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  1. #1
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    Feb 2012
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    Most consistent beginner summer surf spot within 3 hours of New York City

    I am hoping for some advice on where I might relocate for the summer within 3 hours of New York City to maximize days in the water. I am a beginner so my standards are very low - just need enough wave to stand me up (I'm 6'3, 200 lbs - not sure if that matters?). Wave consistency is a lot more important than quality at this point. Ideally, it would be somewhere that I don't have to spend a fortune on a rental and has some type of swim/surf camp for my wife and 3 young kids. I've managed to get them all addicted to skiing and hoping to do the same with surfing. Thanks in advance for any help you can give.

  2. #2
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    Sep 2009
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    fernie, b.c.
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    ever heard of long island? problem is the atlantic is very fickle in the summer. no spot is consistent. summer can be a lot of fun waves or a total junkshow, that being said cape cod can be a good bet. or rhode island like narraganset or some shit. best bet is central america for 2 weeks and you will surf 2 times everyday. 2 weeks at a good spot is worth 6 months of junk as far as learning curve. most east coast surfers just wait for the fall hurracane season anyhow... just respect the locals wherever u go.

  3. #3
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    Feb 2012
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    Thanks Big Mike. Any particular spots in CA for a newbie?

  4. #4
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    Sep 2009
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    fernie, b.c.
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    dont know. im an east coast surfer out on cape cod, just spend winters in fernie bc. my cousin surfs rockaway long island and says it can be good.

  5. #5
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    Dec 2008
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    Ditch Plains

  6. #6
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    Mar 2010
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    Quote Originally Posted by jca12 View Post
    I am hoping for some advice on where I might relocate for the summer within 3 hours of New York City to maximize days in the water. I am a beginner so my standards are very low - just need enough wave to stand me up (I'm 6'3, 200 lbs - not sure if that matters?). Wave consistency is a lot more important than quality at this point. Ideally, it would be somewhere that I don't have to spend a fortune on a rental and has some type of swim/surf camp for my wife and 3 young kids. I've managed to get them all addicted to skiing and hoping to do the same with surfing. Thanks in advance for any help you can give.
    Sounds like Montauk to me. But like someone said, summers can be inconsistent on the east coast as a norm. But Montauk seems to be fairly consistent during the times I've been there. And compared to other parts of Long Island, it's NOT outrageously expensive for summer rentals....unless you're looking for someplace RIGHT on the beach...they can easily run $2700 per week or $7000 per month. But smaller places a couple blocks from the beach won't cost you NEARLY that....and everything is a couple blocks from the beach, really.

    You might have to drive a spell to get to a full foodstore, but there are some GREAT pizzarias there right in montauk. Decent wine shops. Waves more consistent than on the Jersey "Shore". Cape Cod is decent, but Montauk is less touristy.
    "The reason death sticks so closely to life isn't biological necessity - it's envy. Life is so beautiful that death has fallen in love with it; a jealous, possesive love that grabs at what it can." by Yann Martel from Life of Pi



    Posted by DJSapp:
    "Squirrels are rats with good PR."

  7. #7
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    Dec 2009
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    grew up surfing on the cape and surfed there a good 20 years before moving to nh 5 years ago. the cape can be good as it picks up more swell than many areas up this way. only problem can be the wind. doesn't take much for the waves to get wind fucked out there in a hurry.

    i used to drive to rhode island a whole bunch while living on the cape as the water was warmer and it seemed more consistent in summer sometimes.

    i agree with going on a warm surf trip for 2 weeks. just got back from one (9 days surfing) and it was nice to surf 2-3 times a day, every day. can't do that here in nh. winter is so fickle here and flatter from my experience than any other time of year, summer included.

    if not long island, i'd look at rhode island.

    rog

  8. #8
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    Jun 2007
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    Quote Originally Posted by jca12 View Post
    Thanks Big Mike. Any particular spots in CA for a newbie?
    Santa Cruz is pretty consistent for summer surf, if you are looking to get out on long boards. A good amount of south fills in up here and there are still a few north wind swells. A bit more fickle for short boards, but not as much as the east coast. You will need wetsuits which is an additional cost and hassle. Pleasure Point is excellent for learning, as are some of the beach breaks just south of town.

    San Diego is pretty consistent, as long as the south swells are running. It picks up much more swell than further north. But if the south shut down, almost no north wind swell makes it down there. No sure about beginner locations. No wetsuit needed.

    For the east coast, if you are willing to go further than 3 hours, Cape Hatteras is pretty much the most consistent surf on the coast. You can rent a house at the off locations and surf alone. A bit more punch down there.

