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The Cliffs

Mike gets covered at Huntington Cliffs.
Review & Photos by Bill Polick

If I'd never been there before the day my son Mike and I did our photo shoot, I'd say this place sucked.  But it doesn't!  We just caught it this time on the wrong tide with a weak swell.

Huntington Cliffs, in Huntington Beach, CA, is a couple miles north of the famous pier and downtown area.  Since I first started riding there in the mid 60s, it's been a favorite.

Catch a strong south, southwest or west swell at the right tide and this place will challenge your abilities.  Mike and I hit it a couple years ago at head high and it was awesome.  There are several peaks that spread out the crowds.  Limited parking and fairly expensive parking meters keep the crowds down too.

There's not the "localism" here that you find at the pier. In fact, it's mellow for those who surf with respect.  Locals here, especially the veterans, are more than willing to share their knowledge.

Waves are hollow, but at high tide the rocks at the foot of the cliff (or the sand that builds up against them) create major backwash.  During the photo shoot the outgoing surge made it difficult to catch anything.  And when you finally caught one after paddling like mad, it felt as if your fin would catch the bottom any second.  When the sand's gone, the high tide creates a dangerous washing machine effect against the rocks that can ruin your day if you get caught in it (take it from someone who knows firsthand!).

Bolsa Chica State Beach is just up the road, there's a nature preserve nearby and on clear days you can see Catalina Island beyond the offshore oil rigs.  Surfing nightlife abounds downtown...after all, this place bills itself as "Surf City USA."

Is Huntington Cliffs worth the trip from wherever you are?  You betcha!!

Hard right turn
Crankin' to the backside.