The Big Apple was officially introduced to the surf world in 2011 at the Quiksilver Pro New York, but the Empire State had been surfed for decades before that circus ever came to town. Although only a small portion of New York state has surfable coastline, Long Island has literally dozens of quality waves breaking in the shadow of the Empire State Building—a unique surfing backdrop if there ever was one.

New York – Surf Spot & Surf Camps. Photo thanks to Peter Pan Surfing Academy

The Surf: Predominantly beach breaks, with the odd point thrown in for good measure. In general, New York should be considered a beginner to intermediate surf zone.

Five Waves Worth Surfing:

Five Waves Worth Surfing:

The Season: Hurricane season is what you are after, and it technically stretches from June through November. Autumn is situated in smack in the middle of hurricane time, and has pleasant weather and water conditions, while winter sees long interval swells and near-freezing surface temps. Spring and early summer are pretty lame unless there is an out-of-season hurricane bearing down on the coast.

The Vibe: As one of the more densely populated stretches of coastline in the US, New York has way more surfers than it should—particularly considering the consistency and quality of the waves. That being said, crowds do have their advantages, since a hundred guys in the water makes localism pretty much irrelevant.

Things To Do: What can’t you do in the Big Apple? With museums, Broadway shows, Times Square, historical architecture, and monumental skyscrapers, New York is the city all others aspire to. Get out and explore.

Where To Stay: The other downside to New York (besides the crowds, inconsistency, and cold) is that it isn’t exactly cheap. You may not be staying at the Waldorf, but you’ll still pay a hefty sum for comfortable accommodations—although a few hostels do exist if you know where to look (try or

What To Bring: A shortboard, a log, a fish—heck, bring whatever you want. Just bear in mind that when there isn’t hurricane swell slamming the coast, things tend to go pretty quiet and the waves can be a bit soft. Bring boardshorts if you are coming in summer and the thickest rubber you can find for winter (6/5/4 wettie plus hood, gloves, and booties might not be enough on the coldest days). Other than that, just bring a pocketful of cash—you can buy pretty much anything you want in this city.

Getting There: John F. Kennedy International Airport is one of the largest in the country, and lands you right in the middle of all the madness. US visa rules apply. Airport code: JFK.

Leave a Reply