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Best Surf Spots on the East Coast - For Beginners

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Photo Credit: Alexandra Uzik

There’s nothing better than the moment you catch your first wave and you let the ocean take you to shore. Surfing can be extremely physically demanding, especially when you’re just learning, but once you get the hang of it, it can be almost euphoric.

If you’re a beginner looking for solid surf spot on the East Coast, there are a few things to keep in mind - consistent waves, access to instructors, and crowd size (because no one wants to face plant in front of a bunch of wave hungry pros).

Cocoa Beach, FL

Cocoa Beach can be a bit packed in the summer, but mainly with tourists. It’s not like many of them will be out there trying to take your wave. The water is warm, the bottom is soft and sandy, and the vibe is contagious. Cocoa Beach Surf Company offers a variety of classes and clinics. You can book a private, semi-private, or group lesson. You can even rent a board if you don’t have your own.

Outer Banks, NC

Maybe tourists aren’t your scene? If so, you can’t go wrong with almost any spot along the Outer Banks. Find yourself a small beach with a few people and give yourself the chance to make some mistakes and really learn. The tropical weather & hurricane swell keeps the warm waves coming, which is perfect for beginners.

Sea Isle City, NJ

The Jersey Shore is legendary for way more than just an MTV show. It’s lined with beautiful small beach towns, like Sea Isle, that are known for surf. The waves are a bit smaller, but they’re steady. It is also home to plenty of surf shops where you can rent equipment and take lessons.

Go check out Heritage Surf Shops wave cam to see what the Sea Isle waves are looking like right now.

Coast Guard Beach, MA

Coast Guard Beach is filled with tons of people all at different skill levels riding surfboards, skimboards and longboards. Park at Little Creek and take the shuttle over to the beach (yes, you can take your board on the shuttle), walk down the inlet away from the tourist crowd and find yourself a spot. This is a perfect place to get the hang of surfing, but water temperatures fluctuate a lot, it can drop from 70 degrees to 50 overnight - so make sure you come prepared.

Robert Moses State Park, NY

When thinking about where to catch a wave on the East Coast, New York probably didn’t come to mind. But, Long Island locals have a saying, “If you can surf Long Island, you can surf anywhere.” Okay, probably a bit dramatic, but Long Island can get a bit rough depending on what part of the beach you’re at. Robert Moses State Park is an ideal small wave spot for beginners. The park is also stocked with concessions, beach shops, first aid offices, private outdoor showers and more.

If you’re an East Coaster looking to put your inner surfer to the test, these are the spots for you. When you’re learning to surf it’s essential to find a spot that has consistent steady waves, available instructors if you want lessons, and the right amount of people to make sure you’re comfortable. Surfing is an exhilarating way to test your limits and get your adrenaline pumping. Wind in your face, sun on your skin, salt in the air - there’s nothing else like it. So what are you waiting for? Go on now… Ride the Wave.