About Tamarack

Most of San Diego lies dormant throughout the long summer months, as S swells march straight past and along to the beaches farther north. Carlsbad is situated right on the cutoff point for S swell retrieval. The beaches throughout Carlsbad are mostly unimpressive beachbreaks, with the exception of a few quality spots. If it weren't for man-made jetties and rivermouths, Carlsbad would be nothing but a six-mile expanse of closed-out garbage.

Tamarack State Park is located at the foot of Tamarack Avenue, which is nothing more than a parking lot right on the beach. Peaks form just to the north of the small river, which provides enough water movement to create some decent sandbars. Conditions vary greatly here with tide and swell, but it's best with a medium tide and a S swell less than six-feet. While Tamarack doesn't often see perfectly lined-up waves, it does offer plenty of fun, shifting peaks that seem to have some kind of lip to destroy. With a larger swell, a righthander begins to break off the south side of the river. The takeoff zone is between the two jetties, and the right wraps into the beach around the southern jetty. A lower tide is best on this side.

Source: Tamarack Surf Guide

Ability Level

Beginner - intermediate

Beg Int Adv

Beginner to advanced

Local Vibe


Welcoming Intimidating

Very little.

Crowd Factor


Mellow Heavy

Mellow to a few hassles.

Spot Rating


Poor Perfect

Average beachbreak.

Shoulder Burn


Light Exhausting

Pretty average most days.

Water Quality


Clean Dirty

Not great after a rain.

Additional Information


Some car rip-offs in the parking lot.


Take Tamarack Avenue to the beach. There's a parking lot in front of the break.

Bring Your

Shortboard, fish, funboard, longboard, bodyboard, skimming, bodysurfing


Sand and rock

Best Season


Swell Consistency and Wind Overview

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