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California Surfing History

California surfing has a long and storied history, dating back to the 1920s. The first wave riders in California were Hawaiian expatriates who brought the sport with them when they migrated to the state. 

The first dedicated surfboard park, The Wedge, opened in Santa Monica in the late 1940s, and California was soon recognized as one of the leading surfing countries in the world. You can also click here for more info about Surfing in California.

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In 1952, famed surf photographer Bruce Brown arrived in Southern California and started documenting the burgeoning sport on film. His images captured some of California’s most iconic waves – like Mavericks and Point Dume – and helped to make surfing synonymous with the state. 

Today, California is home to some of the world’s best surf spots, including Malibu Beach, Huntington Beach, Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, Baja California Sur and more. 

Whether you’re a beginner looking for a safe place to learn how to surf or an experienced rider looking for some of the best waves on earth, there’s sure to be a spot waiting for you in California.

Surfing has been around for decades, but modern surfing began in Southern California and was popularized by the publication of Bruce Brown’s seminal work “Beach Boys” in 1961. Following Brown’s lead, surf shops spread from San Diego to Orange County and beyond. 

Soon, surf culture was booming – surfers were riding the waves on Sundays, driving vans to the beach and breaking into homes to steal boards.

California is home to some of the best waves in the world. From its famed point breaks such as Mavericks and Point Dume to long stretches of unbroken shoreline that are perfect for serious bodysurfing or paddleboarding.


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