About Ocean beach

Ocean Beach receives all kinds of swell, and often offers rideable waves when the rest of central San Diego is dry. On the north end, Big Jetty is a hollow right breaking off the southern jetty of the Mission Bay entrance. It begins with a steep peak and a small takeoff zone, but then elongates into a long, fast right wall — the sections depending on the sandbar and swell direction. Both sets and insiders are similarly shaped, and the wave, although preferring a mid to low tide, will break well on just about any tide. Closeouts are the rule with swell pushing eight-feet-plus. The thing to consider here is the San Diego River. Closures are frequent due to runoff from storm events and sewage spills, and the jetty breaks directly in front of Dog Beach, the only area beach where dogs are allowed to run (and poop) free.

Avalanche is a predominantly left peak that breaks just north of the finger, or little jetty, bisecting Ocean Beach. It's consistent, breaks on a variety of tides, and will hold just about any swell with a little W in it. Various peaks form just north of the main peak, holding both rights and lefts. It gets quite crowded. The Ocean Beach Pier at the end of Newport Street is the most accessible spot in an area of accessible spots. Both right and left peaks, the OB Pier is temperamental, shifty, unpredictable, perennially surfed and most often mediocre. This is not to say that it doesn't have its good days. When it is working well, usually the right peeling into the pier is the main attraction. There's a mushy, rock-and-sand left on the south side of the pier that often shoots surfers through the pier's pylons at a snail's pace. Like other local spots, the breaks around the pier are happiest on a low to mid-tide, a swell with a little W in the mix, and light wind.

Source: Ocean beach Surf Guide

Ability Level

All Abilities

Beg Int Adv

Beginner to advanced.

Local Vibe


Welcoming Intimidating


Crowd Factor


Mellow Heavy

Packed in summer.

Spot Rating


Poor Perfect

Most of the spots are pretty average but the right off the jetty gets good.

Shoulder Burn


Light Exhausting

A decent amount of work, especially when it is pumping.

Water Quality


Clean Dirty

Not great most days and toxic if the San Diego River is flowing

Additional Information


Getting sick from the runoff.


Easy -- enter the parking lot at the end of Voltaire Street, or park by the pier at the end of Newport Street.

Bring Your

Shortboard, fish, funboard, longboard, skimming



Best Season

Best November-February, but it works year-round.

Swell Consistency and Wind Overview

Photos & Videos