Zuma Beach is a county beach located at 30000 Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) in Malibu, California. One of the largest and most popular beaches in Los Angeles County, Zuma is known for its long, wide sands and excellent surf. It consistently ranks among the healthiest beaches for clean water conditions in Los Angeles County.
Zuma is protected by the Lifeguard unit of the Los Angeles County Fire Department, with 14 lifeguard towers on the sands proper and one of four L.A. County Section Headquarters located at the center of the beach. Like all beaches with good surf, Zuma has its share of rip currents. Visitors are encouraged not to swim or surf in front of the Lifeguard Headquarters between Towers 8 and 9, an area particularly prone to rip currents. In fact, rip currents are so prevalent that as of 2007 the Los Angeles County Fire Department Lifeguard Unit uses Zuma Beach to illustrate a rip current.
Zuma Beach hosts several premier surfing events each year. With optimum wind conditions nearly daily in the late afternoon, Zuma draws many to kitesurfing on the northern end of Zuma Beach.
Zuma Beach can be accessed directly from PCH, and lies between the major access corridors Las Virgenes/Malibu Canyon Road and Kanan-Dume Road to the southeast, and Las Posas Road to the northwest. Parking is available in a large fee parking lot. Additional parking is available on the adjacent PCH.
On its southeast side, Zuma is bordered by Westward Beach. Westward is geographically situated on Malibu's westernmost promontory known as Point Dume. Westward includes a stretch of 2-way road right at the sand's edge. Parking is available on the road as well as a fee parking lot. Westward Beach is marked by a shorter sand shelf than Zuma, a veritable pipeline, making the waves of less duration and higher impact. Westward Beach is recommended only for strong swimmers, as the wave action compared to Zuma Beach is stronger, can push down on swimmers, and delivers more of a "crunch." Westward Beach is where former lifeguard Jesse Billauer suffered the accident that left him paralyzed.
- Swimming; lifeguard on duty during daylight hours
- Diving (shallow)
- Volleyball courts
- Outdoor showers (cold)
- Food stands, seasonal
- Parking lot
- Walkway (wheelchair accessible)
Parking: 2025 spaces (43 disabled) Electric Vehicle - 3 inductive, 1 conductive
During emergency conditions, e.g., fire, mudslide, earthquake, Zuma Beach is the designated emergency evacuation center for evacuees. With its flat terrain, open parking lot, miles of pristine sand, and xeriscape landscaping, it serves as an optimal first response open air shelter.
Zuma Beach also sports a dedicated helicopter landing area for medical emergency airlifts to local trauma centers.
With its proximity to the film and television industry in Los Angeles, Zuma Beach has been a popular filming location for advertisements (both film and print), films, and television episodes such as:
- Planet of the Apes (1968), the famous final scene was filmed near Westward Beach (on the cliff face of Point Dume).
- Zuma Beach (1978), television film directed by Lee H. Katzin.
- Baywatch, it was a frequently used site for the television series.
- I Dream of Jeannie (1965–70), the beach substitutes for "a deserted island in the South Pacific" when Larry Hagman discovers Barbara Eden (as Capt. Tony Nelson and Jeannie, the genie, respectively) in the very first episode.
- Scorpion, the beach was also used as a location in Season 1, episode 12.
- America's Next Top Model, the beach was the location for a challenge commercial (cycle 22).
Zuma Beach is home to the annual Malibu Nautica Triathlon, a benefit for Children's Hospital of LA. The swim portion begins at Zuma Beach, followed by a bicycle segment along the length of Zuma Beach north to Deer Creek Canyon, capped by a run along the sidewalk fronting Zuma Beach. In its 34th year as of 2008, the Malibu Nautica draws competitors from around the world but is best known in popular culture for the Hollywood celebrities and retired Olympic medalists who compete. Stars in recent Nauticas are David Duchovny, Felicity Huffman, Carl Lewis, Jennifer Lopez, William Macy, and Matthew McConaughey. Many television stars also compete. In 2008, athletes participating in the Nautica raised nearly $980,000 for Children's Hospital.
- Zuma is the name of Neil Young's album edited in 1975
- Zuma Beach is mentioned in the song "Some Girls" by The Rolling Stones
- Zuma Beach is mentioned in the song "Why I Came to California" by Leon Ware
- U2 makes reference to Zuma Beach in their song "California".
- A singing surfer's wagon mentions Zuma in the song "Worthless" in The Brave Little Toaster (1987).
- NASCAR on Fox used an instrumental called "Zuma Beach" from 2001 to 2006. It was co-written by Chris Lang and Eric Cunningham. It is unknown if they named the song after the 1975 movie or the actual beach.
- Don Henley wrote the song "The Boys of Summer" on Zuma Beach
- Singers Gwen Stefani and Gavin Rossdale named their second child (born August 21, 2008) Zuma (Nesta Rock Rossdale).
- LAC Water Quality at Beaches
- LA County Lifeguards Archived October 27, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.
- LA County Fire Department
- Rip Currents Archived October 27, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.
- LACFD: What is a rip current Archived October 30, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.
- Jesse Billauer
- "Official Website". Malibu Nautica Triathlon.
- Some Girls lyrics
- Official website
- LA County Lifeguards on Twitter, provide surf reports on Twitter
- Zuma Beach at Citysearch