Top 5 Places In LA To Get Punched Out In The Surf

Localism SucksSeeing great surf at a secluded point, reef, or jetty in LA, you suit up and merrily paddle out for a go. Now you’re sitting on your board out the back, good waves coming through, and you’re noticing the unusually light crowd in the water or the pack of surly locals surrounding the top of the peak… Congratulations! You just might have found yourself at one of the Top 5 Places In LA To Get Punched Out In The Surf!

One of the things about surfing in LA is the positive vibe at many of the spots. There’s a lot of beach break, with a variety of skill levels, and even from a variety of national and international origins. So, throw stink eye out at Bay Street, and the friendly German architect/surfer next to you merely misinterprets it as a signal of your stoic pride. Claim a peak at El Porto and the next closeout makes a mockery of the gambit. Act tough at Zuma? For one it’s too damn cold! There are however pockets of localism that do persist, EVEN in LA, places where it might not be advisable to roll up with say 5 of your most ripping surf buddies, blasting techno music talking on your mobile phones.

LA Surf Localism

Number 5: Malibu

Malibu Surfrider Beach

Here you might actually roll up with five dudes and techno. Not a secret spot, nor an intensely-regulated locals spot, but there are a variety of ways in which to take one for the team at Malibu. It gets extremely crowded and with sometimes long lulls between waves. There’s certainly a local pecking order in the lineup, and a lot of testosterone as well. Set waves invariably catch the kooks on the inside, with multiple boards tombstoning and otherwise just obstacles bobbing about as you catch your wave. Collisions, heated exchanges, and the occasional fist does let fly. Desperation, frustration, darkness… but then that rare set outside and you’re in position! Keeps us all coming back.

Number 4: Topanga

Topanga Point

Like Malibu, not a secret nor intensely regulated by locals, but that said run-ins can abound with the Morning Becomes Eclectic group of locals out there. Crowded, lots of white belts out in the water, with an established crew of variety Santa Monica, Venice, Malibu and Topanga Canyon types all having a go at it.

Number 3: Breakwater


Venice still does coarse Dogtown in it’s veins, and also some pretenders that claim bad-assery out at the Breakwater. But the truth is that you can find yourself in the thick of it with the local boys, especially those winter days when the right is going. Funny that there can be vibes out at such a marginal and crowded place, but hey.

Number 2: Indicators


Now we are stepping it up a bit. PV, Palos Verdes surf spots are a step up regarding localism, and Indicators is certainly one of the spots that merits the stereotype. Don’t mistake stink eye as a signal of stoic pride out here, Indicators is all PV locals have, this and Lunada Bay, and their million dollar trust funds…

Number 1: Lunada Bay

Lunada Bay

Not many people outside of PV have stories of surfing Lunada Bay, even Sunny Garcia famously rolled up and was turned around. An epic right-hander and fairly consistent, but good luck even making it down the goat trail let alone for the paddle out.

8 Responses to “Top 5 Places In LA To Get Punched Out In The Surf”
  1. gina

    Indicators? Yeah thats right its called indicators…..KOOK!

  2. John

    I was born in 1972 and raised in RPV. Started surfing in 5th grade. Just like any spot, there can be real dicks in the water. I’m 40 now, and I’ve lived in San Diego since 96. I was home with family a couple of Thanksgivings ago, and I surfed Indicator when there were only two “kids” (probably in there 20s) out. They both caught the first two waves of the set, and I caught one when they were paddling back out. As I’m on the wave and going down the line, one of the kids turns around and drops in on me. I paddle over to him after the wave and tell him not to do that. He asks me where I’m from and who I know. Haha. Laughable. This “me” attitude that some of these guys have is eventually going to get them in trouble or beat down or who knows… all it takes is for them to hassle someone who just doesn’t give a shit.
    I actually feel sorry for PV surfers now that I’ve called other surf towns, like Santa Cruz and San Diego, home. A classic longboard spot & some good reefs don’t make up for the general lack of surf and the “dick” factor.

  3. 04.03.2013

    Crappy waves. Who cares?

  4. Endless scummer

    Talk about localism.. Come up and try to surf Oregon ..slashed tires and severed deer heads on your car… Stay in Cali kooks

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