A Surfer’s Guide to Venice Beach

A surfer girl contemplates
A surfer girl contemplates | USA Venice l © Flickr/Thomas Galvez
Dominic Bertolami

Freelance writer

The shorelines of Venice Beach cultivate a culture of sun, sand, and surfing. Mellow waves occupying the waters in Venice are ideal for beginners or those simply seeking a relaxed ride.
For a more informed experience, some simple research and planning ahead can change a chill day into a stand-out session. Here’s our guide to surf your way through Venice Beach.

Venice Beach, CA

Best locations to surf in Venice

Walking out to the shore and duck diving the first break in sight may prove disappointing for those seeking more adventure. Take the time to ask locals and look to see where others are surfing before jumping in. These locations are known for consistently generating better-than-average rides.

Venice Breakwater

Natural Feature

© majunznk / Flickr

Venice Breakwater is located directly on the shore off Windward Avenue just beyond the Venice Public Art Walls. The breakwater is a line of rocks jutting out into the ocean. This literal break in the water causes a buildup of sand on the sea floor, creating some nice rights. Surfed by thousands every year, this is one of the most surfable spots in Los Angeles. On most days, this area gets fairly crowded by midday, so it’s best to arrive early in the morning for the ideal circumstances.

The Venice Fishing Pier

Natural Feature

© Zach Diehn / Flickr

The Venice Fishing Pier jetties into the ocean from West Washington Avenue. Originally built in 1965, the pier suffered damage by the El Niño storms of 1983. Made entirely of concrete, it contains a growth of mussels on its many pilings. A 4,000-ton artificial quarry rock reef lays hidden under the water of its outer 750 feet. This artificial reef creates great swell to the immediate north and south of the pier. This is where the largest waves in Venice break. If deciding to surf here, use caution as the riptide is strong. Not recommended for beginners.

Where to rent a surfboard

Instead of spending the entire day deciding where to surf and what to get, we’ve narrowed down the best and most convenient shops to pick up a surfboard, wetsuit, and all surf-related gear. But, it’s important to always stay aware of surf risks and find out all water conditions before renting a surfboard.

Jay's Rentals

Shop, Building

Surfboards | © Clematis Wilt/ Flickr
© Clematis Wilt / Flickr

Located on the corner of Windward Avenue and Speedway in Venice, Jay’s Rentals has been helping tourists and locals enjoy outdoor sports since 1996. The staff are friendly and knowledgeable, with most employees spending their own spare time in the water or giving surf lessons. This highly-recognizable building is featured in many movies and television shows shot in Venice. Beyond surfboards, Jay’s also rents wetsuits, bicycles, skateboards, roller skates, inline skates, skimboards, etc. The prices are fair and rentals are by the hour, three hours time, or by the day.

ZJ Boarding House


Surfboards | Courtesy of The Surf Boardroom
© The Surf Boardroom

This well-respected surf shop named “best surfboard rental in Santa Monica” by Yelp, opened its doors in 1988 and continues sharing a passion for surfing and skateboarding. Whether a beginner looking to rent a board or a seasoned veteran in need of a repair, this legitimate boarding house will cover customers. Surfboards, skateboards, and bodyboards of every different size, shape and brand, line the walls of this classic California surf shop. The storefront also sells the best in surf gear, clothing, and accessories the industry has to offer.

Important information

Make sure to check all conditions and weather forecasts before heading out to the water. For up to date information including swells and weather forecasts, or to check out the Venice Beach Live HD Surf Cam go to Surfline.com. Watch the following videos of surfers riding the waves in Venice for a bit of inspiration. Most of all, have fun and stay safe.

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