Surf’s up in SLO CAL! Whether you're a seasoned surfer or a newbie in the water, SLO CAL is your destination for tasty waves. With miles of pristine beaches, helpful surf instruction and convenient board rental shops, the only thing left to do is paddle out.


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Best time for surfing?

The spring and summer months provide smaller, more manageable waves for beginners looking to learn the ropes. Throughout the fall and winter season, waves build in size and power—great news for avid surfers.

Regardless of your skill level, always aim to hit the water in the still hours of the morning, avoiding pesky afternoon winds. Now, get ready to bust out the wetsuit and wax that board: You’re just three steps from hanging ten in SLO CAL.


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group surf lesson taking place in Pismo BeachPhoto credit: Acacia Productions

Life’s a beach in SLO CAL. Boasting 80 miles of diverse coastline, discover waves suited for every skill level. A far cry from overcrowded sands, you’ll find plenty of shreddable territory (that is, if you know where to look). Here’s a few surf spots to consider:

Beginner to intermediate

  • Oceano and Pismo Beach

Oceano and Pismo Beach’s sandy beach breaks offer a welcoming locale for new surfers looking to find their footing (the nearby Pismo Beach Pier provides a fun step up in skill level).

  • Morro Bay

At popular Morro Rock and Morro Strand State Beach, surfers of all abilities paddle in the shadow of Morro Bay’s iconic 500-foot tall volcanic plug (a sight to behold).

  • Cayucos

A little farther north in the laid-back surf town of Cayucos, the historic Cayucos Pier surf spot offers moderate waves perfect for both beginner and intermediate paddlers.



  • Cambria and San Simeon

Fancy yourself an advanced shredder? Challenge your moves with Shell Beach’s rocky reef break or brave the rugged coast of Cambria to the north. Pico Creek in San Simeon is a reliable (and beautiful) surf spot for accomplished surfers, albeit featuring chillier waters.


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group getting ready for a surf lesson with Pismo Surf Academy
Photo credit: Acacia Productions

Sea, spray and sun: Learning to surf in SLO CAL is a rewarding and thrilling experience, to be sure. That said, wiping out is all part of the fun! Local surf pros and tailored educational experiences can help you become one with the wave. Private and group classes are available as well as various surf camps designed to teach the fundamentals at a friendly pace.

Is surfing difficult to learn?

Did you know it only takes about three lessons for most people to get the hang of surfing? That said, you can learn a lot in one day—or even one hour—of quality instruction. A lifelong pursuit, folks of all ages can attest to the magical benefits of chasing the surf from childhood and into their golden years.


Learn to surf in Avila Beach

Offering one-on-one lessons all the way up to ten-person groups, this mobile surfing school and rental resource is your one-stop shop. Plus, you can choose to join a 1-5 day summer camp to further hone your skills.

Founded and run by local legendary waterman Van Curaza, VCSS offers popular summer surf camps plus private and group lessons designed to get you up to speed fast.


Learn to surf in Pismo Beach

Offering everything you need to get out on the water, including private and group coaching with or without a way cool vintage Winnebago, these knowledgeable locals are here to instruct style.

This mobile surf school offers surf lessons, surf camps, rentals and more. With help from a pro, learn to surf the waves of Pismo Beach, Avila Beach or Morro Bay–your choice.

Satisfy your rental needs at Esteem Surf Shop and sign up for hands-on help from local pros. With a little know-how, you'll be paddling out with confidence.

Find private and group surf lessons based in Pismo Beach. Along with lessons they also offer rentals, apparel, surfboards and custom boards shaped by the owner.


Learn to surf in Morro Bay

  • Morro Bay Surf School

This mobile surf school offers private and group lessons as well as educational summer camps. Paired with board and wetsuit rentals, you’ll be ready to hit Morro Rock in no time.

With a shop on the Embarcadero, Cal Coast Adventures offers private and group surfing lessons in Morro Bay and Cayucos. They offer super camp too. And bonus: electric bike tours are also available! 


Learn to surf in Cayucos

Offering group surfing lessons for two or more people, try a one-hour class with gear included. Hooked? Keep your lesson equipment for two additional hours and solidify all you’ve learned.


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boy looking for surf rentals at Pismo Beach surf shopPhoto credit: Acacia Productions

Time to load up and head out! So you didn’t arrive in SLO CAL with a fully loaded woody. No worries. Renting your gear is as easy as throwing on a pair of flip flops. With plenty of friendly purveyors to choose from, you need not stray far from the sand. While you're checking out the local surf shops, grab some serious SPF, surf wax and a wetsuit, too.


Why a wetsuit?

SLO CAL seawater temperatures range seasonally from 55 to 65 degrees Fahrenheit, but that’s nothing a good wetsuit can’t handle. Plus: epic views and great post-sesh culinary, craft beer and wine offerings provide a worthy reward.


How much do surf rentals cost?

The act of surfing is always free. That said, you’ll need some gear to make the most of your time on the water. While it depends whether you want to rent your gear for a few hours, half a day or a full day, Wetsuit rentals run approximately $20 per day and board rentals (short, long and boogie) cost approximately $25 a day. Inquire with local shopkeepers regarding additional gear, including SUP boards and accessories, kayaks, e-bikes and more.


Pismo Beach surf shops

Known for classic California vibes, Pismo Beach surf shops are interspersed among mom-and-pop boutiques and family-friendly restaurants serving iconic clam chowder, barbecue and more. Find surf rentals, fashionable beach clothing, swimwear, souvenirs and more here:

Morro Bay surf shops

Morro Bay’s friendly, hometown feel translates into a casual surf shop experience (no up-selling here). Whether you hit the bustling Embarcadero or wander off the beaten path, you’re sure to experience the feel-good nature of this celebrated surfing community. Hit these haunts for surf rentals, threads, locally branded accessories and more:

Cayucos Surf Shops

Cayucos is known for its laid-back charm, historic pier and uncrowded beaches. While offering just a few surf shops to choose from, this coastal destination is all about offering, quality over quantity. Find excellent surf rentals, beach attire, keepsakes and more here: