Travel (Surf) Guide: Doheny Beach in Dana Point

How wind, waves, and wetsuits make for the perfect weekend

The minute you move to Southern California, you can not escape the hype that is Laird Hamilton - THE American big-wave surfer who once said: "If you stop exploring, everything becomes smaller". While my husband and have always believed in living somewhat outside of our comfort zone (it is the only way to grow!), Laird's quote has never resonated more with us than in our new Laguna surrounding: undoubtedly, nature's beauty in Southern California has made our hearts and minds wider and we remain in awe and deeply grateful to have the opportunity to experience it in all its glory, year-round.

It is the ocean, in particular, that continues to mesmerize us for various reasons. Having lived in Southern Germany for the past ten years (with no ocean near), we still can not believe that we now live so close to the water and that we can decide on a whim to go swimming and ... surfing!

Also, the Pacific Ocean seems to have million of ever-changing faces and moods, offering its glory to the serene swimmer as much as the daring surfer depending on the time of day and the beach you are at. And we just love the fact that the California Code of Regulations stipulates that you can not gather ANY items, even shells, and rocks, from any beaches! (One of our greatest finds - which we continue to show to everyone who visits - is one particular rock formation near Aliso Creek Beach which is covered with hundreds and hundreds of living shells - an incredible sight!).

Luckily, my husband's great love for the ocean has transpired to our children, and learning how to surf had been a life long dream of his - so it was only a matter of time that we would start learning how to surf once we arrived in Southern California.

There are plenty of gorgeous beaches in the Golden State and a plethora of surf schools offering surf camps, private surf lessons, surfboards, and suits (to purchase or rent) - anything you need to catch a wave. Friends have asked us whom we chose as a surf instructor and we are happy to have relied on the experts from the  'Girl in the Curl' to show us how it's done and we are so happy we did, as the teacher was experienced, clear in his explanations, patient and above all ... motivating!

The 'Girl in the Curl' crew has a trailer right at Doheny Beach where we initially rented our suits and boards, which was so convenient! Not only is Doheny Beach very close to our home, but it is also the perfect beach for beginners offering smaller, gentler waves and long breaks that allow a surfer newbie to catch the waves more easily (longboards recommended). Also, when the tide is low, Doheny Beach is simply beautiful to walk at to explore some of the sea life.    

And a final piece of advice: we do recommend checking out Doheny Beach's life webcam before you go surfing to ensure that there are actual waves to surf - not that this has happened to us! Ok... it has.  

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