Sonoma might not be the first place that comes to mind when thinking about surfing, especially since it is relatively nearby some of the world-famous surfing destinations. However, do not overlook this location as a prime surfing spot because Sonoma County certainly has something unique to offer.
Although not as popular as a few of its neighboring counties, Sonoma County is a great location for surfing for all levels of skill and experience. With waves reaching anywhere from 10 to 25 feet, Sonoma County’s surf is not to be missed. Popular surf spots include Black Point Beach and Salmon Creek.
Whether you are ready to catch some 25 feet tall waves in wild weather or just looking to master the art of surfing, Sonoma County undoubtedly has it all for you. For the surfers out there looking for the perfect spot that isn’t too overcrowded, continue reading to find out why Sonoma County could be the perfect location for you!
Table of Contents
Surfing In Sonoma County
Though some may be a little difficult to get to or near impossible to reach, Sonoma County has several miles of beaches along its coastline, and there are definitely a couple of spots that will grab even the most experienced surfer’s attention.
Thanks to the seemingly endless miles of coastline, overcrowding is not a significant issue at any of Sonoma County’s major surf spots. However, on a perfect day and under prime conditions, you are bound to see a crowd of local surfers ready to catch the next best wave. As is the case with any other surf spot, be patient and wait for your turn to catch a wave.
As with many famous surf spots in California, there are a few things to keep a lookout for to ensure your safety while on your surfboard. Thanks to the vast amounts of rocks and seaweed, sea lions and seals tend to find their home around in Sonoma County’s waters. This, of course, means that you must keep a lookout for any shark activity,
The Best Time To Surf in Sonoma County
Although the “outside” conditions are typically far more favorable during the Spring and Summer months, it is unfortunately not what you would expect when it comes to the surf conditions during this time. The waves that you can expect to see during these months are relatively small and unimpressive, and, coupled with crowding from tourists, you might want to give the surf a miss.
By contrast, the Fall months are the best for an incredible surfing experience in Sonoma County, particularly during the later parts of September through November. During this time, the waves are ideal and can be enjoyed under sunny skies. Although, Fall can also see some intense storms that can produce waves as large as 20 feet tall.
The winter months are best suited for those looking for a wild and adrenaline-pumping surf experience. The winter storms in Sonoma County create surfing conditions that are certainly not for the faint-hearted. Heavy rain coupled with 50-knot winds causes the waves to reach massive heights of 25 feet and bigger and are undoubtedly best suited for advanced surfers.
The Best Surf Spots In Sonoma County
Now that we know more about the surfing conditions in the area, let’s explore some of the best surf spots that Sonoma County has to offer:
Black Point Beach
Along the 10-mile-long, 5,200-acre Sea Ranch neighborhood, you will find the beautiful Black Point Beach. Because Black Point extends to the west, the surfable side is offshore when the wind is coming in from the southeast, and it typically gets even better with some exciting waves in the winter.
This, like the majority of the other beaches in Sonoma County, is a paradise for experienced surfers. The waves here can be somewhat risky, concealing dangerous rocks, and, to top it all off, there is the risk of sharks lurking in the shadows.
The place can and does become hollow, especially when the wind comes from the southeast. When the swell is too tiny for the other sites in the region, this is a decent place to check. The waves here are certainly good enough to impress experienced surfers but getting to the ideal spot isn’t all that easy.
Dillon Beach is another great surf spot to visit. It might not be as consistent, and the waves here are often smaller than surrounding sites like Salmon Creek and Point Reyes. However, this is still a great spot to consider visiting. The beach can get really crowded when it’s full, but it’s still a great surfing experience during less busy seasons.
Dillon Beach is also by far the best place for newcomers to learn to surf. The region is safe and reasonably confined, with the bonus of having a natural jetty to Bodega Bay. It’s the ideal area to test the waters and develop your balance before trying out the more challenging spots. There is even a local surfing school for those who might need a few lessons.
Salmon Creek is by far Sonoma County’s most famous surf spot. The layout of the beach and its surf are incredibly reminiscent of San Francisco’s famous Ocean Beach. The waves here at Salmon Creek are certainly not for the faint-hearted and will quickly teach you a lesson if you treat its powerful waves lightly.
Salmon Creek boasts some pretty large waves, often reaching heights of roughly 10-12 feet. This, of course, doesn’t guarantee that you will see waves of this size. However, this is undoubtedly one of Sonoma County’s surf spots that you do not want to miss.
With riptides and sharks, the waters at Salmon Creek can be treacherous, but if the circumstances are right, this is a terrific spot for the more experienced surfer. Typically, this is not the best place for beginners to start out, so make sure to pay attention to the conditions. Overall, Salmon Creek is a great place to go if you’re looking for an epic surf challenge.
Hopefully, by now, you have a more favorable opinion about Sonoma County being a competitive surf spot. Sure, it may have a few of its own downsides in some ways, but there is no denying that the waves here are top quality and well worth taking the time to pay a visit. Grab your board and get ready for an exhilarating surfing experience!