About Marin County

At the end of Rodeo Canyon and located on the Cronkite Army Base, Cronkite/Rodeo is a thousand-yard crescent of beach that tries pretty hard to be a legitimate surf spot and sometimes succeeds. Because of all the variables of tide, swell, wind and bottom contour, Cronkite changes from day to day and even the most experienced local can rarely predict what the surf will be like until they get there. All of the surfing takes place in the north half of the beach, which picks up just about anything pulsing in from the S, N or W. In summer, Cronkite is a S swell magnet. The very north end of the beach magnifies whatever energy is out there, and it can be one of the few surfable places on the coast during the doldrums.

During fall and winter, Cronkite shape-shifts from day to day. The beach likes a small N or W swell up to about head-high and maybe a little beyond. Anything over that and the beach overloads. On a good day, just overhead and out of the W with offshore winds and the right tide, Cronkite can be a pretty damn good wave -- barreling and challenging. But most days are something less than this, and the majority of waves at Cronkite are somewhere between junk and hollow closeouts. During huge swells, you get an eyeful of the Potato Patch clashing just offshore, with huge rouge peaks running perpendicular to the beach. Fortunately, the Potato Patch knocks down a lot of swell that would otherwise bombard Cronkite, which means Cronkite can have surfable waves even during the biggest swells. But beware: the beach gets hammered steep during winter, and there are often huge pieces of lumber and driftwood floating around in the surf zone.

Source: Marin County Surf Guide

Ability Level

All Abilities

Beg Int Adv


Local Vibe


Welcoming Intimidating

When it's on, yeah.

Crowd Factor


Mellow Heavy

Local rippers and beginners galore.

Spot Rating


Poor Perfect


Shoulder Burn


Light Exhausting

Not too bad.

Water Quality


Clean Dirty

Mostly clean.

Additional Information


A bodyboarder died here on a big day in the 90's by hitting the rocks. There are sharks, too.



Bring Your

Shortboard, funboard, longboard, bodyboard



Best Season


Swell Consistency and Wind Overview

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