Whether you are an experienced surfer or a beginner, you will find waves to suit you on the Mendocino coast. Many of the area’s more experienced surfers will be found at Point Arena Pier (35 miles south of Mendocino Village) and Virgin Beach, which is just north of Fort Bragg. Look for “overhead” and “double overhead” (literally higher than your head, or twice as high as your head) waves at these locations. Places more suited to intermediate-level surfers include Blues Beach (south of Westport); Pudding Creek (two blocks north of Elm Street in Fort Bragg) and Wages Beach (north of Westport). In Mendocino, Smuggler’s Cove (south of Big River Bridge) has waves that are bigger than they appear at first, and should not be attempted by beginning surfers. Caspar State Beach (on Point Cabrillo Drive off Hwy 1), however, is beginner-friendly.
Regardless of where you go, you’ll need a wetsuit. The water is in the low 50s year-round, so you’ll probably also want a hood and booties. If you’re a beginner, learn surf etiquette by talking with local surfers. They are a pretty friendly bunch. Surfboards, wetsuits and equipment are available to rent or buy at local surf shops. They can give you all the equipment and information you need, along with lessons, demos, trips and tours. And know your limitations — remember, “Get swept away by the beauty, not by the waves!”
Mendocino County Surfriders, 707-962-0221