Humboldt County - North Surfing

About Humboldt County - North

Almost everything is big in Humboldt County, especially the waves. Never a lack of swell, but also never a lack of adverse conditions and weeks of poor wave quality. Most of the coast is beachbreak only surfable during small, clean swells, so during winter's big-time swells, the only places people really ever surf are the Harbor Entrance, the North Jetty/Bunkers, Patricks Point and Camel Rock. Call it the Winter Congregational Theory. Things spread out when the surf is small, however. Humboldt receives swell from all directions: North Humboldt is more susceptible to the prevailing NW swells, while South Humboldt can pick up S swells during the summer. Generally, South Humboldt (Shelter Cove) is smaller than North Humboldt. Windswells work well at the North Humboldt beachbreaks, while solid groundswells are key for the points and reefs. The surf can get huge any time of the year. Winter rarely sees waves below head high. North Humboldt is mostly offshore with SE storm winds, while South Humboldt blows offshore with N winds. Perfect days are rare, as the junky/stormy/huge/scary days are the rule. Bottom line is, don't visit Humboldt expecting to score. But there's always a possibility.


  • Big, consistent swells

  • Uncrowded Californian surf

  • Offshore winds during storms

  • Beautiful scenery

  • Huge redwood trees


  • Onshore winds and fog

  • Swells often too gnarly

  • Harsh climate

  • Cold Water

  • Great white sharks

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