Surfing and southern California are two inseparable entities. Even if the vast majority of Los Angelinos do not ever come close to a surfboard, you cant deny that the sport is embedded into the city’s psyche. The coast is littered with surf spots that get constant swell for most of the year. Pretty incredible, even when there is hardly any motion in the ocean, there is at least something to ride.
What Makes It Great
There are many reasons to pick one spot over another; the break of the wave, the direction of the beach, the size of the swell, among other factors are all important. Some people like a beach break, while others prefer the point break. Some want to make their way farther from the city to attempt to escape the crowds, while others do not seem to care about waiting in the lineup for their turn at a wave. On a good day, Topanga can have 40-50 surfers in the water, but for some reason it still seems doable.
The break is known as Topanga because it falls outside at Topanga Beach (clever, I know), and holds a lot of physical and cultural importance. The beach is the South Eastern most beach in the Santa Monica mountains national recreation area. It really is an amazing beach. The place is beautifully close to city and amazingly remote at the same time. It sits at the mouth of Topanga Creek, which carves its way through The Santa Monica Mountains to create Topanga Canyon.
Topanga, being the closest point break to the city of Los Angeles, can really gather some crowds, but because the wave that comes through there is so constant, it is easy to predict where the wave is coming from, making it easier plan your paddle.
Who is Going to Love It
This break is loved by many but is nice for the average surfer because it is not a super competitive location. Being a beginning surfer is always difficult as you can often be ridiculed in the water for getting in the way or not know what you are doing, but in comparison, this spot is not too bad.
If are dragging along friends and family who are not surfers, this is also a great spot because it sports a pleasant, yet small sandy beach with facilities and easy access to good food (Local seafood spot Reel Inn is across PCH).
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
Take PCH from Santa Monica, six miles north of the Santa Monica pier. You can park in the parking lot on the west side of PCH for a daily fee, or as is always the case on PCH, you can park on the road for free. Ideally take the West side of the road so you will not have to cross while carrying your surfboard. No Fees!