About Steamer Lane

A classic name for a classic California surf spot, Steamer Lane is geo-strategically placed to sweep up just about everything moving within or just above the surface of the Pacific Ocean and put it to some use. Because Santa Cruz faces straight south, Lighthouse Point points almost directly south, and that weird geography is the secret to Steamer Lane’s success. Swells from the west and northwest that ravage the coast north of Santa Cruz are evened out and groomed as they bend into the Monterey Bay. The same is true for the northwest winds that pound the north coast for most of the year. Because of the bend at the top of the Monterey Bay, those northwest winds blow offshore at Steamer Lane. There are few things in nature as beautiful as a 10-foot, offshore peak unloading at Steamer Lane.

Steamer Lane is maybe a little too irresistible, because it is now one of the most crowded surf spots in California. At any given hour, there is probably a wider range of people surfing Steamer Lane than anywhere in the world.

Source: Steamer Lane Surf Guide

Ability Level

Intermediate - advanced

Beg Int Adv


Local Vibe


Welcoming Intimidating

Intense, at times nuclear and as crowded as the surfing world gets.

Crowd Factor


Mellow Heavy

Very crowded after 3pm and on weekends. Not so bad when it's giant or during school.

Spot Rating


Poor Perfect

One of the best right points in California.

Shoulder Burn


Light Exhausting

Expect a lot of padding, especially when big.

Water Quality


Clean Dirty

Mostly clean, but can be semi-dirty after significant rain.

Additional Information


Longboarders, locals, drop-ins, big surf, seals, sea otters, kelp, kayakers, getting pinned on the cliff, that big rock on the inside.


Park in the lot, walk down the stairs.

Bring Your

Shortboard, funboard, longboard, fish, gun


Rock reef, kelp, a few sand patches.

Best Season


Swell Consistency and Wind Overview

Photos & Videos