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Best Surf Towns: No. 5 San Clemente, CA

Best Places in the U.S. to Eat, Sleep, Work and Shred

| posted on April 05, 2009

Mike Losness, San Clemente Pier. Photo: Ellis


Sandwiched between the urban sprawl of Orange County to the north, and the bomb-blasting expanse of Camp Pendleton in the south, San Clemente is the unpolished, yet decidedly wave-rich, jewel of the region.

Waves
San Clemente forms one of the most consistent, and wave-rich zones in Southern California. Furthermore, its geography means that it is exposed to both winter northwest swells and summer time souths, and is equally receptive to both. T-Street, known for its consistent surf and the talent it spawns, is the surfing nucleus of the town, and has played more than just a passing role in the history of the sport. Then of course there is Trestles (host to North America’s only ASP World Tour event), Church, and San Onofre, which despite technically existing within San Diego County, makes up the most infamous part of the San Clemente surf landscape.

Culture
Make no mistake, despite its relatively large population, San Clemente remains very much a small town. As far as nightlife is concerned, if you’re looking for anything more than a good graze or a few drinks in a dimly-lit bar, then you’d best head north. That being said, the surf culture is pervasive, and its presence is felt everywhere, a fact that may be attributed to the four major surf publications that call it home. But a more plausible reason is that the surf community itself is as broad in its influence as it is in its scope–think the Fletchers, the Andinos, and the Longs, to name a few.

Quality of Life
Spoiled with an abundance of year-round consistent surf and the signature Southern Californian sunshine, San Clemente is a great place for a surfer to call home. While it may not maintain the polished veneer that some other towns enjoy, it’s what you find below the perceived grit (and at times the grittiness itself) that make this town so appealing.

Average Water Temp: 63
Average Air Temp: 62
Median Income: $79,101
Median Home Price: $966,936
Most Common Industry: Construction
Population: 61,229
Nearest city with pop. 200,000+: San Diego, CA (56.0 miles, pop. 1,223,400)
Premier Surf Spots: Trestles, T-Street
Local Talent: Christian and Nathan Fletcher, Wardo, Kolohe Andino, Kolohe Andino, Greg and Rusty Long, Dane Ward, Mike Losness.

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  • Hugo

    What about Matt Archbold?!?!?