    Near NYC, is Rockaway, Queens. You can even live at home, hop the A train and get to a pretty consistent surf break at 92nd St. Otherwise, I'd suggest RI near Narragansett. Decent beach break. Just stay away from NH and ME. Colder water, and they get blocked by Cap Cod for south swells.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ottime View Post
    Just stay away from NH and ME. Colder water, and they get blocked by Cap Cod for south swells.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ottime View Post
    Just stay away from NH and ME. Colder water, and they get blocked by Cap Cod for south swells.
    I've heard of lunatics going out to places like Monhegan island and other outer islands in Maine to ride the nasty swells during the beginning of nor'easters. Big rollers coming in for sure, but surrounded by crazy chop going every which way. Not to mention MURDEROUS ROCKS. I'll watch, thanks.


    You're the second person to mention Rockaway...so there must be something there. But isn't he sorta looking for a vacation place to get away for his family for a couple monthes? Been to Rockaway a few times...wouldn't want to rent there!! Central America is pretty cheap though...cheaper than almost any beach in the US. In Costa Rica houses rent for CHEAP, from what I hear. And cost of living...food, etc...is cheap as well.

    --

    --
    "The reason death sticks so closely to life isn't biological necessity - it's envy. Life is so beautiful that death has fallen in love with it; a jealous, possesive love that grabs at what it can." by Yann Martel from Life of Pi



    Posted by DJSapp:
    "Squirrels are rats with good PR."

  10. #10
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    ^^^Actually Costa would be a great place to learn if they can afford the airfare. Tamirindo would be my suggestion. Mellow waves, offshores, small town, safe.

    Speaking of vacationing in Rockaway. Senior year of college my girlfriend and I wanted to get away from roommates for a night and found a hotel in Rockaway. Took the A train to the end of the line, started walking down the street, saw a sign advertising hourly rates, realized it was our intended hotel and turned tail. Ended up in a airport hotel on LI. Just got off at JFK, booked a room, took a shuttle and it was much less seedy. So yeah, wouldn't really suggest renting there, but the beaches are safe enough around the 90s.

    If vacation is more important than surf, Wells, Maine is decent. Not a whole lot of waves in the summer, unless you get lucky. But there are some, and pretty much no one surfing. I'm biased as it is my home break. I learned to surf there, and still surf 25 years later. Or York Beach could be good.


    EDIT: To the OP.

    Do you plan to shortboard or longboard? At your size, and not being a twelve year old, the learning curve will be slow. Not a whole lot of consistent summer surf near NYC. You'll get a whole lot more days in on a longboard, but if you plan to go that route, you'd want to be set up more near a area that has point breaks as well as beach breaks. Or slow breaking beaches. If you plan to shortboard I would think you'd really need to be down in North Carolina if you are staying on the east coast and want to be able to get out several times a week. SoCal and even Santa Cruz will have way more shortboard days in a typical summer, just because of the long period south swells.

  11. #11
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    Sep 2009
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    fernie, b.c.
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    hey ottime how bout reid state park? my buddy from nantucket moved up there and i visited him and surfed there and at higgins beach in portland. pretty good waves sometimes but the water will shrivel your package...

  12. #12
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    Never surfed Reid, but I have friends that like it. Both there and Higgins gets a bit more south than other spots due to facing southerly and sticking out a bit. But the Cape still really blocks a lot of swell. Like those short, quick storms that can come off NC and ride the coast. Or tropical systems that come in closer than Bermuda. Basically anything closer to the EC than Bermuda will have the Cape blocking the swell. Some stuff will wrap around, but you generally get less in the fickle summer months.

    Don't get me wrong. I love surfing up there. Only a few spots (Ogunquit) get any sort of crowd what so ever. And there are a ton of great reefs and points that never get surfed at all. Well, rarely.

    What I would suggest to the OP is find a spot that offers up some waves, but if it is going to be a summer vacation, make sure there are other vacation like amenities, because you really aren't going to be hanging out in the northeast and surfing daily in July. Or August.

  13. #13
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    Dec 2009
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    ^^^^^^^^depends on the summer maybe. i've found the summers to be pretty consistent for at least rideable long board waves almost daily and perfect for newbies/families. more consistent waves on the daily than winter, that's for sure.

    rog

  14. #14
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    Nov 2008
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    I found the break under The Towers in Narragansett to be pretty consistant when I lived there, and its a great place for beginners to learn.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by icelanticskier View Post
    ^^^^^^^^depends on the summer maybe. i've found the summers to be pretty consistent for at least rideable long board waves almost daily and perfect for newbies/families. more consistent waves on the daily than winter, that's for sure.

    rog
    I had the complete opposite experience over a 7 year period. But that was back in the late 80s/early 90s. Of course, weather patterns can change, and like you said, it could depend on the summer. We called small days BR - barely rideable. I can remember getting a string of those in June, but once July rolled around my buddies would get pissed at me for saying who good the waves would be if we were just the size of squirrels, or ants even. I recall long stretches of the ocean looking like a lake. With a little luck a local or tropo system would get past he cape.

    I was back for two weeks this summer (I know, a short period) and only had 3 days were it was BR and clean. A few choppy days, that would be decent for learning. And a bunch of sub ankle high days and a few shin high days. Generally, for me, BR starts when is is almost knee high.

