Re: Learning to surf at San Francisco's Ocean Beach?
I know that area well having had a home in the SF Bay Area for 20+ years. Ocean beach serves up difficult waves and currents. The cold water does not effect me, so I will not cite that as a negative. However, there is something a very new beginner can benefit from at Ocean beach. So, you just may begin there and then surf regularly to the north at Bolinas (town in Marin County) or the the south at Santa Cruz (38th St, Pleasure Point, and others). A beginner needs to start off in the white water; kinda lke a kid that is riding an inflatable raft in breaking waves. A beginner should spend considerable time learning how to paddle, catch, and pop-up from the front side of breaking waves. The more breaking waves there are, the more a beginner gets to do this and has more fun. Do this over and over and over. The objective is to condition and coordinate your body so that when you advance to trying to catch small unbroken waves (from behind), your body knows what do from memory. Your body must feel speed, angle, current, other forces, etc, and react without thinking. Ocean Beach has one white water wave after another many days. That's how this break can serve you. I would not recommend trying to paddle to the outback or surf this area until you've been truly surfing for a year or two at other breaks. (Yes, sure there are people that learn there, but there are also people that nearly drown there, too). So, get your yah-yah's out in the white water there and then progress to the aforementioned breaks to continue your progression. By the way, there are many OK to good breaks in Marin, Sonoma, and Mendocino counties to the north of SF. Oh, almost forgot: beginners enjoy surfing just south of SF and Daly City in the town of Pacifica. There are several breaks there. They aren't great, but neither will you be for many years.
lemme know if you need to know more about surfing in northern CA