About Birdrock

Nestled just north of Pacific Beach Point and about half a mile south of Windansea sits the area known as Bird Rock. As with all of the other surrounding spots in the larger La Jolla area, these are reefbreaks. There are two dominant breaks -- South Bird Rock and North Bird Rock -- that are surrounded by a handful of lesser quality and finicky sub reefs.

Both of these breaks get waves from a variety of swell directions. Overall, S/SW swells generally produce better quality waves. This area is notorious for having long lulls when the swell is southerly. Swells coming in out of a more W/NW direction can produce decent quality waves at North Bird while the South Bird reef will only have some short, and often soft, pop-up peaks. While both spots can break through a higher tide, if a swell is large enough, they are often best at a lower- to mid-tide. Medium- to larger-sized swells are needed for both of these breaks to show their better sides. North Bird is one of the few areas in San Diego that can hold shape and form on the largest of swells, as the bigger it gets, the further out it breaks.

South winds can and most often will affect surface conditions badly. Winds out of the north to northeast are the preferred direction. A flourishing kelp bed growing just to the outside of both breaks can also keep the area fairly clean in even moderate onshore W wind. The water clarity can be some of the best that you may find in the entire San Diego area, which bodes well for those who like to go diving when the surf is down. A wide variety of bottom contours as well as sea life assure that each and every dive will present you with a unique experience.

As with ALL of the surrounding breaks in the area, the Bird Rock region is home to some of the best surfers in San Diego. As such, a high level of respect is needed if you want to tackle these waves.

Source: Birdrock Surf Guide

Ability Level

Intermediate - advanced

Beg Int Adv

Intermediate to advanced

Local Vibe


Welcoming Intimidating

Surly, competitive, one of the least friendly places in Southern California.

Crowd Factor


Mellow Heavy

San Diego Zoo without the zoo-keeper, mobbed.

Spot Rating


Poor Perfect

Local classic.

Shoulder Burn


Light Exhausting

Lots of paddling and most of the reefs only really start to work when it's overhead.

Water Quality


Clean Dirty

Typically ok but gets dicey after a rain.

Additional Information




Street parking, then hop/skip/jump down the cliff and negotiate rocks on the way into the lineup.

Bring Your

Shortboard, fish, funboard, longboard



Best Season

Best March-October, but works year-round.

Swell Consistency and Wind Overview

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