San Diego has about 70 miles of shoreline but the mile called Windansea Beach has the most amazing surf breaks. This area is unique in that there are underwater reefs and the shore drops quickly and steeply. These geographic conditions allow strong waves to crash very close to shore - a phenomena called "shorebreak".
Because of the powerful waves, swimming, snorkeling, and diving is not recommended in these waters. Surfing however, is a definite yes! The waves can be quite violent so those who dare to venture into the water should be very good surfers and be very comfortable in the ocean. It's a surfer's delight!
In comparison to other beaches in San Diego, this one is rather small. The sound of the crashing waves blocks out street noises, and the beach is surrounded by sandstone cliffs so that it has a secluded, cozy feel. In short, it's a great place to go for a walk, read a book, sunbathe, or just look out into the great blue ocean.
This beach is not particularly popular with the general public and it is somewhat dilapidated. There are no public washrooms, no drinking fountain, and the parking lot is very small. However, there is a lifeguard on duty (summer and weekends) and there are plans to upgrade the beach to give it a more polished look.
Although the Windansea seems like just another San Diegan beach with great surfing, it has a vibrant and colorful history. Some of the greatest surfers of our times surfed here and the beach has been featured in a number of Hollywood movies.
A prominent landmark of this beach is the Surf Shack. It was constructed in 1946 and was the site of an annual Polynesian luau - in other words - wild and crazy beach party. But by the 1950's, local authorities managed to dissipate the rowdy party which had grown in size and popularity. The Surf Shack (sometimes called Sugar Shack) has been reconstructed a few times and to this day, stands in its original style, size and location.
In 1963, a 400-pound, cement statue of Hot Curl appeared at the beach. Hot Curl is a cartoon character created by Michael Dormer. The statue got the attention of newspapers and movie makers giving this beach just another chapter in surf culture. A replica of the original statue is now in California Surf Museum in Oceanside. Photo from hotcurllives.com and surfmuseum.org
Locals love the Windansea Beach for sentimental reasons and for its incredible surf history. In 1998, The Surf Shack was designated as an historical landmark under the category of "Cultural Landmark".
Location and Facilities
Located at 6800 Neptune Place (between Westbourne St and Palomar Ave). No facilities except for a small 18-car parking lot.