Huntington Beach is a seaside city in Orange County in southern California, United States. As of the 2006 census, the city population was 194,436. It is bordered by the Pacific Ocean on the west, by Seal Beach on the north, by Costa Mesa on the south, by Westminster on the northeast, and by Fountain Valley on the east.
It is known for its long 8.5 miles (13.7 km) beach, mild climate, and excellent surfing. The waves are a unique natural effect caused by edge-diffraction of ocean swells by the island of Catalina, and waves from distant hurricanes. Because of the curve of the coastline at Huntington Beach, the local beach actually faces southwest. In summer, the southwest-facing beach often has very strong surf generally referred to as a "south swell". South swells can be generated from either (winter) storms originating in the southern Pacific Ocean off New Zealand or from hurricanes off the Mexican coast or a combination of both.
Surf and beaches Apart from sponsored surf events, Huntington Beach has some of the best surf breaks in the State of California and that of the United States. Huntington Beach has four different facing beaches: Northwest, West, Southwest, and South. Northwest consists of Bolsa Chica State Beach (3.3 Miles), the West consist of "The Cliffs" or "Dog Beach", Southwest is considered everything north of the pier which is operated by the City of Huntington Beach. South consists in everything south of the pier which primarily focuses on Huntington State Beach (2.2 Miles), which almost faces true South.
Bolsa Chica State Beach is operated by the State of California, Dept. Parks & Recreation, and the Bolsa Chica State Beach Lifeguards. The beach is very narrow and the sand is very coarse. Bolsa Chica tends to have better surf with NW/W swells during the winter season. During the summer months the beach picks up south/southwest swells at a very steep angle. Due to the bottom of the beach, surf at Bolsa Chica tends to be slowed down and refined to soft shoulders. Longboards are the best option for surfing in the Bolsa Chica area.
"The Cliffs" or "Dog Beach" is also another popular surf spot. This segment of Huntington Beach obtains these names because dogs are allowed around the cliff area. Beach is very restricted and often is submerged with high tides. Surf at this location tends to be even bigger than Bolsa Chica during the winter and often better. During the summer most of the South/Southwest swells slide right by and often break poorly. The best option is to take out a longboard, but shortboards will do at times. Dolphins have also been sighted in this area.
Just north and south of the Huntington Beach Pier are some well defined sandbars that shift throughout the year with the different swells. Southside of the Pier is often a popular destination during the summer for good surf, but the Northside can be just as well during the winter. Around the Pier it all depends on the swell and the sandbars. Shortboard is your best option for surfing around the Pier.
South Huntington Beach, also known as Huntington State Beach, is where all the south swells impact the coastline. Huntington State Beach is operated by the State of California, Department of Parks & Recreation, and Huntington State Beach Lifeguards. This beach is very wide with plenty of sand. Sandbars dramatically shift during the spring, summer and fall seasons, thus creating excellent surf conditions with a combination South/West/Northwest swell. Due to the Santa Ana River jetties located at the southern most end of the beach, large sandbars extend across and upcoast, forcing swells to break extremely fast and hollow. Best seasons for surfing at this beach is the summer and fall. The best option for surfing in this area is a shortboard.
Huntington Beach is also a popular destination for kite surfing, and this sport can be viewed on the beach northwest of the pier.
Huntington Beach is the host city of the National Professional Paintball League Super 7 Paintball Championships. The NPPL holds its first event of the year traditionally between the dates of March 23rd through March 26th.
Huntington beach also hosts the annual Surf City USA Marathon and Half-Marathon, which is usually held on the first Sunday of February.