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Best Places to (Wake)Surf in NorCal and SoCal?


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Hi All!  Researching a possible job move that could land me in either Northern California (SF Bay Area) or Southern California (LA). Can anyone recommend some lakes or reservoirs in those areas for wakesurfing and wake boarding?  I know the sports were practically invented there, but I have no clue about what bodies of water are being used.  Thanks! Andy

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In the Socal area, marine stadium in Long Beach and Carlsbad lagoon, but those are salt water.


There re are also a few inland lakes like Elsinore, Perris, and lake Vincent. Canyons lake is private, so you need to know someone that can take you out on their boat. Elsinore is also drying up and last time I was there, had a max depth of 8 feet or so. 

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Thanks for the info guys!  Super helpful.

Are there more / better options in NorCal than SoCal?  Kinda looks like it, but that's opposite my intuition.

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You'll find there is a semi-serious rivalry between NorCal and SoCal that makes you believe the residents of California want the state divided in two. I'm in NorCal and firmly believe that there are more & better places to ride in NorCal than anywhere else; I'm also fairly sure that someone from SoCal will jump in here and say that SoCal is better in one of the next few posts. @Stevo said it best with pictures.

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3 hours ago, Boaty2point0 said:

Thanks for the info guys!  Super helpful.

Are there more / better options in NorCal than SoCal?  Kinda looks like it, but that's opposite my intuition.

Many more options up North. All those lakes Stevo mentioned plus many more in the Sierra foothills. I grew up in SoCal, we did most of our boating on the Colorado river or lake Nacimiento. Both were 5hr drives.

Shasta is by far my favorite lake


Edited by KeepingupwiththeJones
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3 minutes ago, John I. said:

Most of SoCal is semi-arid, so lakes are few and far between. But check out that huge body of water just to the west of CA (Nor & So), and take up surfing.


 In this case^^^ so cal takes it cus the ocean water up is colder and sharkier 

but on the lake scene NorCal takes it IMHO

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and by "semi-arid" he means desert.

Grew up in LV and spent lots of time visiting family in orange county and now live in Reno and visit many of the same lakes Stevo listed .  For the lake life, Norcal wins every time.  There's no water in southern california.  Like at all.  Look on google maps, watch Chinatown, check out the CA aquaduct and figure out what it does.  And even in Northern California (aside from, say, living in SF proper, where the weather always sucks) the weather is really really nice 95% of the time.  

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So no one's riding in Socal's Salton Sea any more?    :rofl:

Shasta is the bomb. But it's also like 4 hrs north of the bay area too.

Oroville is REALLY nice. The floating campsites are unique to that lake & well worth checking out.

Berryessa would be great if it weren't for the gangsters & insane amount of drugs in the campgrounds.

Havasu & the Parker Strip (Colorado river) are a LOT of fun for adults & not very kid friendly.

Elsinore.... we always called in Smellsomore. That water is nasty.

Check out homes in Canyon Lake north of Temecula. Descent water & a reasonable houses in a nice neighborhood. Lots of riding talent living there. There is a size & weight limit on boats though.

There is another private lake south of Canyon. Trying to recall the name of it. Seems like it was going under re-development not too long ago.

Also check out Castaic, NW of LA.

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