Huntington Beach, the Surfing Mecca of California At the beginning of August I arrived in the USA and went straight to Huntington Beach, California to see the Vans US Open Surf Competition. I arrived to see the tail end of the Women’s heats, Semi’s and then Finals. The sun was out and crowds aplenty but slow sets and continuing sandbank movement meant the women had to be on their toes to catch the best waves. They showed us their tenacity, tactics as well as some beautiful world class moves!
Away from the competition I found myself walking through crowds mixed with pro surfers, champions, ex champions, free surfers and locals alike. Nearby is Main street where I stumbled across pro surfer’s, sitting outside, signing autographs against a backdrop of the some of the industry’s biggest surf brands (as well as the largest amount of surf shops in such close proximity I have ever seen). Every other local seemed to be a surfer and, if you're single, with an English accent (well any non American accent I think) you can get you plenty of dates!
As a non driver, getting around the immediate Huntington Beach pier and coastal area was fine on a push bike. I was given one with a surf rack but I also saw surf board hires and offers of surf lessons located directly on the beach. However, there are many more spots to explore along the coast and the state that I discovered, is very big (California alone is pretty much the same size as the UK).
There aren’t so many public transport options, and often surf spots are a far trek from bus stops and trains. So without a car it can get a bit tricky.
My most favourite experience so far in California, has been meeting with members of the Wahine Kai surf group. This all female surf group inspired me with their passion and love of surfing as well as their open and extended arm of friendship.
They lent me their boards, took me out for some great dawnie surfs, shared with me their surfing tips and tricks and also invited me round for wine and beer after. What more could a girl ask for?
What’s next?…I have one more month in California and then onto Oahu & Maui, Hawaii. If any Surf Seniorita's would like any more information about the surfing locations I am visiting next, please drop me a message and I will see what I can do.
Surfing travel tips I have learnt so far if visiting California:
Consistent, glassy waves are found in the morning. The afternoon winds create powerful waves but with less shape so will be of the messy variety.
Getting a permit for national parks covers you up and down the coast and enables you to park for free at many awesome surf spots.
If you want to find other locals and fellow female surfers to surf with, check out local surf groups -I did a bit of googling for this as well as using meetup.