Central California most famous for San Francisco's Ocean Beach, Santa Cruz (first surfed in 1885 by three Hawaiian brothers) and of course Mavericks is a place of huge waves and a strong local contingent. California's spots are very swell direction dependent with north and south swells affecting each spot differently. A big north-west swell will light-up Mavericks and generally arrives from autumn to spring. Whereas a west swell will suffer less shadowing due to the generally west facing beaches. Wind is predominately from the north-west.
From captaining you own vessel to joining a group on a boat trip, boat charters can be a good way to get away from the crowds and reach the best spots that are only accessible by boat.