San Francisco has a reputation of cultivating daring individuals; risk-takers, innovators and adventurers. This spirit runs into the chilly waters of San Francisco Bay: earlier this year, Surfer Magazine named San Francisco one of the top surf cities in the world.
While we can’t blame those who prefer the warmer waters further south, the SF area is home to the World Surf League’s Mavericks Challenge, where big-wave surfers take on waves that top out at 60 feet. There are also favored beaches scattered along the coast line, from Half Moon Bay to the Golden Gate Bridge and further up to Stinson Beach and beyond.
Looking to get in on the action? Whether you want to catch some waves or just sit back on the beach and watch others catch waves, there’s a good mix of places to partake in both. Check out Stanford Court Hotel’s guide to the surf scene in NorCal.
If you’ve got wheels and you're looking for surf toward Pacifica (known as the only beginner-friendly surf spot in the area) we recommend Adventure Out, which offers surf day clinics, ranging from 1-2 days or 3-5 days. This works super well with vacation stay. We also recommend Kalu Surf School, which opened in 2015 by an Argentine surfer who’s been catching waves for 20 years. Alternately, Homebreak Surf Shop offers group classes geared toward women and girls.
Are you an experienced surfer? If you left your board at home, the beloved Aqua Surf Shop in SF offers wetsuits and boards available for daily rental at fair rates. Aqua Surf Shop only rents gear if the weather permits, and won’t rent out if conditions are dangerous.
For those of us who’d rather sit back in dry clothes and watch the action, there’s two great spots to watch surfers take on waves in the area. For an unforgettable people-watching experience, Fort Point located under the Golden Gate Bridge has local surfers that take on waves with a breathtaking, iconic background. Great for photo ops. (Note: Due to treacherous surf and territorial surfers, we do not recommend this spot to visiting surfers). Ocean Beach is another SF favorite. It’s where SF meets the Pacific, just west of Golden Gate Park. Bring a blanket, pack food, drink, wear a jacket -- and enjoy the surf show. Rip currents are strong at Ocean Beach, so we also don’t recommend this for novice surfers -- extreme caution is advised.
Every new year at Stanford Court we look forward to the World Surf League’s Mavericks Challenge in Half Moon Bay. Check back with us for special deals celebrating this annual event, showcasing big-wave surfers from around the world.
For advance purchase discounts and other deals, check the latest offers at Stanford Court Hotel.