Tucked in just below the endless suburbs of Orange County and above the high rises of downtown San Diego lies a couple miles of sleepy beachfront communities known as “North County,” which houses various surf-families in the towns of Del Mar, Solana Beach, Encinitas, Carlsbad, and the charming stretch of sand we’ll be checking out today, Cardiff by the Sea.
The entire North County area is well-known for its waves, and Cardiff is no exception. Pro surfers such as Rob Machado grew up there, and the place continues to churn out wave-riding talent. Given this, we caught up with local up-and-coming pro JD Lewis to get some info on his home town.
According to JD, one notable aspect about the area is not just the presence of good surf, but also the variety of waves, which can separate the crowds appropriately.
“The waves around town are fun year-round but shine in the fall and winter months (October to February). The more well-known breaks are Swamis, Cardiff Reef, and Seaside Reef,” explains JD. “In the approximately three miles of coastline that make up Cardiff there are a variety of waves for any type of board: shortboard, longboard, fish etc., and any type of surfer.”
The size of the community itself means a tight-knit and friendly atmosphere. “The vibe is pretty similar to most small surf towns. You run into people you know on a daily basis and will know half the guys in the water any given session. Everyone is surf stoked or beach stoked. There is a good mix of older locals who have been surfing in the area since the ’70s and ’80s, as well as up-and-coming young surfers.”
And we can’t forget one of the most crucial elements to any good surf-town: the after-surf meal. “After surfing I love heading over to Seaside Market for some good food,” says JD.
The below video of JD and friend Hunter Lysaught should give to a pretty good idea as to why surfers like them love living in Cardiff.
Photo: Robby Schell