Whether you are a pro or complete novice, Santa Cruz boasts secret surf spots, big waves and calmer waters for all ages and levels of surfers, could suggest why Santa Cruz is also known as the ‘surf city’.

The first waves surfed in North America were in Santa Cruz by three Hawaiian brothers in the year 1885, the town has since been a thriving surf culture. Santa Cruz city and county were approved as a World Surfing Reserve in 2012. The reserve stretches about seven miles from Natural Bridges State Park in Santa Cruz city along the coast to Opal Cliffs. At least 23 consistent surf breaks are sited along this coast, including world-class breaks such as Pleasure Point and Steamer Lane.

Cowell's Beach is a welcoming surf spot in Santa Cruz and a good starting point, offering long gentle waves. A little less crowded then the Cowell's is the Capitola Beach, famous especially among locals and a great spot for beginners providing perfect longboard waves.

Steamer Lane is by far the most famous surf spot along Santa Cruz's coastline, offering world- class waves- which should be left to the Pros though, unless you are a very, very experienced surfer. Another great spot for long-time wave riders is Pleasures Point providing dozen famous breaks for a thrilling surfing experience.

Places to Stay in Highway One, the California Coast Road Trip

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Will, Kate B and Alexandra are our 'Surf Santa Cruz' experts and as seasoned travellers they have the inside track on the most memorable adventures.

Image of Alexandra Heriot Maitland
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