About Mission Beach (San Diego)

This stretch of sometimes-peaky beachbreak fronted by mismatched condos is the bellwether of surfing in central San Diego. There is always a little something breaking here. The beach receives action from NW to SW swells and is a year-round spot. Wave shape is mediocre to good, but is certain to change with tide and shifting sandbars. There are the occasional magic sessions. It's best on a medium tide with three-to-six-foot swell. The beach is plagued by closeouts on larger days and/or low tide. Good inside/reform sandbars form in spring and summer, and these are best at high tide. A major player here is wind. There is usually a bump to the surface by 11am, regularly glassing off near dusk -- Santa Ana conditions being the obvious exception.

The South Mission Jetty holds a classic, left sand wedge peaking just off the jetty channel. It breaks on a W or NW swell and is ideal on a low to mid-tide. Its wall is rippable and the pocket sometimes barrels. The rock jetty wards off a S wind fairly well, and the wave can have good form when the rest of Mission is blown out. The takeoff zone is immeasurably small, meaning the crowd at the peak is a tight niche. When the main peak of the jetty is working, there is usually a peak that swings wide, just north of the pack. Sitting here or farming insiders are good alternatives to the peak.

Source: Mission Beach (San Diego) Surf Guide

Ability Level

All Abilities

Beg Int Adv

Beginner to advanced

Local Vibe


Welcoming Intimidating

Usually amicable, though the jetty is a different story.

Crowd Factor


Mellow Heavy

Light at the beachbreak, zooed at the Jetty.

Spot Rating


Poor Perfect

Typical beachbreak, solid and lined up wedge running off the jetty.

Shoulder Burn


Light Exhausting

Average most days but can be a lot of work when it is pumping.

Water Quality


Clean Dirty

Typically ok but gets dicey after a rain.

Additional Information


Getting run over by a roller bladder on the boardwalk, locals at the South Mission Jetty, car rip-offs.


Easy, but parking and traffic can be a lesson in road rage during summer months.

Bring Your

Shortboard, fish, funboard, longboard, bodyboard, skimming, bodysurfing



Best Season

October-April but rideable year-round.

Swell Consistency and Wind Overview

Photos & Videos