Posted: Thursday, Jun 20th, 2019

By Visit Ventura

Ventura is a Surfer’s Paradise

Photo by Kamilo Bustamante

Not long ago California state legislators declared surfing California’s state sport, which is nice, but also a little like declaring wine the official beverage of France. Surfing’s roots run long and deep through California, and Ventura has played a big, though quietly understated, role in the state’s surfing story.
Which is precisely how Ventura likes it. Yes, it has produced world-class surfers and shapers. Yes, the annual California Street Classic Surf contest traces its roots back to one of the first professional surf contests held in California (Tom Morey’s 1965 Nose Riding Contest drew California legends like Mickey Munoz and Endless Summer’s Robert August). Yes, Ventura has some of the best waves in California, from the Santa Clara Rivermouth to C-Street and Emma Wood, and on up to Rincon (Santa Barbara claims it, but it is tucked just inside the Ventura County border). And, yes, no one makes a fuss about any of it.

Because Ventura’s surfers know what really matters.

waves at ventura harbor

“I love it here. We have this great variety of waves, and the caliber of the waves is some of the best in California,” says Makena Burke, who, at 15 and already a member of the USA Surfing National Junior Team, is poised to follow in the footsteps of local greats like Dane Reynolds and Sage Erickson.

Burke pauses. At 15, you can be wise beyond your years.

“In Ventura, I feel like we have really good waves, and we have really nice people. It’s so much more casual here. It’s sort of an outlier place. I’m proud to be a surfer from Ventura.”

Surfing isn’t about legislative proclamations, or trophies, or recognition, or International Surfing Day (though that’s what the third Saturday in June is), or any of the outside world’s noise. Surfing is a quiet thing. Quiet and irresistible. Anyone who has dropped into a wave, heart surging as the world falls away, understands.

Ventura is a fine place to understand.

Want to Learn?

Plenty of great outfitters offer surf lessons in Ventura. Some surf shops offer lessons, too (or they can put you in touch with folks who do), but either way, a good surf shop is a must visit. If you’re buying equipment (basically a board and a wetsuit; surfing is a minimalist’s dream), they’ll help you pick out what’s best for you, because surfboard design can be a confusing science. A local surf shop, staffed with local surfers, is also a great place for invaluable tips – like what spots are breaking best today.

A few top picks:

Surf Schools

Surf Shops

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