Backpacking in California
September 29, 2008 10:52 PM   Subscribe

So I'm going to Los Angeles on oct. 3. I have a few questions about LA and Cali.

The first thing is where could I securely store a really big backpack while I'm out and about. (pay or not)

Secondly, I'd really like go to surfing. Are there any places around LA where people surf, but it's not a very commercial surfing area?
Also if you have an old surf to sell for cheap, let me know :)
posted by PowerCat to Travel & Transportation around Los Angeles, CA (10 answers total)
How long are you going for? If you can get North of LA, up past Ventura, or anywhere South of LA, your chances of getting to uncommercial, uncrowded surf will be much improved. Frankly LA is such a big logjam, I wouldn't even bother trying to get out to surf there. But if you do, sign up for a lesson. Don't know what to tell you about storing your backpack. Good luck!
posted by iamkimiam at 11:06 PM on September 29, 2008

I've surfed in vancouver before.
I have a tent so I just wanna get a board and go somewhere to surf.
I'm there from the 3rd to 19th
posted by PowerCat at 11:10 PM on September 29, 2008

Go south. As far south as you can, because the challenge of LA is the massive amount of people. Camp Pendleton is the dividing line. If you were willing to train down, Swami's off Encinitas in North San Diego County is the closest on this earth to Heaven.
posted by msamye at 11:21 PM on September 29, 2008

The first thing is where could I securely store a really big backpack while I'm out and about. (pay or not)

Any big hotel. Five dollars.

I'm no surfer, but the beaches do definitely go from "dirty cluttered city" to great the further south you go out of town, so if that's any indication, I'm thirding "south".
posted by rokusan at 11:28 PM on September 29, 2008

Sunset Beach is a nice easy wave. Don't miss Malibu. It's always crowded but when it is even slightly on it's a great long board wave. There's also a short board wave to the north of the main wave. Los Angeles is a big city with a large population so your chances of getting a wave to yourself are pretty small. If I were desperate to get away from people I'd go to some of the pocket beaches north of Malibu or head to one of the crowded beach breaks down around Huntington Beach and try to find a peak that no one is sitting on. I think I get more out the experience of surfing in L.A. when I forget about trying to escape the crowd and just start enjoying being in the water with everyone else.

If you're thinking of surfing and camping somewhere by yourself you might want to think about heading up to the central coast or Northern California.
posted by rdr at 11:32 PM on September 29, 2008

I don't surf (though I've always wanted to learn!) but when I lived in Long Beach several years ago, it seemed like every time I visited Huntington Beach there were a handful of very happy looking folk in the water having a great time on their boards.
posted by Princess Valium at 12:15 AM on September 30, 2008

Surf in the OC, I'd say. Huntington Beach = "Surf City," because the lawsuit says so!

If you want to have a productive day surfing, practice your balance first. If you have and exercise ball, practice sitting on it, then kneeling on it and then finally standing. You can use a wall for support. It's great cross-training for surfing. I used to stand on the exercise balls at the gym and people gave me funny looks-- as they should. Stood up for 10 minutes once, if you can do that, you can stand up on a surfboard.
posted by No New Diamonds Please at 12:17 AM on September 30, 2008

Manhattan Beach, Manhattan Beach, Manhattan Beach: Close to LA, but much more of a "local" beach than a "thousands of tourists" beach. Usually pretty decent waves, nothing too spectacular but reasonably solid. Below that, going south, is Hermosa, which has more bars along the beach and is a little more of a "destination" for tourists. Hermosa has pretty small waves, but not too bad. Keep going south (way south, to the OC) and you'll hit Huntington, which is better surf than Manhattan and very much a "surf community" as other people have noted.
posted by Damn That Television at 11:16 AM on September 30, 2008

How are you getting around? Huntington has a better surfing scene, but there's a hostel just steps from the Hermosa pier, and it would be much easier to get to Hermosa by public transportation.
posted by Horselover Fat at 8:36 PM on September 30, 2008

Huntington Beach is beautiful. There is a microclimate sort of thing happening there, and it is usually about 10 degrees cooler, in hot weather, than nearby places. Waves are good, the surfers are a friendly sort, not territorial dickheads like you'll find at points further south.
posted by Goofyy at 5:29 AM on October 1, 2008

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