during peak surfing seasons. It’s essential to be respectful of other surfers and wait your turn to catch waves.
Another hazard to watch out for is the rocky reef and shallow sandbars, which can pose a risk of injury if you’re not careful. It’s essential to be familiar with the break and the surrounding hazards before attempting to surf here.
World Surf League Competition
Lower Trestles is also the site of the annual World Surf League Championship Tour, which attracts the world’s best surfers to compete in some of the most challenging waves on the planet. The competition usually takes place in September and provides an excellent opportunity for surf fans to witness some of the best surfing in the world. The World Surf League Finals is a new format introduced in 2021 that takes place at a single location and features the top five surfers from the year-end rankings. The inaugural WSL Finals were held at Lower Trestles in San Clemente, California in September 2021.
Why is Trestles So Historic?
Trestles has a long and storied history in the surfing world. The wave was first surfed in the 1930s and quickly gained a reputation as one of the best waves in Southern California. In the 1970s, Trestles became the home break for many of the top professional surfers, who were drawn to its consistent and high-quality waves.
The concentration of professional surfers at Trestles helped to solidify its reputation as a world-class surf spot, and it has been the site of numerous surf competitions over the years. Trestles is also known for its role in surf culture, with many iconic surf films featuring shots of the wave.
Best Surf Conditions
Trestles is best surfed during the summer months (May to October) when the southern hemisphere swells produce consistent waves. The best conditions occur on a medium to high tide, with a southwest swell and a northwest wind. The ideal wind direction is offshore or light southeast, which will clean up the waves and provide optimal surfing conditions.
- Best season: May to October
- Ideal tide: medium to high
- Best swell direction: Southwest
- Best wind direction: offshore or light southeast
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San Clemente: The Center of Surf in California
San Clemente is a quintessential surf town located just a few miles north of Trestles. The city has a rich surfing history and is home to several iconic surf brands and surfers. When the surf is flat, there are plenty of activities to enjoy in San Clemente, including:
- Visiting the Surfing Heritage and Culture Center, which showcases the history of surfing in California
- Exploring the San Clemente Pier, which offers breathtaking views of the coastline and ocean
- Taking a stroll along the San Clemente Coastal Trail, which winds through several of the city’s beaches and parks
- Going shopping at the many surf and boutique shops in the downtown area
- Enjoying a meal at one of the many restaurants that offer ocean views and fresh seafood
Check out our Regional Overview here!
Overall, Lower Trestles is a world-class surf spot on every surfer’s bucket list. It’s a challenging wave that demands respect, but the rewards of surfing Trestles are worth the effort. Just remember to respect the beach, the other surfers, and the environment, and you’ll have an unforgettable surfing experience at Lower Trestles.