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San Diego Surf Events

Buzz-Worthy Boarding

There’s always a wave to ride in San Diego, but there’s also bound to be a surf event worth catching, too. With a surf scene this happening, there’s always something going on. From amateur contests to pro competitions, concerts to surfing dogs, you can find the surf event that fits your vibe. Then just ride the good times.

Switchfoot Bro Am

When: June
Local bands Switchfoot wanted to find a way to give back to the community of San Diego, and boom: the Bro-Am was born. This San Diego-style celebration features an awesome surf competition and free concerts on the sand at Moonlight Beach in Encinitas. It brings attention and gives grants to a variety of nonprofit organizations. The charities even give some kids the VIP treatment, with surf lessons and front-row seats to the concerts. Come join the fun for a couple of days of sunshine, surfing and live music on the beach—all for a good cause.

Imperial Beach Surf Dog

When: July
The fun of catching a wave isn’t just limited to us bipeds. Our furry friends can also get out there and surf—and that’s something everyone needs to see. The Imperial Beach Surf Dog Competition is sponsored by the San Diego Humane Center and includes solo dog surf competitions and owner-with-dog competitions. There's a $2 fee that raises money for the organization. The Internet has nothing on these dogs.

San Diego Surf Film Festival

When: August
Can’t get enough of San Diego’s surf culture? Check out the San Diego Surf Film Festival in La Jolla. The event offers more than 20 national and international surf films, filmmaker meet-and-greets and a brewery party. Surfers, movie-lovers and anyone who just loves the San Diego beach life should feel right at home.

Oceanside Longboard Surfing Contest

When: August
This one-of-a-kind competition in Oceanside is full of “Ohana” (Hawaiian for “family”) and good vibes. You might even find yourself amid a ukulele jam session between surf contests. The event brings in local and national talent in longboarding, noseriding, tandem teams, paddleboard races and more.

OMBAC Classic Longboard Surfing Contest

When: September
From the Old Mission Beach Athletic Club — the same people who bring you the epic annual Over-the-Line Tournament on Fiesta Island — comes this fun throwback of a contest, held near Crystal Pier in Pacific Beach. And when OMBAC says “classic,” they do mean classic: All contestants must surf on 1969 or older longboards, 9’ or longer, with no leash. There are several competitive divisions; proceeds from the most recent event went to the Drowning Prevention Foundation of San Diego (AKA San Diego Junior Lifeguards).

Annual Luau and Legends of Surfing Invitational

When: August
Billed as "surfing for a cure," this unique event brings surfing and science together to benefit the Moores Cancer Center at UCSD Health. Over the course of nearly 30 years, the Luau and Legends of Surfing Invitational competition — held near Scripps Pier in La Jolla — has brought in nearly $10 million for cancer research.

One Paseo Summer Surf Fest

When: August
One of the newer happenings among San Diego-area surf events, this family-friendly festival — sponsored by the One Paseo shopping and dining destination in Del Mar — gets you right into the beach state of mind, with live surf rock, beach-centric games for kids, an exhibition of vintage woodies and more. And when you’re ready to hit the waves, the beach is just a mile or so away.

Solento Surf Festival

When: September
A combo of film festival and surf happening, the Solento Surf Festival (sponsored by a tequila brand) unfolds in Encinitas with movie screenings at the storied La Paloma Theatre and a weekend-long party and competition series at Seaside Reef. This isn’t your usual contest, though: Categories include "Fire vs. Water" (firefighters competing against lifeguards) and a one-wave, free-for-all "Party Wave" throwdown that rewards the first surfer to make it to the beach.

Ken Whalen Surf Challenge

When: September
Founded in memory of a local surfer and businessman who was a major benefactor of San Diego’s Challenged Athletes Foundation, the Ken Whalen Surf Challenge gets young groms ages 4-14 into the water for a fun competition at Mission Beach. As befits its namesake, the vibe is mellow: “We focus more on having fun than the actual competition,” as organizers put it. And best of all, registration is free. (But sign up well in advance — this popular event fills up fast.)

Super Girl Surf Pro

When: September
The top professional female surfers in the world take to the waves of Oceanside to compete in a three-day event for the championship. The free Super Girl Surf Pro experience also includes a festival village with music, celebrity speakers, vendors and lots more, with a focus on female strength, independence and empowerment. In fact, it’s the only all-girls action sports professional competition and lifestyle festival in the world, and thousands come to join the excitement

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