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El Capitan ratings
Quality on a good day: 4.0
Consistency of Surf: 1.8
Difficulty Level: 4.2
Wind and Kite Surfing: 1.0
Crowds: 2.5

Overall: 2.4

See all 18 ratings

Based on 4 votes. Vote


Surf Report Feed

El Capitan Surf Guide

El Capitan in Santa Barbara is a fairly exposed reef and point break that has inconsistent surf. Winter is the best time of year for surfing here. Offshore winds blow from the north. Tends to receive distant groundswells and the best swell direction is from the west. Often Crowded. Rocks are a hazard.

El Capitan Spot Info

Type:Rating:
Icon reefReef and pointIcon  s22.4
Reliability:Todays Sea Temp*:
inconsistent
15.9°C*ocean temperature recorded from satellite

Surfing El Capitan:

The best conditions reported for surf at El Capitan occur when a West swell combines with an offshore wind direction from the North.

Surf Forecasts:

What's the best time of year to surf El Capitan (for consistent clean waves)?

decemberBest Season: winter
The best time of year for surfing El Capitan with consistent clean waves (rideable swell with light / offshore winds) is during Winter and most often the month of December. Clean surfable waves are typically found 71% of the time in December while 20% of the time it tends to be blown out. For the remaining 9% of the time it is considered too small by most surfers but may still be OK for beginners and groms at times.
clean
71%
Surfable waves that hold up well for longer rides in prevailing cross-offshore, offshore or light wind conditions.
blown out
20%
Surfable sized waves that are of poorer quality due to prevailing onshore, cross-onshore or windy conditions (may be preferable for kitesurfing).
too small
9%
Waves usually considered too small for good surf. Some wave-magnet breaks may still work though if conditions are right (on occasion).

Explore El Capitan Location Map

Interactive El Capitan surf break location map. View information about nearby surf breaks, their wave consistency and rating compared to other spots in the region. Current swell conditions from local buoys are shown along with live wind speed and direction from nearby weather stations. Click icons on the map for more detail. The closest passenger airport to El Capitan is Vandenberg Afb (Lompoc) Airport (VBG) in USA, 59 km (37 miles) away (directly). The second nearest airport to El Capitan is Point Mugu Nas Airport (NTD), also in USA, 91 km (57 miles) away.

Icon breakBreak
Icon legend buoysLive Wave Height (m)
Icon legend windLive Wind Speed (km/h)
Please note that some surf spot locations are approximate to protect their exact location while others are not shown at close zoom level.
El Capitan Surf Forecasts:
Todays Surf Summary
Saturday, 19 June 2021, 23:22 Local Time
SatSun
8PM11PM2AM5AM
Wave (m) 0.7
SSW
0.7
SSW
1.3
WNW
0.8
SSW
Period (s) 17 16 10 16
Wind (km/h)
5
5
5
5
Wind State cross glass glass glass

Swell History at El Capitan

Surf stats for El Capitan, see the swell variation by month or season on the history page here.

Wind History at El Capitan

Wind stats for El Capitan, see the variation in direction and stength by month or season on the history page here.

Other Nearby Breaks Closest To:

Discover surf breaks near El Capitan. Click below to view there surf guides.

    • Icon pointPoint
    • Icon  s33.0
    Reliability: inconsistent
    3km away
    • Icon beachBeach and reef
    • Icon  s32.5
    Reliability: fairly consistent
    4km away
    • Icon beachBeach and point
    • Icon  s32.9
    Reliability: fairly consistent
    5km away
    • Icon reef  redReef
    • Icon  s33.2
    Reliability: fairly consistent
    7km away
    • Icon reef  redReef
    • Icon  s33.4
    Reliability: fairly consistent
    8km away

Wave Buoys Nearest To El Capitan: