SURFER SPOTS: LOWER TRESTLES
One of Southern California’s premier surf spots.
Lowers is probably South Orange County’s most
popular wave. Works on S to SW summer
swells. Fast, bowling rights and shorter, but
sometimes hollow lefts. Rarely closes out. Holds
waves up to 15 feet. Very small take-off zone.
Once there are 15 people in the water, it’s
crowded (most days there are at least 50.) It can
even be crowded at night. Beautiful, natural setting.
There’s free parking on the east side of the freeway at the
Christianitos exit adjacent to Carl’s Jr. and the Rip Curl shop. Follow the
paved path next to the new Marine housing down the hill and to the
right for a half-mile to the beach.
Lowers is about a quarter-mile south of Uppers. Polluted after heavy
winter rains. Rocky walk/paddle at low tide at both spots. Trestles and
spots south are actually in San Diego County.
The region’s coastline is oriented from southeast to northwest — directly toward Southern
Hemisphere swell sources. The overall swell
window extends from 160 degrees clockwise
to 295 degrees. Some spots are slightly shadowed by San Clemente and Santa Catalina
Islands. The 4-to-7 foot tidal range affects
wave size and shape.
Surf quality varies considerably across the county. From Newport to Seal Beach most surf is
found at beach, jetty, pier and rivermouth
breaks. Laguna Beach’s coast is very rocky, and
few spots are ridable. In Dana Point and San
Clemente, there are a number of points and
reefs that often produce quality surf. The continental shelf is fairly narrow, allowing most long-period swells to reach the coast.