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Building Board Confidence: Avila Beach Surf

Published: March 24, 2022

Accessibility and inclusion are the shining features of Avila Beach, with calmer surf and waist-high closeout waves creating a beginner’s paradise to build confidence on a board. Shielded from harsh wind by the neighboring cliffsides, Avila Beach is considered one of the safest beaches off Highway 1. The main beach offers reliable conditions and a less busy environment for both newcomers and children to build up their skills. Similar to other beaches around San Luis Obispo County, Avila Beach is affected by remarkable pushes of the tide, swell angles, and swell periods. This means that an average summer day makes the area exposed to southwest swells, while northwest swells are more commonly found in the winter. It’s important to note that the south-facing entrance makes Avila Beach just a bit sunnier and warmer than its neighboring Pismo Beach.

Whether you start on a boogie board or venture out atop a surfboard to strengthen your sea legs, you’ll enjoy mild surf and zero undertows or rip currents. The water pull at Avila Beach is more inconsistent, but that doesn’t mean that an occasional large swell won’t build up just south of Harford Pier. The water is a cool 55 to 65 degrees Fahrenheit, so make sure to bring your swimsuit along or rent one at of the convenient rental shops located right along the beach. Wave conditions reach their peak during the fall and winter months when the sea well picks up. Wind also picks up in the afternoons, so if you’re looking for a milder time then you’re best to set off for an early morning surf session.

If you’re not interested in getting wet, you’ll still be able to enjoy the beauty of Harford Pier as one of the only drivable piers in California with accessibility to free and close parking. Or if you’d rather take up a bike or walk, the pedestrian-friendly downtown area is sure to welcome you. No matter your choice of activity or transportation, the cozy canopy of oak and sycamore trees and fresh coastal breeze will make sure you return to beautiful Avila Beach, California.

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