Best of 2001: Best Place To Learn How To Surf

Tourmaline Surf Park
West end of Tourmaline Street (just north of the junction of Mission Boulevard and La Jolla Boulevard), Pacific Beach

You can park just above this stretch of beach, bounded by Crystal Pier to the south and False Point to the north, so your walk of shame with that foam board you rented on Mission Boulevard isn't a very long one. It's called a "surf park" because no swimming is allowed, which should ease the minds of novices freaked out about braining innocent bathers. But best of all, surfers at Tourmaline leave their attitudes behind. In the late afternoon and early evening, the parking lot becomes a gathering place for aging, easygoing longboarders and respectful newcomers eager for tips. If you're still nervous about getting on a board, come down here before 8:00 p.m. (when you can still drink a beer) and watch the old-timers.

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