Adam Wright
(Tuesday) 2.5.08

Huntington Beach Cliffs

Actually part of the HB City beach the HB Cliffs are located just south of Bolsa Chica. The Cliffs get their name thanks to a small little coastal mesa that extends out to the beach. The mesa is being slowly eroded away and in the process it has produced a short cliff that sits right on the edge of the sand. Over the years they have had a couple of sidewalks slide off the cliff…so the bottom of the hillside is littered with a mix of rock, broken concrete and rebar…none of which is in the water.

The cliffs are another one of those spots that has two distinct personalities…the one we see most of the year is sort of soft and slow but is still fun wave. You can longboard on the smaller days but it gets fast enough to shortboard on a lower tide, particularly with a swell combo. It is usually better with the lower tide and has a tendency to get bogged down by too much water.

When we get big NW swells its whole attitude changes…the surf can get very heavy, dumpy, and the paddle to the outside can be brutal. It will actually hold a pretty sizeable wave as the swell really gets going…many spots will start to close out but the Cliffs will still have some makeable sections.

When the swell goes “really big” you actually start to see a bigger peak start to form on the outside, just north of a spot called the Gap. This spot has a lot of names, usually it is called Trolley Cars, Trolleys, or Box Cars. It is so hard to make it to the outside when Trolleys starts to break that not many people surf it.

Like most of HB the HB Cliffs seem to work best on a combo of S and WNW swell but you can also find some really good days on hurricane SE swells and moderate to big long-period WNW swell as well.

Spot details:
Best swell direction: Combo of S swell (170-195) and WNW swell (270-295).
Best Wind: N-NE-E, light-moderate Santa Ana winds are the best.
Sea Floor: Sand
Best Season: Summer, Fall, but biggest in the Winter
Crowds: Crowded in the mornings and on weekends. It sort of empties out as the swell starts going overhead for some reason.

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  • Anonymous

    “…starts to empty out when it gets overhead for some reason…”thanks because it gets crazy! try getting out there on a solid WNW swell like 5′ @ 20 sec… there is no where to go… almost impossible…

  • Anonymous

    If you dont time it right, it can be tough. Need to paddle hard and dive deeper. If you’re weak, go home or stay on top of the cliff and watch “The Boyz” do their thing. So no it’s not impossible, just gotta want it.

  • Anonymous

    OK ….Boyz and Girlz do their thing there not to mention it’s a great spot if you don’t mind hassle of the parking lot with all the dog owners headed down to the dog beach. Speaking of that, there is an amazing amount of dog poop you have to dive over.People really try to keep up on it but when the dogs get running it’s hard ..it’s still a friendly beach….just watch the parking there is plenty for everyone eventually….Longboards seem to do better there but it’s a long walk to the water……

  • surfbum

    Its pretty dirty with foul portapotties and dog poo. Paking hassles too.Bolsa is better for small waves and if it gets bigger there are just pounding closeout walls.Some people like getting beaten up- but I’ll go to Bolsa or the pier.

  • Vato Loco

    Dog poo all over the place!!! On the grass, on the beach. Get rid of the dogs I’m tired of people not picking up their poo!! Not to mention the dog people take up way too many parking spots and always try to steal spots from us because they dont know how to get in line and wait. I love dogs too but just not at my beach. My wife’s bag has been pee’d on down on the sand, my bro was pee’d on one time on the leg(luckily he was wearin a wetsuit) standing on the beach. It’s time for dogs to leae. Vatos Locos forever, orale Homes!!!!

  • Anonymous

    New classes starting on Monday 7:30am…”Pooper Picker Uppers”. Bring your dog, a plastic baggy, and $25…

  • Anonymous

    Let The Dog Beach people know that the dog fecal bag dispensers were all empty for nearly a week and up to 1/16/08 when I took off for a vacation…Martin does a goo job most of the time but someone dropped the ball while the dogs were dropping them on the beach, bike path, grassy knoll even in the water.:(

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