July 22, 2024
la jolla shores surf spot

La Jolla Shores Surfing Review

For those of you looking for a good beach to learn how to surf in San Diego, La Jolla Shores Surf Spot is a haven for beginners and first timers. However, it’s a fun wave for all skills levels so don’t be fooled.

In this post; learn how to get to La Jolla Shores beach, what it’s like surfing La Jolla Shores, and the best surf shops for surf lessons in the area.

La Jolla Shores Surf Spot Overview

Level: Beginner
Paddle Out: Easy
Crowds: Medium
Wave Height: Waist to Head High
Tide: Best with a Medium Tide
Type of Break: Beach Break
Type of Bottom: Sand Bottom
Swell Direction: West, West Northwest
Wind Direction: East, Southeast and sometimes South due to wind protection from the La Jolla Cove
Water Temperature: 64° Year Round Average
Best Season: Autumn
Board of Choice: Soft Top Foamie
Showers: Yes / Bathrooms: Yes

La Jolla Shores Surf Camera

La Jolla Shores Surf Spot Review


Accessibility: Get here early or parking fills up fast. Otherwise, it’s a quick walk to the beach once parked.


Waves: Possible peaky beach break conditions but usually a shoreline dribble that’s great for learning.


Crowd: Crowded especially during peak summer season.


Scenery: Some of the best views of La Jolla Cove, Scripps Pier, and Mount Soledad up above.


OVERALL: If I was rating this break for beginners only, it would be much higher. However, for more experienced surfers there are only occasional windows of magic here.

Bottomline: Is La Jolla Shores in our top 10 surf spots in San Diego? No. Check the top spots here.

Continue reading for a detailed breakdown on what it’s like surfing La Jolla Shores.

La Jolla Shores surf spot is a beach break. It’s characterized by a flat sandbar bottom with multiple peaks up and down the beach. Normally, the surf is pretty mellow here and the sandy bottom is forgiving which makes it perfect for beginners (other San Diego beginner surf spots here). The best part for beginners is the inside whitewash which is ideal for any first timer to learn to stand up. Consequently, this break gets crowded with first time surfers.

la jolla shores surfing
The inside whitewash is why beginners love surfing La Jolla Shores!

With that said, swells do occasionally get good here. When it does, the shifting sandbars make for sneaky good sessions. Another plus is that the extra wind protection from the cove’s bluffs also tends to keep the surf cleaner here later in the day than most places in San Diego.

In summary, surfing La Jolla Shores is best for beginners but has rare windows when the surf is quite good even when you have more experience.

When is the Best Time of Year for Surfing La Jolla Shores?

Next, find out when is the best time of year for surfing La Jolla Shores. We’ve broken down the details by season for a quick, go-to guide.

Winter: Easily, the time of year when larger W and WNW swells target this shoreline. Surprisingly, the sand bars hold the surf up to head high before closing out. For more experienced surfers, winter is actually the best time of year at the shore in La Jolla with the lightest crowds.

Spring: WNS swells continue to intersperse in from time to time. As winds pick up, the cove’s bluffs will keep the ruffled texture off the water longer.

Summer: Summer is easily the busiest time of year at the shores. Beginners flock to the lineup for the warmer waters and consistent S swells. The surf is not as large this time of year but consistently averages waist-high which is all you need to learn.

la jolla shores surf
A summer’s night at La Jolla Shores beach.

Autumn: Similar to spots like Pacific Beach, you get those rare opportunities for epic surf here. As combo swells increase, it allows for peaky fall beach break sessions. Combine that with Santa Ana offshores is a recipe for the good stuff.

In summary, the surf at La Jolla shores is a mixed bag depending what you are looking for. Come here in summer if you are brushing up on your skills. Winter and Fall are better for intermediates and up.

Which Board to Bring for Surfing La Jolla Shores?

I suggest breaking out your soft top foamie or Wavestorm for surfing La Jolla Shores. This shallow beach break caters toward longboarders, beginner surfers, and surfers generally just aiming to have a good time.

While I recommend a foam board, this wave generally caters to pretty much all board sizes. During an average waist high to shoulder high day which are common; the entire quiver is an option. In order to catch this mushy beach break all the way into the shoreline, bring a longboard.

THURSO SURF Aero 7ft Soft Top Foam Beginner Surfboard for Adults and Kids

A good entry level longboard to help you ride the La Jolla Shores whitewash and beyond the break.

We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
06/05/2024 03:57 am GMT

To maintain more speed down the line, bring a fun board with more volume. Finally, a shortboard still works for faster sections but I suggest a shortboard only when the surf is pushing head high. Actually, you’ll even find body boarders here frequently.

