Surfers are always seeking the best surf spots around the world, and often end up in Malibu. This coastal city has a long surfing history, and there are spots throughout Malibu that are world renowned for surfing.
You’ll typically find surfers on the water in Malibu about 150 days out the year, making it a consistent surf spot. However, the best breaks takes place from late summer to early fall when Pacific Ocean storms bring in large swells.
Waves are usually between two and four feet, unless there’s a storm bringing once-in-a-lifetime waves, such as the 20-footers that a three-day storm wrought in March 2014. And later that same year in August, when Hurricane Marie caused Big Wednesday type swells, and had surf pros such as Laird Hamilton, Kelly Slater, Allen Sarlo, Reef Mcintosh, and Joel Tudor out (see videos at end of post).
Whether you’re a newbie trying to catch your first wave or an expert who’s here to train for a competition, there’s plenty of space in the sea for surfers of all kinds.
Here are Some of the Best Surf Spots in Malibu
Malibu Surfrider Beach
When you think of Malibu surfing, this iconic beach instantly comes to mind. This popular surf spot lies between the Malibu Lagoon and Malibu Pier, and is part of Malibu Lagoon State Beach.
Surfrider Beach is known for its long, right-hand break—popular for surfers of all levels, but you won’t find too many rookies out in these world-class waves.
This section of Malibu is known for three surf breaks: First, Second and Third Point.
First-Point is known for its long, even breaking wave–perfect for longboarders. Second Point is a bit unruly with bigger waves, and Third Point, located further out, has the biggest break. Needless to say, shortboarders usually stick with Second and Third points, especially on crowded days.
Look for the signs for designated swimming, and surfing areas so you don’t run over anybody. You can also check out the Malibu Lagoon Museum and learn all about the birth of surfing and local history. You can find parking in the lot next to the Adamson House, or along the PCH.
Famous Zuma Beach is located just north of Point Dume, Malibu.The “Baywatch” television series was filmed here. The surf at Zuma Beach has a wide variety of waves, making it a suitable beach for surfers of differing skill levels. Zuma’s swells are at their best in the summertime.
You can park for free along the PCH and walk to the shoreline, or you can pay for parking in the lot near the beach. The water here does tend to be a little colder, so think about bringing your wetsuit.
Big Dume Beach
This crescent-shaped stretch of beach has swells that are perfect for beginner surfers. The area isn’t usually as crowded as some of the other Malibu beaches for surfing.
Big Dume Beach also has great tide pools to check out if you stop here during low tide. You can pay to park at Westward Beach, or park at the top, on Cliffside Drive. You can then hike down a natural preserve, and onto a steep staircase down to the beach. From the high point on the bluff, you can whale watch or hike the trails around Point Dume.
Little Dume Beach
Little Dume Beach is located in a small cove near Point Dume. This is a popular surf spot when the surf gods make the conditions just right.
This is a great place for surfing during the summer months, and all ages and experience levels are welcome. If you aren’t surfing, this is a nice beach for walking or simply sunbathing.
You can access Little Dume by walking on the sand from Paradise Cove or Big Dume Beach. The gated access path to Little Dume Beach is private, and only for use by residents of the area.
Leo Carrillo / County Line
There are several beaches in Leo Carrillo State Park, including South Beach, North Beach, Staircase Beach, and County Line Beach, which are all beach access points for Leo Carrillo State Park.
If you want to surf at Leo Carrillo, your best bet is to check out the waves at North Beach or South Beach. Be sure to watch out for rip currents that tend to occur along this shoreline.
At times you’ll have luck finding big swells out at County Line Beach, which sits on the border of Los Angeles and Ventura County.
Leo Carrillo is also filled with natural features, rock arches, tide pools, and trails.
Topanga Beach is a great beach for surfing that’s a little off the beaten path. Here, you’ll find waves breaking on rocky terrain and also on beds of sand.
If you’re searching for a longer ride, the break at Topanga is your ticket. It’s a popular spot among established surfers but they’re friendly enough to accept some newbies too.
This beach is also less crowded than some of the other more popular beaches in the area, but still has amenities nearby, like bathrooms, shops, and dining.
Paradise Cove Beach
Paradise Cove Beach is a small public beach located in front of a privately owned facility called “Paradise Cove,” with a cafe and other amenities.
Ironically, the surf-themed cafe used to restrict surfing in front of their shop but the California Coastal Commission stepped in, giving surfers access to the pristine waves breaking in front of Paradise Cove.
You can park outside the property and walk in, or park on site and eat at the Paradise Cove Cafe for free or cheap parking.
It’s definitely a gorgeous location, whether you’re surfing or just walking along the shore.
This is one of the quieter surf spots along Malibu’s shores. Latigo Point has a few days each year with some epic surfing, but most of the time the waves are rarely breaking here so it’s definitely a hit-or-miss spot for surfing.
You’ll also want to watch out for rip currents and rocks. To find the beach, look for coastal access signs along PCH for Latigo Shore Drive and follow the stairway onto the sand.
Most surf spots throughout Malibu are very popular, so you’ll want to be aware of your surroundings. Be polite and courteous to other surfers and use common sense.
Hopefully you can hang 10, and enjoy an Endless Summer at one of the best surf spots in Malibu.
And here’s two videos showing the huge waves that hit Malibu two years ago.