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6 Events to Check Out for California Surfing Day

6 Events to Check Out for California Surfing Day

Hang loose up and down the Golden State at these September surfing celebrations

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Posted a month agoby Allison Hata

A wilderness of water and sandy shores, California's 840 miles of coastline is a surfer’s paradise. From big breaks at Mavericks by Half Moon Bay to easy paddle-outs at Lower Trestles near San Onofre State Beach, the dozens of iconic surf spots along the coast provide idyllic conditions for catching a wave. As the official sport of the Golden State, surfing even has a designated day of recognition, held annually on Sept. 20. This year, join locals and legends in celebrating the buildup to California Surfing Day at spectator events that honor the culture, connection, and community that the sport has brought to the West Coast. 

Sept. 16­–18: Nissan Super Girl Pro, Oceanside

Featuring more than 60 top professional female surfers, this annual Oceanside festival is equal parts competition and entertainment. It’s the largest women’s surfing event in the world, with head-to-head battles, an adaptive surfing exhibition, and a pro-am longboard competition taking place over the course of three days. In addition to a festival village with female-focused vendors, fitness classes, and women’s esports tournaments, the live entertainment lineup includes free concerts from 20 musical artists including The Offspring, Smash Mouth, Hoobastank, and Kira Kosarin.

Sept. 16–24: ISA World Surfing Games, Huntington Beach

For the first time in 16 years, the Orange County town known as Surf City USA will welcome athletes from all over the globe to the International Surfing Association’s World Surfing Games. Post up next to the Huntington Beach pier to catch this Olympic-qualifying event, which begins with an opening ceremony on Sept. 16.

Sept. 17: The Big Chill Out, Pacifica

Hosted by the Pedro Point Surf Club, a member of the California Coalition of Surfing Clubs, this amateur contest has been a Pacifica community mainstay for more than 30 years. Head to Linda Mar Beach, a great beginner surf spot just 15 minutes from San Francisco, to join hundreds of athletes and spectators for the event that includes an all-ages division, a team competition, and a heat for groms ages 10 and under. In true surfer spirit, proceeds from the event will benefit organizations committed to cleaning up local beaches around the San Francisco Peninsula.

Sept. 17: Surfing for Hope Memorial Paddle-Out, Avila Beach

A time-honored surf tradition, this Avila Beach paddle-out invites well-wishers to gather on the shore for a remembrance ceremony before heading to sea. On the water, paddlers will form a circle with their boards and splash in tribute to those who have lost their battle with cancer. The following weekend, Surfing for Hope is hosting another big event just down the coast in Pismo Beach: the Surfing for Hope Longboard Classic, a World Surf League qualifying series featuring top male and female longboard athletes from North America and Hawaii.

Sept. 17–18: WSA Championship Tour Event, Ventura

This family-friendly Western Surfing Association event takes place at Surfer’s Point Beach in Ventura, known as “C Street” to locals who love the right-hand waves and long rides. The inclusive divisions range from mini-groms ages 6 and under to “super legends” over 60, with several heats for adaptive athletes of all ages.

Sept. 18: Surf Dog Surf-a-Thon, Del Mar

To hang ten with man’s best friend, visit Del Mar Dog Beach for the annual Surf Dog Surf-A-Thon. It’s a fierce competition between 70 pups angling for top honors in their weight class, with judges scoring their ability to ride the waves and stay on the board. This year includes a freestyle contest that’s all about fun—extra points for themed costumes, tricks, and tandem rides can help them edge out the competition.

Not around for actual California Surfing Day events? You can still embrace the state’s sport any time of the year and visit surfing hubs such as Santa Cruz, Santa Monica, Pismo Beach, and more.

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