| Print Story | E-Mail Story | Font Size
Photo by Chris Castillo / orangecounty.com
The great thing about HB is that there is always a nice sandbar that could be working. This one is working extra well here.
Loading ...

Spot Check: Huntington Beach Pier

Images and Words by John Salanoa / orangecounty.com

What's to tell you about the Huntington Beach Pier that you don't already know? This place has many words and stories to go along with it.  HB is Surf City, the place where the huntington hop originated and home to the Hurley US Open of Surfing.

There are two sides to the pier and a different crew on both sides. You can get vibed pretty hard here if you snake someone at this spot. On any given day, you can experience the attack of the groms - when at 21 years old you feel like a grandfather in the water. There's an ongoing fight with the fishermen on the pier above, sometimes it seems like they try to hook you. Or how about the stingrays that just seem to love this part of the Pacific Ocean and go after your feet? After all that, why would you want to come surf the pier? Maybe because when the rest of OC is flat - and I mean FLAT - you can still catch a two-foot wind swell here. When a NNW comes in, this is the only place in the OC you can catch it, because when you hit the water here at the pier you most likely are going to be surfing with a dozen or so pros or the CEO of a surf company - because it is Surf City and the Pier is everything Surfing.
The HB Pier has two parking lots on either side, both have metered parking. Make sure you put enough money in those things, because the second your meter runs out "the man" is there to tax you $41 big ones. Ouch! HB picks up most all swells that come through the SoCal surf window, from 180 to 280 degrees. It can get big and walled if there is not a combo swell coming in at the same time. If you want to get pitted in a nice green room this is the place to do it. I catch more guys getting a tube ride here than anywhere else in OC. If you are a pretty good surfer, you can surf here with the boys and have a great time - but if you are learning, this is not the place for you. You should walk down the beach about 100 yards and catch some white wash. If you want to get your picture taken and sold back to you for an average of 25 bucks a shot, this is the place. There are two to three photogs shooting here every day, and on big days twenty or so are firing off snapshots.
After you've shown the surfing world your skills, it's time to eat. There are two different thoughts in your surfing day grinds: if you just did a morning session, then it's off to The Sugar Shack. You will get seated much quicker if you eat inside or in the back, the sidewalk eating is for the out of towners. If you just surfed a perfect afternoon class off, then like all surf spots you’re looking for Mexican Food! Fred’s Mexican Cafe is right across from the Pier on PCH, and serves up big plates of carbs and schooners of beer! If you don't watch yourself you could get caught up in the HB bar crawl - if you’re not ready for that get out before sundown!

Surfline has a great spot review of Huntington pier and what types of crowd and swell to expect.  You can also check out the live HD webcams and Surf Forecast for the region.

With all that in mind have fun!
John Salanoa


See archived 'Lifestyle' stories »

OrangeCounty.com on Facebook