Break Check: Imperial Beach, CA

Bodysurfing Wave Imperial Beach Sole Handplanes

Imperial Beach, better known as IB, is one of those spots I don’t get to as much as I should. Perhaps better known for its proximity to Baja Mexico and the Tijuana River Mouth and it’s sometimes less than clean water than it’s clean shifty barrels, IB exists comfortably under the radar. It’s a great classic beach town and way cleaner than OB, MB or PB.


IB gets good. Period. It takes the correct swell angle, but it gets good year ‘round. Be prepared for a work out and a working because it thumps and the currents can be, well lets just say long hikes back to your initial line-up are just par for the course. IB is a long broad beach with varying conditions depending on where you are. The shape and location of sandbars vary: sometimes it's better near the pier; sometimes it's better farther south. Did we say it gets hollow?


Though finding your own peak is never a problem the local vibe is perhaps best described by Surfline: “Local Vibe: Protective. Again, you're not welcome here, and they'll wax your windows to prove it. One of the last localized spots in San Diego.” I've never had a problem in the water down there so far... Then again maybe I haven't spent enough time there, and if the best sandbar has a crew on it, I just walk down to the next best sandbar. 

Bodysurfing Wave Imperial Beach Sole Handplanes

Like any beach break IB is affected by the wind. And as per usual, mornings and evenings are the call. However, maybe because of the valleys further up the Tijuana Watershed, off-shores are more common here than elsewhere in South San Diego County.



TIDE: All tides, just find which sand bar is working for that swell and tide

WIND: East

SWELL: We’re not at liberty to say. You’ll just have to give it a try.

NOTES: Bring your good attitude. Don't take things personally. You'll be fine.


For weekly water quality checks:

Todd Partridge
Todd Partridge


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