La Jolla Beach Spotlight: Windansea

This weeks La Jolla beach spotlight is a local surf haven that dates back to the 1950’s: Windansea Beach. This iconic surf break was popular among La Jolla‚Äôs earliest surf legends like Don Okey and Woody Ekstrom. We briefly explore the history, the infamous party shack, and what makes this surf break so popular.

The History

Windansea beach (originally known as Neptune Beach) was named after the Windansea Hotel that burnt down in the 1940s. It was and still is a surf paradise for skilled local surfers because its steep sloping ocean floors create powerful waves.

“While nearby sand-bottom waves were surfed as far back as the late 1920s, Windansea itself wasn’t ridden until New York-born surf pioneer Woody Brown tried it out in 1937; La Jolla natives Don Okey and Townsend Cromwell followed the next day, and were soon joined by Woody Ekstrom, Dorian Paskowitz, John Elwell, and others…” –

The Shack


The iconic Windansea Shack is a simple palm covered shack built in 1946 by locals Woody Ekstrom, Fred Kenyon and Don Okey. This beach was known for its wild and out of control parties at the Shack during the late 50s and 60s. Luaus would be held regularly by surfers but by the late 70s the parties were shut down for good. However, the Windansea Shack still remains today as a historical landmark with a rich and colorful history.

Windansea Today

Today, Windansea is still a surfers paradise and you’re likely to find locals here rather than tourists. Because of the strong surf break, swimming is strongly discouraged in this area. Public restrooms, showers, and drinking fountains are not found at this beach. There are, however, lifeguards on duty during the summer and almost every weekend.


While Windansea leans more toward a surf destination, it’s one of the most picturesque beaches in San Diego. It’s often the backdrop for announcement photos as well as senior and family photos.

Windansea is located at 6800 Neptune Place, La Jolla, CA 92039. What are some of the stories or legends you’ve heard about Windansea? Share them with us in a comment below.

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