By Marcela DeVivo
So, youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re eager for a whistle stop tour of the best surfing towns in the country? Luckily, the U.S. is rich in break-friendly coastlines that allure surfers from around the world. While spots that produce that mythic Ã¢â‚¬Å“perfect waveÃ¢â‚¬Â can be very tiny indeed, they tend to come in clusters, making beach-hopping a doable option. From the famous to local secrets, from the mild to the menacing, here is a quick guide to Surfing U.S.A.
Southern California/Orange County
They donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t call Huntington Beach Ã¢â‚¬Å“Surf CityÃ¢â‚¬Â for nothing. The waves at this legendary Orange County location are famed for their surf-perfect breaking, making them easy to catch, even for newbies. For professionals and fans, HB is home to both theÃ‚Â OP Pro TournamentÃ‚Â and theÃ‚Â International Surfing ChampionshipÃ‚Â (InsiderÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s tip: hit the south side of the HB Pier during winter when the winds are lower while the waves are higher).
Just as exciting are San ClementeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Trestles, two separate breaks that offer waves some surf mavens like to skate ramps.Ã‚Â While itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a relative stretch from the OC,Ã‚Â MalibuÃ‚Â is essential for surfing fans.Ã‚Â Surfrider BeachÃ‚Â andÃ‚Â County LineÃ‚Â are the stuff of beachhead lore, and Malibu is one of the most beautiful coastlines anywhere.
Southern California may get most of the surfing glory, but NoCal has some excellent breaks of its own. In particular, SFÃ¢â‚¬â„¢sÃ‚Â Fort PointÃ‚Â is a unique boarding experience.Ã‚Â Right under theÃ‚Â Golden Gate Bridge, big swells from the bay curl around the point, making for massive waves.
Marin Country is filled with great surf spots, but two are highly recommended.Ã‚Â On one extreme,Ã‚Â Fort CronkhiteÃ‚Â is a dizzyingly fast and steep break that beginners might want to hold off on. Instead, nearbyÃ‚Â BolinasÃ‚Â is a great place to learn the ropes. Its waves are as mellow and steady as CronkhiteÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s are intense and a favorite among longboarders.
The coast of South Florida is studded with prime places to surf, perhaps the most famous of which isÃ‚Â Fort Worth.Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Reef RoadÃ‚Â is a particularly excellent spot, with its wildly right and left barrel breaks.
From Palm Beach, if you head north or south along the coastline youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re headed for still more endless summer beachfront.Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Vero BeachÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Sebastian InletÃ‚Â (or simply Ã¢â‚¬Å“the Inlet,Ã¢â‚¬Â as its fans call it) is a haven for the hardcore competitive crowd, and features three distinct peaks.Ã‚Â NearbyÃ‚Â Cocoa BeachÃ‚Â is a mainstay as well:Ã‚Â itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s the site of the famousÃ‚Â Ron Jon surf shopÃ‚Â and home of nine time world champion Kelly Slater. In the other direction, surfers wonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t want to miss the long, reliable and fast waves atÃ‚Â Second Street in the Pompanos.
Jumping from the Atlantic to the Gulf, youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll still find plenty of prime surf beaches, though the breaks are of a different flavor than the so-called Ã¢â‚¬Å“typhoon coastÃ¢â‚¬Â back east.Ã‚Â Since they are less known, the GulfÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s surfing spots have less crowded shorelines.
PensacolaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s various beaches areÃ‚Â sand bottom beach breaks, as are most of the beaches in West Florida, which means theyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re steadier, more reliable and great for novices. TheÃ‚Â Fort Walton/DestinÃ‚Â hub is also recommended, particular near Henderson State Beach State Park. This is a popular spot and great place to take lessons; you can find aÃ‚Â Destin condo rentalÃ‚Â that offer a relaxing environment for both individuals and families alike.
MauiÃ¢â‚¬â„¢sÃ‚Â JawsÃ‚Â (Ã¢â‚¬Å“PeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ahiÃ¢â‚¬Â in Hawaiian) is one of the most treacherous places to surf in the world.Ã‚Â Rumors of waves cresting over 100 feet bring in surfers from across the planet.Ã‚Â Thrillseekers wonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t want to miss Jaws, a location so challenging that few could reach it before the days of tow-in surfing. Intrepid adrenaline junkies should also try out the legendaryÃ‚Â Banzai PipelineÃ‚Â on the North Shore of Oahu.
As breathtaking as Jaws may be, its waves are highly unpredictable, a deal-breaker for visitors. Furthermore, its fame generates such crowds that locals have resorted to blockading entrance roads with abandoned cars. If this sounds too extreme, vacationers should island-hop toÃ‚Â KeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ia on Big Island. Because HawaiiÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s main island has so few ideal surf spots, KeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ei is still a relative secret. With waves formed by a 300-foot underwater reef, KeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ei offers long and more predictable rides.
Rockaway Beach, NY
The mention of New York City can bring a variety of associations to mind, but chances are surfing isnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t one of them.Ã‚Â Even native New Yorkers are more likely to think of QueensÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Rockaway Beach as the title of a Ramones song, not a surfing destination, but Rockaway attracts surfers year round.Ã‚Â Seasoned surfers not afraid of icy water are especially fond of the higher, more difficult waves presented by the Atlantic in winter.
For out of towners set on a full New York surf tour, Long Island is peppered with other prime coastline, notable the easily accessibleÃ‚Â Long Beach.
Whether you are a novice or professional surfer, one of these locations is bound to offer you the time of your life.
Marcela De VivoÃ‚Â is a freelance writer from Southern California whose writing covers everything from marketing and social media, to health and beauty, to technology and manufacturing. In her free time, she loves going to the beach with her family to catch some sun and a wave or two.