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California is a little paradise full of history and well-known names of surfers. Here is an insight from Surf Madame’s last trip.

From vast beaches to palm trees, perfect waves and a dreamy lifestyle, here is good dose of inspiration.

San Francisco

It is the most “european” city in the US, cradle of the beatniks and hippies, San Francisco is nicknamed “The City by the bay”. From one hill to an other you can admire the amazing view on the bay and the city, often bathed in fog, and the famous Golden Gate Bridge (and its surf spot right at its foot !)

Must see : Colorful victorians houses, the legendary Alcatraz prison, the cable car, Haight-Ashbury the hippie neighborhood, now become the home of a big gay community, and of course China Town !

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Malibu

Famous point break, Malibu’s wave is part of the surfing history. True paradise for longboarders you can regularly meet surfing figures training and doing the show in the water. After the session you can enjoy a great burrito from across the road and admire the huge villas built on the cliff.

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Know in the entire world for its Z-boys, Venice and its long promenade by the ocean is full of artists and troubadours. During the day many tourists are roaming between street stands and small shops, by night the place becomes less respectable, you would better not stay to long in the promenade. The sporty ones will enjoy the big skatepark on the beach, the famous outdoor weights room where Schwarzenegger used to train, or the bike lanes going all along the coastline, really nice by bike, skateboard or rollers. Do not forget to have a look at Mollusk Surf Shop, a beautiful place in the center of Venice.

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Santa Monica

Located barely 10min by bike from Venice Beach, Santa Monica is a small residential town where life is good and easy. Streets are clean and nice, you can go for a walk or shopping on 3rd street, or get some ice cream on the pier and go to the fair. The beach is huge and a lot of paths are going up and down the cliff, it is very nice to take a walk and admire the view or to go for a run. The town counts many restaurants, bars and clubs for a night life young and trendy.

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Manhattan Beach

Rumors say that Manhattan Beach is the new Malibu in terms of celebrities, you can see many villas built directly by the beach and every corner of the little town looks like a TV show scenery.

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 Oceanside

Oceanside offers quality waves all year, north or south of the pier. From the pier  you have a nice view of the coastline and you can watch surfers play, when you are not disturbing local birds, not always accommodating ! It is also the city of the California Surf Museum, a beautiful place tracing the history of surfing in California, from the arrival of the first surfboards to today’s massive surf culture. You can find a great collection of surfboards telling the evolution of the ride and the shape, photos and videos of those Californians who made the surfing history (with little crush on Linda Benson portrait) and also a flash back on line-up fashion style at that time. A lot of things to learn, and you will get out wanting to go surfing !

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Encinitas

Located in the North of San Diego, Encinitas is a little Californian paradise. You get down to the beach by the stairs right by the side of the cliff, making a quick stop to enjoy the view and check the waves. You also might want to see the “Surfing Madonna”, a 10 by 10 feet mosaic of the Virgin Marie (or Virgen de Guadalupe for Mexicans) showed riding a surfboard.

Towns around are all good to visit if you want to make the most of your Californian trip and surf every day. Leucadia, Carlsbad, Cardiff, San Onofre, Solana Beach, you are just being spoilt by choice !

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Talking about California, Huntington Beach will host this year the Vans US Open of Surfing as the 6th stop of the feminine World Tour, but also a stop of the ASP qualification tour for men, the Joel Tudor Duct Tape Invitational and skateboarding/BMX contests with the Van Doren Invitational.

It will also be the occasion for the town to celebrate its 100 years of surfing !

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