Malibu, CA: Surfing in Malibu is an amazing experience. There are 27 miles of coastline to explore with about a dozen known surf breaks. These range from point breaks and reef breaks to beach breaks. The most famous surf spot is Surfrider by Malibu Pier. It is one of the few surf spots in the world that is exclusively for surfing and is considered one of the top 5 surfing waves in the world. (It's not usually the best location for total beginners, but something we can aspire to soon.) Other popular spots along PCH are Topanga (point break), Zuma (beach break), and County Line (reef break). All of these spots break year round but usually are better in the summer, depending on the swell direction at any given time.
Santa Monica, CA: Santa Monica is a great beginner beach but also at times has very challenging surf. The bottom is sandy making it pretty easy for a new surfer to deal with. The area has tons of parking and amenities so it is a popular choice year round. The max size wave that is safe to surf is about 5 ft or so. The water can be a bit warmer than some of Malibu even thought it is adjacent for the most part. There are no rocks in Santa Monica (unlike Malibu). The tides and wind are a factor most days.
Venice, CA: Venice Beach is the 3rd most popular attraction in SoCal just behind Disneyland and Hollywood. There is a definite flavor in the air, but as you cross the bike path on the sand it is all about surfing business. There is also a free skate park on the beach if you want to give that a go. Parking can be a little tight in Venice but we have the inside scoop on that part as well. The surf is better than the average beach break for L.A. We get warm water, breaks year round, and there is always something to do after your surf goes out.
Whatever location you choose for your surf lesson or rental, you will be 100% stoked! It's all about having fun and safety is part of the mission. I look forward to meeting your surfing needs soon.