26th Avenue Surf Break


by Stuart Thornton

Santa Cruz is known for its point breaks. Steamer Lane and Pleasure Point can produce waves that unspool for a long distance while still keeping their shape. The problem is that the takeoff zones for these breaks can be as crowded as Santa Cruz’s Highway 1 during rush hour traffic, especially on small days. On the East side, 26th Avenue, just north of Pleasure Point, offers a shifting beach break good for small- to medium-sized swells. Check the waves from the end of 26th Avenue, where a staircase leads to the beach. There’s limited parking on that street, so your best bet is to park at the nearby Moran Lake Park parking lot a couple of blocks north on East Cliff Drive.

IDEAL FOR surfers who will trade in point break waves for fewer crowds; skimboarders.

NOT THE PLACE FORpeople with attitude. This is a pretty mellow spot.

BAD IDEA TO go out when the swell is huge here.

26th Ave, Santa Cruz, CA, 95060.