Overview: Kayaking La Jolla Shores California
La Jolla Shores California is a beautiful place to take your kayak out on the ocean to explore the beautiful La Jolla coastline. La Jolla shores is a great place to Kayak because there is a dedicated street area for dropping off your kayak and there are a lot of cool sites to see!
The water in La Jolla Shores is often pretty clear and is a favorite snorkeling spot for us as well! On this trip to La Jolla Shores it was our first test of our brand new Pakayak Kayaks in the Ocean!
Generally La Jolla Shores is a great place to launch kayaks from because the waves near the kayak launch are generally calmer than the rest of the San Diego coast line. Conditions always change though, and it is vitally important to not only assess your own skills/comfort kayaking in the ocean but to check out the conditions and weather before you push off from the beach.
The Marine Room Restaurant in La Jolla Shores has a fantastic web cam that you can use to start your assessment of current conditions.
La Jolla Shores Kayaking Map
The Caltopo map above can be viewed and downloaded here.
I did not start my gpx tracking on my watch until after I broke through the surf, which is why it looks like I started a little past the break.
Directions to the La Jolla Shores boat ramp on Google maps can be found here.
Kayaking La Jolla Shores Trip Report
My fiance and I have spent a lot of time snorkeling around La Jolla Shore, but this would be our first time kayaking here. This would also be our first time entering the surf in our Pakayaks, and thought it would be a great test.! Unfortunately we don't have skirts for our Pakayaks yet, so we were prepared with an NRS bilge pump to use after we got past the surf.
ℹ️ Gear Recommendations
If you would like expert gear recommendations for your next adventure check out the Ten Digit Grid Gear Locker. I detail why each item has a spot in my backpack!
After putting our Pakayaks together on the beach, the waves didn't look to bad, but the waves always look smaller from the beach vs once you actually get in the water. Rachel was first up and we carried here Pakayak into the shallow water of La Jolla Shores Beach.
Once we entered the water, it seemed that the waves instantly picked up and it didn't look or feel as calm as it did earlier when we were putting the Pakayaks together on the beach.
After getting pounded by a couple waves in the shallow water, the set broke and Rachel quickly jumped into her kayak and I gave her a big push and yelled "paddle straight!"
Rachel timed the set perfectly and easily cut through some small surf, and was out beyond the La Jolla Shores break pretty fast.
Next up it was my turn to attempt to make it out past the surf. I pulled my pakayak into the water a little and watched the waves for a bit, hoping to plan my entry as eloquently as Rachel did.
When I saw the waves calm a bit I jumped in, and tried to paddle like crazy. I was pretty shallow in the water and it took me a minute to gain some speed. While I was trying to gain my forward momentum a small wave crashed on me and instantly slowed me down. Once I got going forward again the next set of waves was full in motion and I got a good slapping from them all. The pakayak handled cutting through them perfectly, but not having a skirt on I took in a little water with each wave that crashed on me. Lets just say it was a good thing I had the NRS bilge pump on hand for after I got past the break.
Once past the break I was a bit out of breath from getting through the surf. I wish I started my Garmin GPS watch on the beach because it would have been fun to watch my heart rate spike as the adrenaline kicked in the minute I jumped into the kayak and started paddling like crazy!
I immediately began using the NRS bilge pump but my arms were exhausted so it took me a little longer to bilge out the cockpit then I had originally hoped for. Once we got most of the water out of both our cockpits we pointed our kayaks Southwest and headed toward the cliffs!
There are a number of kayak tours constantly launching over here, and we started behind one of the ocean Kayak tour groups but quickly sped by them in our Pakayaks as we headed toward the La Jolla cliffs. The water was not rough once past the break but there were some pretty big powerful swells moving a lot of water. Once or twice I lost sight of Rachel because she was on the other side of a swell than me. Since the swells were pretty big and powerful we chose not to get too close to the cliffs but they were pretty awesome looking!
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Once we got to the cliffs we hugged the coastline following it Northwest looking at all the tourists enjoying the views from the cliffs and waving to us down below.
We kayaked right past the cave that all the Kayak tourists take all their guests in and watched a few of the kayaks enter. We opted not to venture into the cave on this trip. We were not wearing helmets and I didnt want to wait for the tour to go in, one by one. We opted to just enjoy the view from afar.
With how fast the Pakayaks are we made it over to the cliffs and the caves pretty quickly and were not ready to wrap up our ocean kayaking trip just yet.
After we were done enjoying the coastline we pointed our kayaks Northeast towards the Scripps Pier and started just paddling in that direction keeping the La Jolla Shore beach on our right.
Again the swells were pretty large out here away from the coastline but our Pakayaks handled them all fantastic. Being out on the open ocean on two 14 foot kayaks bobbing up and down to the rhythm of the waves was soothing.
While we were still paddling towards Scripps Pier Rachel spotted some Dolphins out in front of us, and they quite almost jumped into her kayak!
Seeing the Dolphins was super cool, especially with no one else around, we had them all to ourselves! Eventually we turned around and headed back in the directions we came. It was easy to find where we left the beach from because of the hotel and there is always a mass of tourists on the kayak tours right in front of the beach landing area.
As we got closer to the beach we inched up trying to time the waves, and rachel caught her first right behind me and was super excited! When the Pakayaks catch a good wave you just take off and it is an amazing feeling!
I eventually caught a good wave and was heading in towards the beach fast! It was such a thrill to be effortlessly moving so fast on a kayak!
Eventually the thrill of the ride came to an end as my Kayak began to turn and I saw myself slowly becoming parel with the wave.... at this point i very quickly was ejected from the kayak and it was thrown to shore. I somehow landed on my feet laughing. After reviewing the GoPro footage I still don't exactly know how I nailed the landing...
Needless to say the Pakayak held up great on the entire adventure. It effortlessly cut through the waves as we entered the ocean and then was perfectly fine after wiping out on the way back in! For a kayak that comes apart into 6 different sections it handled everything the ocean threw at it in the ocean perfectly!
If you have never been to La Jolla Shore to go kayaking, I highly recommend it! If you are unsure about your skill level go out with one of the local tour guides!