With such descriptive names, one would think Heavens was an idyllic surfer’s paradise (complete with 12 foot barrels and sunbathing Victoria Secret models), and that Staircase actually had a staircase, but alas, the names are kind of misleading. Heavens is unfortunately supermodel free, and there are no stairs at Staircase. To top it off, these spots are mostly flat during the year. However, when the North Bay is hit by a large SW or NW swell, and every single spot between County Line and Malibu point is literally chock-full of neoprene and fiberglass, these two breaks will act as a sort of safe haven for crowd weary locals looking to score a few waves.
Location: If you are driving north from Malibu on PCH, Heavens will be just after Secos, and Staircase will be just before County Line. Heavens is actually easy to miss, as it is part of the Leo Carrillo State Park, and does not have any “direct” access from PCH. Staircase is less than a ¼ mile before County Line, and it has a dirt parking lot with a trail that leads down from the highway to the water.
Setup: Both breaks are point/beach breaks. Staircase offers mostly rights with the occasional (but very short) left. Be prepared to take off late, as the waves often lack power. Heavens is a much faster wave that can offer a rather steep take off. Both rights and lefts can be found on the menu, and the occasional barrel is not unheard of.
Swell and tide: SW or NW. Most of these times these breaks are flat, with Secos and County offering much better waves. However when swell is somewhere between waist high to double overhead, these spots will begin to break. On a medium tide, with a decent sized swell, one can score relatively empty waves even when other breaks are crowded.
Access: Staircase has a parking lot, which requires dinero. You can park at Leo Carrillo and walk over to Heavens, or you can park on PCH, and use one of the trails to climb down to the water.
Pros: When the swell and tide are spot on, you can catch some nicely shaped waves with relatively few people in the water. Great spot for beginners as well.
Cons: Though the waves can be good, usually there’s nothing.
Surf fact: Heavens is part of Leo Carrillo State Beach, which was named after the famous actor Leopoldo Antonio Carrillo. Also, the beach is used for a lot of movies, like “The Karate Kid,” “Point Break,” and “The Usual Suspects.”
Thanks to Slaterade in L.A. for this post