Most importantly, the type of board you choose to surf La Jolla Shores depends on your skill level, time of year, and swell direction.

Why is Surfing La Jolla Shores Great for Beginners?

La Jolla Shores is a great wave to learn on because its a beach break with a flat sand bottom that has a long, crumbly inside section. This section is referred to as whitewash. Whitewash is perfect for beginners because it allows surfers to stand up on the wave after the peak has already fallen. As a result, you do not not have to stand up initially on the peak of the wave where it is steepest. Instead, get pushed into a mellow inside section of the wave. For all these reasons, I recommend checking out La Jolla Shores beach when learning.

surfing la jolla shores
Showers, a welcome sight to rinse after your surf session at La Jolla Shores beach.

La Jolla Shores Surfing Crowd Factor

Summer is always going to be the busiest time of year at La Jolla Shores. The beach and waves are teeming with beginners and surf schools/lessons up and down the beach. It’s always busiest in the center of the beach near the lifeguard tower. The further North you go toward Scripps Pier, the thinner the crowd will become.

la jolla shores beach
Beginners packing the La Jolla Shores surf lineup when it’s small.

During other seasons, it’s common to still find a steady crowd of surfers with winter being the sparsest. Despite the crowds, the vibe out here is friendly. Most surfers are learning and if they aren’t, they still will hardly bother you.

La Jolla Shores Surf Lessons

Being such a beginner friendly break, La Jolla Shores beach surf lessons line the beach. So, if you are a first timer in need of lessons; here are a few of the best shops offering beach surf lessons at La Jolla Shores.

Everyday California

Everyday California is located on the main drag of downtown La Jolla Shores. They offer both group and private surf lessons year-round. For 10% off booked surf lessons with Everyday California, use code GOSURF10 online or over the phone.

During the summer, they even host week-long surf camps for kids. This is the perfect camp for the groms! During the summer, also try snorkeling with the harmless leopard sharks here during their mating season or booking a kayak tour to see seals by the sea caves!

surf lessons in la jolla
Everyday California Surf Shop & Lessons – a staple of the La Jolla Shores surf scene.

Surf Diva La Jolla Shores

Surf Dive La Jolla Shores is also on the main drag. Similar to Everyday, they offer both private and group lessons up to five people year-round. Surf Diva La Jolla Shores also hosts their own version of half and full day surf camps, but year-round instead of summer only.

la jolla shores surf lessons
Surf Diva, a popular surf shop along La Jolla Shores beach.

Either way, you can’t go wrong with either of these shops giving beach surf lessons in La Jolla Shores. If you are looking for a lesson in North County San Diego, try booking a private lesson with me.

Other Beach Activities at La Jolla Shores

If you aren’t a surfer, there are plenty of other activities to enjoy by the beach in La Jolla. Some of our favorites include swimming with the Leopard sharks, snorkeling, whale watching, and viewing of La Jolla’s favorite residents, seals.

beach activities at la jolla shores
Seals, a La Jolla favorite!

For a complete list of things to do in La Jolla, check out La Jolla Mom.

Where is La Jolla Shores Beach?

To begin, learn exactly how to get to La Jolla Shores beach and where to park. The shores in La Jolla are located North of the La Jolla center around the corner from La Jolla Cove. Here, you will find La Jolla Shores surfing in between the cove and Scripps Pier. Punch in 8277 Camino Del Oro, La Jolla, CA 92037 to your smartphone or Kellogg Park.

This address for Kellogg Park will bring you to a large beachfront parking lot. However, it will be difficult to find a spot here on weekends unless you arrive early.

la jolla shores beach
Parking at Kellogg Park along La Jolla Shores beach.

Otherwise, you can find parking on the streets in the nearby neighborhood. Fortunately, parking is free at both. At Kellogg Park, you will also find large grass lawns, bathrooms, and showers along the beach. Walk directly out from the prominent lifeguard tower to find the main break.

The surfing area stretches from a yellow and black checkered swimming flag to the South of the tower and all the way North to Scripps Pier.

Surf Breaks Near La Jolla Shores Beach

To the South

  • La Jolla Cove
  • Hospitals
  • Horseshoe
  • Marine Street

To the North

Find other San Diego Surf Spot reviews here and subscribe to get new surf reviews like this one below. I release new surf reviews monthly!

Please keep your parks and beaches clean by picking up after yourself. Do me a favor and surf La Jolla Shores how you found it. Check out Surfrider San Diego if you are looking to participate or contribute to a charitable ocean cause.


  • Gavin Bechtold

    Gavin has been living and surfing in San Diego for over a decade. He loves the ocean and is lucky to call San Diego home. Frustrated with mainstream reviews, he set out to create the best source of surf reviews for San Diego beaches. Check the About page for more info!

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