About Emma Wood

Emma Wood State Beach marks the definitive bend in the coast between Ventura proper and the points and reefs beyond. Although Emma Wood is home to a handful of forgettable waves over a span of two miles, its franchise player is Ventura Overhead, a famous big-wave break that used to be the Sunset Beach training grounds for California's bravest big-wave pioneers. Overhead only breaks a few times a year, but it remains the area's premier big-wave spot -- wedgy, open-face rights that funnel for hundreds of yards and steep, lined-up lefts that can barrel with enough W in the swell. No one really knows what Overhead breaks over: some say it's just a patch of reef that doesn't grow any kelp, others say it's more like an aquatic junkyard -- abandoned cars, old tires and scraps of metal. Whatever brings Overhead to life, it's a quality deepwater break.

Source: Emma Wood Surf Guide

Ability Level

Intermediate - advanced

Beg Int Adv

Intermediate to advanced

Local Vibe


Welcoming Intimidating

None to moderate.

Crowd Factor


Mellow Heavy

Light to moderate.

Spot Rating


Poor Perfect

Fun, wedging peaks on the inside.

Shoulder Burn


Light Exhausting

Not too bad.

Water Quality


Clean Dirty

Manageable but can be rough after a rain.

Additional Information


Long paddle to Overheads.


Easy, park at Emma Wood.

Bring Your

Shortboard, longboard



Best Season


Swell Consistency and Wind Overview

Photos & Videos