Often considered one of the birthplaces of modern-day surfing, Malibu is an iconic 21-mile stretch of coast that starts at Zuma Beach and continues through Ventura County Line. The epitome of LAlien’s lifestyles of the rich and famous, the rich of the richest folks reside here, that includes movie stars, directors, musicians…you get the picture if you’re not already in one…I’m pretty sure the crowd both in and out of the water are the very definition of the kind of privilege that makes you want to yack…as in disgustingly rich…as in who did you kill/screw/usurp to get here…and then there are those van-loving, hippy folks bouncing around in undisclosed colonies. If nothing else, it is truly great people watching.
Malibu (1st, 2nd, 3rd Point)
Ah, the clown car of California surfing! The right point break was made popular in the 1950’s and 60’s by surf legends Bob Simmons, Miki Dora and much more. Made famous by many early surf films, including “Gidget”, the break really is one of the most crowded surf spots on the planet hosting hundreds of dedicated longboarders and shortboarders picking off any inch or semblance of a wave and barking at/push-shoving each other all the same. This is where the granola breathers turn AWOL and slap their neighbors with their beaver tail wetties while trying to catch a well-sought-after regular footer’s dream that breaks on south swells over a cobblestone bottom. On a clear, sunny day, peering into the rock reef truly is magical.
The wave breaks in three sections, starting with Third Point and (on a good-sized south) connects all the way through First Point, or the peak closest to the parking lot. You’re frothing if you can connect all three sections, but you’ll have to play some surfer bowling, only try NOT to hit the many human speedbumps literally sitting in your way. Third and Second Points are pretty similar in that they play host to the shortboard crowd and break a little steeper and hollower, however, there are still plenty of longboarders to scare the piss out of you when they hesitantly decide to drop in.
Mostly ridden by loggers, First Point is a little softer and, just like the wave, so is the crowd. But don’t take my word for it. Grumpiness and ape-like chest-beating behaviors exist in all types of surfing at all spots and I’m a veteran of being raucously yelled at by both shortboard and longboard folk, so the key to survival is: *wait your f—ing turn* Please. 😊 And for safety’s sake, maybe play a little defense, too.
A right pointbreak that breaks on south and northwest swells in front of a big rock, Leo Carrillo’s take-off spot is tighter than Lowers. Good luck. If the Wild West was translated to Leo Carrillo, I’m pretty sure there would be a shootout every day between two longboarders and six shortboarders because “this peak ain’t big enough for the …” well, you get the idea. Short of packing any kind of artillery, if you aren’t a local, expect to get shot at…by the locals hogging the peak…and I mean dirty looks…they will shoot you dirty looks if they don’t know you. If you’re ballsy enough to paddle to the peak or remotely close to it, you will be waiting a while, if not, all day, and you will get scraps. And you’ll like it…partner. You’ll even watch several locals on logs and fishes paddle straight past you in the lineup and sit right next to you and take off on your wave. I’d say be nice to folks, but every time I’ve been here, there’s not a nice thing about it…except for the wave. On the inside of the break, swing-wide sets can roll through unridden—just wait for someone to eat it. Because kelp. But fair warning if they don’t eat it, expect them to run you over.
At the northern end of Malibu/Ventura sits quite literally “County Line” where there are peaky beach breaks galore and, of course, a right point break. South and northwest swells meet a sandy/semi-rocky bottom. You can expect slightly fewer crowds and maybe better manners in the water since everyone else is peacockin’ it up at any of the other pointbreaks south of County Line. Who needs perfection? You schlepped all your crap to surf …beach break? Either make this the first place you surf for the day or the last—afternoon winds jumble it up a bit because you are technically entering Ventura/windy town territory. It can be worth it when the swells are crossed up and the wind is lightly offshore.
What the locals say:
“Malibu is one of the most dangerous waves in the world…it’s Peahi, Pipeline and Malibu.” (from LA Times article)
Breaks & Peaks: Topanga Canyon, Malibu-First point, second point, third point (the colony), Leo Carillo, County Line
Nicknames: The ‘Bu