    I also spent 5 years in NYC surfing Rockaway, LI and RI. Generally found it much more consistent down there in summers. We would even get weird mid period swells from the Bermuda High setting up in the right place. A

    Winter was variable, but there tended to be swell. You just had to find the right nook that turned it into a wave. Autumn was by far the best.

    Again, I am not saying north is not an option and I do love spending time on the coast up there. Way more beautiful, less crowded and then there is the whole lobsters thing. And fried haddock. Oh, fried clams and scallops are also high on my list.

  16. #16
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    Feb 2012
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    Thanks for all the suggestions. I'm thinking a longboard is the way to go given my size and small east coast surf. I'm leaning towards Narraganset, RI or Long Beach, NY at this point. Found a guy in RI that runs a 4 week surf camp for kids and in July/August. Also planning to drive out to Long Beach to check out the area and see some summer rentals but it may be out of my price range. Anyway, I'll post how it turns out.

  17. #17
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    Dec 2009
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ottime View Post
    I had the complete opposite experience over a 7 year period. But that was back in the late 80s/early 90s. Of course, weather patterns can change, and like you said, it could depend on the summer. We called small days BR - barely rideable. I can remember getting a string of those in June, but once July rolled around my buddies would get pissed at me for saying who good the waves would be if we were just the size of squirrels, or ants even. I recall long stretches of the ocean looking like a lake. With a little luck a local or tropo system would get past he cape.

    I was back for two weeks this summer (I know, a short period) and only had 3 days were it was BR and clean. A few choppy days, that would be decent for learning. And a bunch of sub ankle high days and a few shin high days. Generally, for me, BR starts when is is almost knee high.

    I also spent 5 years in NYC surfing Rockaway, LI and RI. Generally found it much more consistent down there in summers. We would even get weird mid period swells from the Bermuda High setting up in the right place. A

    Winter was variable, but there tended to be swell. You just had to find the right nook that turned it into a wave. Autumn was by far the best.

    Again, I am not saying north is not an option and I do love spending time on the coast up there. Way more beautiful, less crowded and then there is the whole lobsters thing. And fried haddock. Oh, fried clams and scallops are also high on my list.
    BR, i like it. my buddy from the cape and i used to call it BZ-able. he had a surf shop with these 8' BZ foam boards that you could catch pretty much anything on. i think we surfed 50 days in july/august on those boards and had a blast.

    this summer i think i averaged close to 3 days a week right through the summer on my 6' blunt. right tide/spot is key as you said. it'd be knee high at best at the wall where a spot within mile or 2 was solid waist. i've had great luck a bit south this winter on small days. lots of folks complained this year of minimal surf, but i wasn't complaining surfing my 5'9" a good 150+ sessions since last late april and counting................

    let me know when yer back in maine. maybe we can hook up for a surf.

    rog

  18. #18
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    Mar 2005
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    Manasquan Inlet is probably the most consistent break I've been to (about an hour south of NYC). Ditch Plains is another awesome spot, but I wouldn't want to deal with LI traffic. Not sure on swim/surf camp, but I'm sure something exists nearby.

  19. #19
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    Mar 2008
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    In my mind, Northern New England
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    OP: If you decide to spend your summer on Cape Cod, check out the Cape Cod National Seashore -- Coast Guard Beach or Nauset Light in Eastham or Marconi in Wellfleet. Bring your longboard and hit the beach at low tide. Two Wellfleet girls run a surf school out of Marconi Beach -- Sugar Surf Camp. Seen them teach families and kids. As soon as I wind down my ski season at Tux, I'll break out the boards and start driving south again.

  20. #20
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    Oct 2007
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    Naragansett or Pt. Judith R.I.
    "You can't drink all day if you don't start in the morning".


    Scottish Proverb

  21. #21
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    Pt Judith is far from a beginners area. Large boulders, no beach, currents, and it really does not get started until there is a little swell in the water. But it does handle 12 foot plus faces. And that is a plus in my book.

  22. #22
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    Dec 2002
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    Montrial
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    hey, how hard is it to car camp for free in long island, is it hectic? i am thinking of hitting this swell coming up?

    Montauk?
    long beach?
    shut up and ski

  23. #23
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    Nov 2002
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    Quote Originally Posted by dude_le_skibum View Post
    hey, how hard is it to car camp for free in long island, is it hectic? i am thinking of hitting this swell coming up?

    Montauk?
    long beach?
    Dude...Dude...where you been? Where the hell are you.

  24. #24
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    Dec 2009
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    Quote Originally Posted by dude_le_skibum View Post
    hey, how hard is it to car camp for free in long island, is it hectic? i am thinking of hitting this swell coming up?

    Montauk?
    long beach?
    about as hard as it is for you to do it in nh like you boys do all friggin year no matter what.

    hold onto that board, dude.

    rog

  25. #25
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    Nov 2008
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    East Maui/East Vail
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    Block Island and Newport!

    Padded rocks, in the summer....

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