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Where are we going? Destination Southern California, getaway to the cradle of American skiing.

With the Surf-Report Travel section, find an article dedicated to travel and trip culture every month!
Located south of the west coast of the United States, bordering the Pacific Ocean, California extends over 1300km. After taking a look at Northern California, it’s time to look at the southern end. The region is rich in quality surf spots: there is something for everyone. Beachbreaks, reefbreaks and pointbreaks cohabit there, both for beginners and for the more experienced.

If you do not necessarily intend to surf, do not panic there is something for everyone. This place is also very rich in cultural visits, the opportunity to immerse yourself in American culture with Hollywoodthe major Californian amusement parks, the sprawling city of Los Angeles, Death Valley, or even the yosemite park

For a little taste, discover this video of the Basque surfer Pauline Ado, near San Clemente seven years ago already.

Practical information

Capital city : Sacramento

Cash : U.S. Dollar

Tongue : English

Flight duration: A Paris-LAX flight takes 11 hours.

Time zone: UTC-8 (9 hours difference with Paris)

Mandatory visa: No (unless the trip lasts more than 3 months) On the other hand, an ESTA electronic travel authorization must be completed.

Compulsory vaccines: Yes. To enter the territory on the date of publication of this article, you must provide proof of a complete vaccination schedule (for adults) and present a negative virological test for Covid-19 (PCR or antigenic) carried out no more than 24 hours before the trip. . This is also mandatory for children.

Santa Monica Pier

What budget?

The currency is the US dollar. To date, $1 is equal to €0.95. The best means of payment remains the credit card, so it may be useful to inquire with your bank to ensure payment compatibility. For the species, many exchange offices are present in each city.

For a trip, the cost of living is slightly higher than in France in terms of catering and accommodation… Nevertheless, we can have good surprises! Gasoline, for example, currently costs €1.87 in France (a price that has fluctuated between €1.50 and €2.00 in recent years) in the United States, the price is set at €0.89 (varies between 0 .7 and €1.23).

In terms of accommodation, a bed in a dormitory costs between $25 to $35. The motels also welcome you: count pfor a night between 95 at $115 for a double room in season and 200 $ in a hotel (note most of the time, the prices displayed are excluding taxes, you must add 9 to 15% on each expense). However, other alternatives are still available to you, such as renting apartments or houses for more tranquility, or even campsites for smaller budgets.

What means of transportation ?

To get there from Europe, you will have to go by air if time is short for us. The price of plane tickets vary with the seasons. VSCount at least €500 for a Paris-Los Angeles return trip in winter and more than €800 for the same service in summer. Note, if you want to travel with your boards, it is good to contact the company before booking your flight to find out what are the special rates for the management of boardbags.

On site, the easiest way to get around will be by car. In order to be free during your travels throughout the stay, and to explore while varying the activities. Many car rental companies are located near the airports and offer all kinds of vehicle: car, van, camping car… Prices may vary, so it is advisable to compare prices before your arrival.

The van is an option taken by many surfers, an option taken by the Mountains and Coconuts duo two years ago:

Please note that before the age of 21 (American legal age) it is almost impossible to rent a vehicle in the United States. In addition, to drive on the spot, it will be necessary to carry out a international permit application before your trip.

You can also use public transport, especially the bus, when traveling around town.

When to leave?

Fall, winter and spring are the best times to visit the cradle of American skiing. Although summer is the most favorable period in terms of weather, the crowds are very high there, which could disrupt your holidays (crowds on the roads, beaches or even in the water).

Going to California for the waves means tossing a coin: you can find a week with very good waves of 1m50 every day, like a week with waves of 50cm. Nevertheless, by looking a little, there is youalways a place where the swell has surprises in store.

The water temperature is the same as in the south of France. From June to September it oscillates between 18-24 degrees: 2/2 of rigor. For the intermediate season (March-May / October-November) a 3/2 will suffice while the 4/3 will be required in winter accompanied by neoprene accessories (balaclava, booties, gloves) for the coldest sessions.

Where to surf?

Lower Trestles

Southern California’s famed gem doesn’t have to be a place for beginners. Behind its history, and the many competitions that take place there, Lower Trestles is synonymous with regularity and fun. There are a multitude of peaks that break in right or left. Victim of its success, the wave is often very crowded, and you are not immune to some taxes, especially in the summer season.

Huntington Beach

Probably one of the most famous spots in California, thanks to the many competitions like the Vans Duce Tape or even theU.S. Open. Huntington is a “surf city” where everything revolves around surfing. There is a museum dedicated to surfing, surf bars, surf shops, surf cinemas and, like in Hollywood, a “walk of fame” dedicated to surfing.

The beach is located in the county from Orange and is sheltered by a jetty. The spot is exposed to all possible swell directions, so the waves are very regular throughout the year. This spot is accessible to both beginners and seasoned surfers. Depending on the swells, there are a multitude of peaks to the right and to the left. If you are surfing around the pier, be careful not to end up in the pier! Pier columns, although a challenge in the past, can be very dangerous and accidents are not uncommon.


Finally a point break! Rincón defines the classic California point-break. Near Santa Barbara and Ventura, the “queen of the coast” is a long straight that unrolls in a crescent-shaped bay, a real wave machine. This spot is nevertheless very popular, even if the population is generally well extended with the three distinct peaks (The Indicator, The River Mouth and The Cove). From shortboards to longboards, everyone can find what they are looking for.

What to do on flat days?

Although the list of surf spots above is far from exhaustive, you will have the opportunity to discover a multitude of other spots once there. Over a week where the waves will follow one another, even if the desire to be in the water will be stronger than you, we strongly advise you to take advantage of American culture in Southern California. If you love big cities, visit the sprawling Los Angeles for its monuments and shops and soaking up American culture is an idea. In search of nature, you can visit the Yosemite Parkwhere the hikes are numerous and the view majestic.

Yosemite National Park


All the formalities and procedures for going to American soil can be found on

The main thing to remember is that for nationals of the European Union and Switzerland, you must have a valid passport, and for a stay for a period of less than 3 months a ESTA. If you stay on Californian territory beyond this period, you will need to obtain the B2 tourist visa.


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