• Escape To California

Known as the surfing Mecca, California is always a good surf trip destination. Follow our travel ambassador Lolita from Surf Madame along the coast of South California chasing the waves and enjoying life under the palm trees.

"Going to California has always been a dream because of its surfing history and its famous way of life under the sun and the palm trees. But actually going there and experiencing the Californian life with my friends was even better than I expected. That long drive right by the ocean, the perfect morning surf with the dolphins, the pancakes and the burritos, the inspiring people we met, from sunrise to sunset, I’ve enjoyed every second of it!

Places

As a tourist you definitely have to go sightseeing in LA. It’s almost mandatory to see the famous locations like Hollywood, Beverly Hills and Venice Beach. That being said though, it isn’t that much of an adventure. For a true Californian experience take the long coastal road from San Diego to San Francisco and stop everywhere in between, La Jolla, Encinitas, Orange County, Santa Monica, Venice, Malibu, Santa Barbara and Big Sur. Each stop has it’s own unique magic and there is always more to see.

Food and shopping

The good thing in California is that you can find absolutely every kind of food, from almost every country, at any time of the day. From Mexican food, huge burgers, salads and incredible breakfasts, the sheer variety of styles and ingredients means you can find any meal for any mood. My absolute favorites are the after surf açaï bowls and smoothies from Banzai Bowls and, of course, pancakes! For a good and healthy lunch go to the A Market in Newport Beach or Lemonade in LA.

California is also shopping heaven, you can find huge shopping malls everywhere where it’s possible to spend a whole day there. However don’t spend too much time shopping in the malls, as the small towns shops are so much better. My special crush for Stitch & Feather in Seal Beach, Burro in Venice and all the rad surf shops on the coast. Try Mollusk, Thalia, Surfy Surfy and that’s just for starters.

Surf

We stayed most of the time in Newport Beach and surfed the local spot called Blackies. It’s a nice little wave peeling just by the pier of Newport and perfect for longboarding. I love the vibes of that spot and although it’s a bit crowded the people are always nice and very welcoming. Everybody chills on the parking lot talking about the waves or having a coffee by the beach and it’ easy to while away a whole day. If you’re lucky and if you come early enough the water can be very glassy and you can meet little friends from the ocean such as seals or dolphins and those sunrises in the water are always magical.

I also really enjoyed surfing at Swami’s, down south in Encinitas. The view is just stunning, you go down the little beach by the wooden stairs, the cliffs are full of colorful plants and flowers and when the swell is small and the sun is out the water gets crystal clear. The Locals are also very nice, there are surfers from all ages in the water and when everyone gets its dose of waves, the atmosphere is very joyful and easy to fit in.

Another famous spot you can’t miss, especially if you’re a longboarder, is San Onofre. You go down to the beach by a little dusty road and park right in front of the ocean. Bring your board, your food and your sunscreen and you’re up for a wonderful beach day. The waves are often good and accessible to everyone, so there is party waves and fun all day.

I could also talk about the world class breaks of Malibu, or Trestles, or Blacks Beach, there are just so many good surfing spot in California.

Travel tips

Travel light so you can shop more.

Don’t forget your sunscreen and use it everyday.

Rent a car or a van. California is huge and the public transport system is both poor and dangerous.

Get up early, for a run or a surf as the morning light is the best.

Bring warm clothes, even if it’s almost always sunny, mornings and nights can be pretty chilly."

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More of Surf Madame on www.surfmadame.com and @surfmadame

Photos by Serena Lutton (www.studio-untitled.com & @serenalutton) and Elsa Cazajous (www.elsacaza.com & @elsacaza)