How to Surf by Yourself Everyday (In Southern California)

| posted on March 16, 2011

Surfing alone in California may sound impossible, but you can find the solitude if you are willing to make sacrifices. Photo: Maassen

The key is this, says Mickey Munoz: “Surf between the cracks.” That’s it. Easy.

You’re working with two controllable elements here: Time and geography.

Surf at odd times of the day and your world opens up. Dawn patrols are for people who want to be cold, tired, and surfing in a crowd that gets bigger as time goes on. Far better to surf at sundown. Not an hour before sundown, but sundown itself. There’s generally an hour or so of surfable light after sun hits the horizon, especially in the summer. And unlike the dawn patrol, surfing at sundown gives the stress-relieving enjoyment of a crowd that thins with each passing wave.

Surf down the beach. Find a secluded beachbreak. This spot will not be on a map. It may not have a name. It likely might only barely be recognized as a wave. It might be on the inside section of an already C-list surf spot. But, you can rely on being alone there, and you can do a few turns, fly down the inside speed-track, maybe do a head-dip or get a cover-up.

What it comes down to is priorities. If your aim is to get wet, if it’s to do a few turns, or if it’s to “be alone with the surf and your thoughts,” well, you can do it, but you have to be willing to sacrifice to get it. Speed for solitude. Consistency for contentedness. The choice is yours.

  • William Bay

    Very nice.
    Where I surf there are lights on the pier. It makes it surfable well into the night. I suppose you could surf 24 hours if you wanted to.

  • Joam

    I just sit outside of everyone and catch the bombs. In my world there is no one out.

  • Anthony

    The only problem with surfing dusk and alone is higher risk of shark attacks…yikes! My cousin was surfing Deal, NJ the other day and saw a great white (maybe about 10ft) breach out of the water in chest deep water. First time he’s seen that in Jersey in 30+ years of surfing…

  • CCrider


  • Ed

    Fine, except it’s often blown out at or after sunset, and the reason people don’t surf “down the beach” is because it doesn’t break down there.

  • Mac

    Surfing a pier with lights is so sweet!

  • Kyle Berube

    Plenty of secret spots in Northern California.
    Almost every one of my dawn patrol sessions is with me and my closest friends.
    Heavy Waves, Great White Sharks, and Cold Water keep the crowds at bay.

  • Renzo

    I used to surf everyday, now I live in Florida and I have to wait for the waves to get here, but when they arrive it gets super fun! …. really fun.
    I don’t care if it is at dawn or sundown as long as there are waves….

  • Night Stroker

    I stroke into big midnight bombs with NVGs on.

  • Joshua

    Get up earlier post sewage spill signs four hundred yards both ways of the walk out. And while everyone is on shore laughing at you churning in the poooh, your getting your break all to yourself….. All who think they are on the menu stay with the crowds odds in your favor, more bait in the water. Oh wait more bait more noise, splashing, scent, and not to mention… Oh ya sharks eat FISH…….

  • Garrick

    70+ surfers on an island 9 miles by 7, with 3 decent breaks which go off seperately usually, means that we don’t unfortunately have the choice, that some of you guys do. However, picking off-peak times is definitely good advice. I just had 3 clean rides with 10 other surfers in glorious sunshine at 11.30 this morning, so no complaints here.
    Let’s face it, it doesn’t matter where you are, when you catch a wave, you feel like you’re the only one on it! It is sweet.

  • Joesalutesyou

    Where I surf I get to surf alone everyday at anytime even when the surf is cooking,southcoast south Africa bliss