Newport Beach has had a long history of surfing, from the early longboarders of the 1920s to the sophisticated shortboards of today. In fact, the first-ever surf competition was held in Corona del Mar in 1928, called the Pacific Coast Surf Board Championships. In the 90 years since, Newport Beach and surfing have come a long way.
Corona del Mar was once a top surf spot in California but efforts to tame this beast to protect the harbor and its boats changed surfing forever. While the initiative destroyed the wave machine of Corona, it created in its place the great wave known today as The Wedge. This wave doesn’t always occur but lucky surfers and bystanders can watch and experience it roar during a south or southwest swell. And The Wedge is just one reason Newport Beach has earned its rightful spot as one of the best places in the world to ride waves.
Many surf brands and action sports companies have planted their headquarters in and around Newport Beach because of The Wedge and other famed surf spots along the shoreline. Dudes like Russell Brown (founder of Russell Surfboards) and others have been crafting quality boards in Newport Beach since the golden surfing era of the 60s. With iconic shops like The Frog House, Almond Surfboards, Jack’s Surfboards and Russell Surfboards, there is no shortage of quality surfboards in this surfer’s paradise.
The Wedge is just one reason Newport Beach has earned its rightful spot as one of the best places in the world to ride waves.
When it comes to surfing, Newport Beach truly has something for everyone. Whether you’re a beginner who has never even dipped your toes in the Pacific Ocean or else a seasoned veteran practically born in the water, there’s a surf spot in Newport Beach for you. To prove it, I asked a few seasoned locals to share their favorite surf spots around town. Here’s what they had to say:
“I’d say Blackies [just North of Newport Pier] is a good beginner and longboard spot. The Jetties are more advanced, crowded and localized. Some [spots] are blackballed — no surfing, only bodyboarding and swimming.” – John Lucarelli (@lucarelliphoto)
“In Newport, I like the Santa Ana River jetties across from Frog House before the bridge” – Kyle Roland (@kyleroland81)
“One of the best places to surf in Newport is the 56th Street jetty on a mid-size south [swell], in my opinion. Most of the jetties in Newport are dominant lefts, which gets a little tiring as a regular footer going backside over and over again, plus pulling into backside tubes has proven to be a tricky task, but 56th jetty is refreshing in that you can typically find a decent right and left there. When you get tired of going left, paddle to the 54th side of the jetty and you can usually find little right nugs. It makes for a more well rounded sesh. “ – Abby Dixon (@abbyjoyd)
“Def river jetty, Blackies & 36th.” – Brooke Daigneault (@brookedag)
“54th street and The Wedge.” – Daniel Shea (@dsheabutter)
“The jetties for sure. Like, 36th will be smaller and cleaner while 52nd is bigger but sometime more walled.” – Brent Weldon (@weldon88)
This post was written by Paul Bivens, a guest contributor to West Oceanfront and local Newport Beach writer, photographer and surfer. Find him on Instagram, @paulbivens_imagery.