About Aliso Creek

Aliso Creek isn’t really a surf spot most of the year — just your basic, bottomless shorepound that bodyboarders and skimboarders frequent — it tends to get overlooked by surfers. A stealthy crew of local surfers have cracked the code and know when Aliso Creek is actually worth checking, but those days are few and far between — maybe a handful of decent, surfable days a year. It enjoyed a bit of a heyday when the pier was still in place, but ever since it was removed the bottom got trenched-out and deep. S swells get into the zone but don’t really have a dependable bottom to break on until they hit the shore. There are moments — with the right tide and swell angle and a little sandbar luck — but Aliso Creek is hardly a dependable, go-to surf spot.

Source: Aliso Creek Surf Guide

Ability Level

Advanced

Beg Int Adv

Unless you feel comfortable pulling into close-out barrels right on the sand, pumping Aliso Creek is not for you.

Local Vibe

Doable

Welcoming Intimidating

You’ll find a lot of tourists hauling their boogie boards down to the beach, as it’s one of the only places in the area with beachfront parking, but there is a hardened, talented crew of underground surfers that show up when it’s on.

Crowd Factor

Mellow

Mellow Heavy

Since it’s not really surfable most of the time, the crowd factor is basically non-existent, but when it turns on, the talent is clearly apparent.

Spot Rating

Poor

Poor Perfect

Better for skimboarding than surfing most days of the year, Aliso Creek rarely offers up quality surf, but there are a handful of locals that have figured out the equation.

Shoulder Burn

Light

Light Exhausting

Most of the time the wave breaks right on the sand, so there’s more of a chance of tweaking your neck than blowing out your shoulders. When it’s really pumping, fast-twitch reflexes are an asset.

Water Quality

Fair

Clean Dirty

When the Aliso Creek flushes after a good winter rain, things can get pretty brown. But as there’s only an average of 14 inches of rainfall per year in Laguna Beach, it’s usually pretty clean. And the further north you go towards Laguna, the better the water quality and visibility get.

Additional Information

Hazards

Heavy, neck-snapping shorebreak.

Access

It’s one of the only Orange County parking lots that’s actually on the sand. As long as you can find a parking spot, you’re good.

Bring Your

Shortboard, bodyboard, skimming, bodysurfing

Seabed

Aliso Creek generally breaks on hard-packed sand close to shore. There are a handful of offshore reefs in the area, but the rideable wave is a sand-bottom grinder.

Best Season

Aliso Creek requires just the right S swell to turn on during the summer or autumn months, especially tropical swells.

Swell Consistency and Wind Overview

Photos & Videos
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