christopher gunn

The Central Coast is home to surf spots that are as diverse as the skill level of riders that ride them. From Cayucos Pier down to Pismo Beach, surfers can find little gems of California surfing all along the Central Coast line.

From soft mushy lefts at Morro Rock during the summer to powerful fun waves during large swells in the winter months, the Central Coast has numerous surfing spots that offer extreme diversity in size and shape of its waves.

This can be attributed to a large amount of sand bars and reefs that line the coast lines as well as piers that can, in the cases of Pismo and Cayucos, create breaks worth surfing, according to journalism senior Jon Haines.

Beginning from the south and working north, surfing destinations include Pismo Pier, St. Anne’s, Avila Bay, Sand Spit, Morro Rock, Studio Drive and Cayucos Pier.

Pismo Pier is a major tourist destination but it also hosts surf. North or south surfers can find a variety of surf here that generally lacks shape with the exception of right next to the pier. The surf at Pismo, however, is consistent and is surfed regularly by local surfers.

“Pismo is pretty touristy, but it’s pretty much where I learned how to surf,” Haines said. “I used to go out there and surf until the sun went down.”

Sand bars along the beach provide plenty of room for surfing at Pismo and plenty of opportunity to avoid large groups of surfers in the water.

St. Anne’s is a break resting between Pismo and Avila and offers surfers the opportunity to surf a mushy reef break that lacks consistency. At times one could refer to this spot as an extension of lake pacific, but when there is a medium tide the break is generally decent. This spot can be good during a large winter swell, according to the Storm Rider Guide to North America.

Working up the coast line, the next surfing spot is Avila Beach. This spot is small and virtually non-existent through most of the year, but during certain larger swells it can become decent.

Sand Spit is a strip of sand bars just south of Morro Rock that can be very good during certain months.

“One of my favorite spots is Sand Spit,” Haines said. “Same wave over and over again, it’s just epic.”

This spot can be very popular during September and October before the big swells come rolling in and wipe out the sand bars that are creating the break.

“When it’s on people know, and it’s packed,” Haines said.

Just on the other side of Morro Rock is a nice break that can get huge during large winter swells. The current at Morro Rock can be very strong but can be enjoyable when the rip tide pulls surfers into the line up and sets them up nicely for waves at Morro that can yield long rides in smaller swells and fast, ripping rides in larger swells. The waves here are powerful in larger swells and it can get very big.

“The Rock is my favorite spot because you don’t have to paddle out, the rip tide carries you to the break,” Haines said.

As one moves past Morro Rock, down the beach there are numerous sand bars that provide good surfing during the summer months and at times during the winter.

Studio Drive is a sandy-bottomed spot that generally has something to surf. The spot is average according to The Storm Rider Guide of North America, and closes out often but can offer decent surfing for all skill levels.

Finally, Cayucos Pier is a like Pismo Pier. It provides a good break that can range in size and shape depending on the shape of the sand bar that is beneath it. But during the winter months Cayucos Pier can become large and the swell can make it hard to paddle out, according to Haines.

“It’s a pretty nice spot, but it gets gnarly during the winter,” Haines said. “I’ve heard of some guys jumping off the end of pier in order to get out to the sets.”

These spots from Pismo to Cayucos offer surfing opportunities for surfers of all skill levels and are the major spots that most people would surf. That is not to say that these spots are the only spots around.

There are many spots that people will not talk about (they’re secret) and there are other spots that are too dangerous or too remote for average people to surf them.

Locals on the Central Coast can be like any other surfers from local areas, possessive of their spots. They try to limit the number of people that know about their spots, but in most of the spots mentioned above the local vibe is generally accepting of other surfers. Getting outside of these areas or at areas such as Morro during a nice swell can cause a reaction from locals.

“Don’t associate with Cal Poly, the locals don’t like it,” Haines said. “They just generally have a negative attitude towards us.”

These spots can however be found through simple searches or by getting to know the local crowd.

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