Black Point Beach

Black Point Beach is located on the northern portion of the Sonoma County coast. It is located in the Sea Ranch area, approximately 80 miles north of San Francisco. Northern California beaches are known for their frigid waters and temperamental surf in the winter months, and this break is no different. In the summer months, the swell is small, which generates small waves. For instance, the surf height today is a paltry 1-2 feet, which stays constant throughout the day. The wind, however, is fairly low compared to the rest of the year, at only 5 knots. As far as atmosphere, its pretty desolate around these parts. Its beautiful on the coast and inland, however. There’s a little bit of a hike to get to the beach itself, as there’s a modest 50 foot cliff to get by.

I’d recommend a 4/3mm wetsuit with these conditions in the summer, and a 5/4mm in the winter, both with booties. I’d even suggest a hood in the windy winter. About a half mile south, there’s a nice break inside a cove within the gated Sea Ranch community as well. Unfortunately, I’m no longer allowed in said community. A few years back, I met a guy at a local break and he recommended this location. We scaled down a cliff that took about 15 minutes and required us to hand our boards down to each other periodically. We got 2 waves in and were screamed at via loud speaker by a park ranger and representatives of the Sea Ranch community. We gracefully scrambled up the same cliff in full wetsuits. The authorities weren’t happy with our 25 minute trek to get back up, nor was I, for that matter. Our names were taken and we were escorted out of the premises and told never to come back……. I’ve had better sessions.

I give these current conditions a C+ mostly based on the size. The shape is better than most and can be surfed throughout the day. The tide doesn’t have a huge impact on the size of the waves. The break also offers both rights and lefts to surf, which is a pleasant change from a lot of breaks. Again, things are a bit smaller during this time of year. If you are wondering what size board to ride at this break, bring the biggest one you can find. On top of the waves being small, they move fairly slow as well. A bigger board will definitely aid you in initially catching the wave and will help you keep momentum while riding it. This clip gives you a taste of what Black Point Beach has to offer and see what I mean as far as shape, size and speed. The people filming also talk about the dangers of surfing that I discuss later, in this clip: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ia92RcnWFTE

Another plus about Black Point is that there aren’t many Barney’s that make the trek out to this fairly remote spot.

This particular surf site isn’t one that I’d recommend traveling to from afar, but if you’re in the area, checking it out is worth it. I think we are privileged to live in an area such as this. Having said that, there are also risks that are taken, especially surfing  in Northern California waters. The first that comes to mind is the abundance of sharks in the surrounding areas. Northern California seems to be a shark hot spot and can intimidate people from setting foot in the ocean. Hidden or unnoticed rocks can also be a hazard. These large, jagged boulders can be concealed under the water, until the water level drops low enough for the rock to become visible. This is especially common when the wave is about to break and gathers the water leading the wave. This also acts as somewhat of a suction cup as the wave collects the water, plummeting the level of the ocean water surrounding it. Rocks can suddenly appear before it’s too late. You should always sit back and watch the surf before jumping in. I usually do this from a higher point as I put my wetsuit on. After doing so, watching the break from the beach while stretching is always a good idea. Ideally, the best swell is from the west with offshore winds. These winds hold the wave up, allowing for a more accessible tube ride, and come from the Southeast. Water temperatures hover around the 50-55 degree mark and stay fairly consistent throughout the  year.

1 thought on “Black Point Beach

  1. I really like the idea of you’re blog, I feel like it uncovers the hidden gems of the bay area. I can say I’ve lived in the bay for four years now and I haven’t even heard of this beach but it looks amazing. On the contrary like you said in the summer months looks like there not to much going on with 1-2 foot swells but nonetheless it looks good. I like your analysis of the surf as well as your recommendations for the thickness of wetsuit and whether or not its worth the trip out there for people. I think you did a really go job explaining the conditions and the risks for some people who do not know the area very well. I also like how you explained that there’s a little bit of a hike to get to the beach and I feel like that true for many of the good secluded surf sports in California, kind of like Trestles in Souther California. Overall, I appreciate your blog and think its pretty useful.

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