This is the best beach for beginners. The mellow waves are perfect for complete novices or families looking for a stress-free learning experience. Given its reputation, it can get really busy in the summer so it’s best to head here from Autumn through to Spring. The soft, gentle, right-hand reef is particularly popular with longboarders.

This south-facing beach also has a large pier and big sandy beach. There are events throughout the summer too, with outdoor cinemas, live music on the Esplanade Stage, twilight concerts and art shows.

Best places to surf Santa Cruz

6. Private Beach

Private Beach is another excellent option for longboard fans. Waves are long and gentle, perfect for those looking for a little seclusion too since it’s lesser-well known than Cowell’s. Once upon a time, it was only open to local residents on Opal Cliff, accessible only by a locked gate fronting the cliffs. Since 2019,  it’s been a public beach. It’s around a mile from Pleasure Point and to get there you’ll need to climb down the wooden staircase from the bluffs.

7. Four Mile Beach

Located four miles out of Santa Cruz (hence the name), Four Mile Beach is popular with surfers of all skills. Swells vary dramatically and when it does pick up, it offers long rights towards the beach. The current can be strong here too but in the summer the waves tend to be more manageable.

There’s a trail along the bluff to 3 Mile Beach if you’re looking for a picturesque hike to accompany your surf too.

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