May 25, 2024
surfing san diego in may

Surfing San Diego in May

In this monthly edition, find out what to expect while surfing San Diego in May, the average Ocean temperatures and the best places to surf this month.

What is it like Surfing San Diego in May?

San Diego in May offers moderate waves and favorable swells. The waves typically range from 2 to 4 feet, providing ideal conditions for both beginners and experienced surfers. The swell during this month predominantly originates from the west, creating consistent and manageable breaks along the coast. May also marks the start of more consistent South swells that are so common in San Diego throughout summer.

May sees a decent number of surfers hitting the waves in San Diego. While it may not be as crowded as peak summer months, there is still a vibrant surfing community enjoying the waves. Compared to other months, May strikes a balance between the smaller waves of winter and the larger, more crowded waves of summer, making it a popular choice for many surfers.

We recommend taking advantage of the milder crowds and enjoyable wave conditions in May. It’s a great time to soak up the sun, catch some waves, and experience the laid-back surfing culture that San Diego is known for.

San Diego Water Temperature and Weather in May

San Diego in May boasts pleasant water and air temperatures, creating an inviting environment for surfers. The average water temperature hovers around the mid-60s, a noticeable jump from April as South swells start bring warmer currents to the region. If you haven’t already, May is when you can strip down from your 4/3 wetsuit to a lighter 3/2 wetsuit.

In terms of air temperatures, May in San Diego offers mild and pleasant weather conditions. The average air temperature ranges from the mid-60s to low 70s Fahrenheit. However, this month is called May Gray for a reason. May in San Diego is notorious for a thick coastal marine layer that occasionally sticks around all day. Don’t let that fool you though, the UV index is still strong so wear your sunscreen.

In summary, these favorable water and air temperatures in San Diego during May make it an ideal month for surfing. Surfers can revel in the comfortable conditions both in and out of the water, allowing for extended surfing sessions and a memorable time on the waves.

What are the Best Waves to Surf in San Diego in May?

Considering the primary swell directions in May are from the West + South, beach breaks are the place to be in May. Throw in a little late season North swells and you have great combo swells creating clean peaks.

Beach breaks like Mission Beach and Pacific Beach down South or Tamarack up North can be excellent when they normally aren’t at other times of year.

Here’s a few other San Diego beach breaks worth checking out during the month of May:

  • Coronado Island
  • Imperial Beach
  • Blacks Beach
  • Torrey Pines State Beach
  • Georges
  • D Street

By understanding the swell patterns and directions in May, surfers can make the most of their visit in San Diego. Check out Surfline during your stay.

Previous Month: April. Next Month: June


  • 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!