Surf Files: Best Waves for New Riders

Hermosa Beach surfers divulge the best surf spots in the South Bay for beginners.

Surf's up for the tried and true Hermosa Beach wave-riders who take advantage of the local coastline. Amateurs and out-of-towners have often overlooked and misunderstood the South Bay surf because weather conditions are so varied, local surfers have said.

But, according to Tim Tindall, a bodyboarder from Torrance who has been surfing since 1975, they're riding the wrong wave. "Enjoy the experience of riding waves in the South Bay," he advised.

There are a number of hidden beach locations ideal for beginning to moderate level surfers, according to Dr. Brad Thomas, 43, a sports medicine specialist at Beach Cities Orthopedics who has been surfing since the age of 5.

"A beginner spot in the South Bay would be The Cove," he said, referencing Bluff Cove in Palos Verdes. 

The Cove is a long, wide and often secluded bay by the jut of the Palos Verdes peninsula that has waves peaking up to 12 feet, a treat for longboards and long rides. The south end of The Cove has more scattered waves, but can be good up to 15 feet.

Even though this part of the shore is often less crowded, some surfers dispute that the waves are more challenging than beginners assume, and tricky to line up.

"Go to an uncrowded beach in Hermosa or Manhattan," suggested Bobby Kitchcart, a Redondo Beach bodyboard athlete sponsored by companies including Custom-X Bodyboards and RXYM clothing.

Tindall agreed that South Bay beach breaks — including Redondo Beach near Herondo Street, El Porto, Hermosa and Manhattan beaches — serve as premier training ground for young surfers.

"If you can surf in the South Bay you can surf just about any place," he said.

To find hidden gems locally, Kitchcart said, simply take early morning walks along the local shoreline and you can discover the best easy-to-access waves at beach breaks.

But a stretch of pristine beach today may not be accessible tomorrow, due to Northwest winds and long-period swells of ocean water constantly shaping the sandy ocean floors of South Bay beaches.

For this reason, even though most local residents have said that the waves near the Hermosa Beach pier are tiresome, Kitchcart suggested that the consistent surf supports most levels of riders and is a reliable backup resort.

"Go with a buddy who knows how to surf, just take baby steps," he said. "If there are other people around, be respectful, don't get in their way, and just have fun."

Editor's Note: This is the first installment of a two-part "Surf Files" series. Next, the best-hidden waves for advanced surfers.


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