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Surf Spots

Photo: Pier at Pismo Beach, CA

Review & Photos by Bill Polick

Daniel Wilson on the nose at Pismo Pier

Elizabeth Malcom sets a personal style at Pismo

Ashley Torrez glides into a turn

Known best for local sand dunes and clams, Pismo Beach has some excellent surf.

When the California coast was flat from San Diego to San Simeon, the sand bars built up on each side of the pier created small but fun waves.  The attitude here was friendly and locals were willing to share with visitors who show respect for their break.

Hot surfers such as Daniel Wilson can be seen getting amazing nose rides, even in semi-blownout conditions.  His friends Elizabeth Malcom and Ashley Torrez show signs of future stardom.

The break is gentle in a moderate swell and locals say it hits hard in winter northwesterns.  Summer southwesterns provide decent waves.

Two surprising finds: a great cafe for breakfast after a heavy session and a full-service surf shop, both less than a block from the pier.

Pierside Seafood Galley was a surprise.  Great prices for a lot of food.  Their 15 oz. ham steak for breakfast with potatoes, eggs and toast was far more than all but the heartiest appetites can handle.  It's almost two for one with their portions.  They understand surfers at this eatery.  That may be because it's right of the top of the stairs up from the beach.

Pancho's Surf Shop is just a few doors down the street.  Need a leash?  A board? Baggies?  It's all there and a lot more.

Pismo is a lot of fun.  Try it when you're wending your way along the Central California coast.