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surfing on long beach island at the new jersey shore Do you need to head out west to learn how to surf?  Absolutely not!  While Hawaii and California may be known for some of the United States' best surfing spots, there is plenty of surfing to be had along the East Coast as well.

When you think of New England, you might think of cold winters, but New England actually has some of the best surf spots on the East Coast.  There are four New England states that have surfable waves:  Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island.  The offshore waters in these New England states are deep, and they are known for their big swells.  New England is one of the only areas in the country where surfers will encounter rocks and reefs, but these are the reason for some of the area's incredible surf.  Unfortunately, the best seasons to surf in New England are fall, winter, and spring.  The waters are frigid during these seasons, so wetsuits are a must.  Surfing culture in New England is laid-back and welcoming.  Because of the extreme conditions New England surfers must endure, the waters are generally not crowded and surfers are hardcore.

surfing in south carolina The Mid Atlantic surfing states include New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia.  In fact, the original "Ron Jon" surf shop is located on Long Beach Island, at the New Jersey shore.  While none of these states are surfing hubs, it is possible to catch a wave.  Because of the varied coast and man-made structures such as jetties and breakwalls, there are interesting wave formations and plenty of options for surfers.  The best time to surf in this area is right before, during, or just after winter, so again, hardcore surfers make up the bulk of those in the water.

surfing in florida The South Atlantic area of the United States has surfing spots in Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina.  The area known as the Outer Banks has drawn barrel riders from all over the world, and it is one area on the East Coast where large, consistent swells are available year-round.  When you head south of the Outer Banks, the surf deteriorates and is not nearly as interesting.  Unlike the Mid-Atlantic states, much of the coast in the South Atlantic states is left natural.  Despite the Outer Banks being an excellent surfing spot, most surfers pass quickly through the rest of the south on their way to Florida.

The most southern point on mainland USA, Florida has the most lively surf scene of any area on the East Coast.  The weather is warm, the water temperature is sub-tropical, and the beach is a big part of Florida life all year round.  Because of its excellent surfing environment, Florida is home to some of the world's best surfing champions, both male and female.  While the waves in Florida are smaller than those on the West Coast, swells can range from one foot in wind chop to 20 feet in a hurricane swell.  Because hurricanes bring the best surf, surfers often hope that the late summer brings at least a few, in order to give them a break from the small waves common in summer.  As with much of the East Coast, the made-made structures along the Florida coast provide the best line-ups.

Atlantic coast surf shops, from Maine to Florida


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