Surfing East Coast
April 26, 2012 6:17 PM   Subscribe

Surfing in New Hampshire, any tips?

Been to the surf shop, researched online, now I want to hear from people who surf in the NE: wetsuits, cheap surfboards, tips...anyone can chip in.
My surfing experience is limited to a few times in Florida long time ago.
posted by spacefire to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (9 answers total)
Well, you're in for a shock if your only surfing experience is in Florida. Be prepared to wear a full suit, boots, gloves and a hood most of the year. Vaseline on any exposed skin in winter. NH also has virtually no coast (although some decent surf). Be ready to explore Mass and RI. You can always ride a cheap used board, but I wouldn't skimp on wetsuits, etc.
posted by blaneyphoto at 6:29 PM on April 26, 2012

Hampton Beach?
posted by spacefire at 6:32 PM on April 26, 2012

Confirming that I always see people surfing on Hampton Beach - even in November.
posted by ChuraChura at 6:58 PM on April 26, 2012

Cinnamon Rainbows is the shop to go to for help with all those things. And I concur with who said you will be cold! Get a really good wet suit--that's the most important thing.
posted by araisingirl at 7:21 PM on April 26, 2012 [1 favorite]

Don't overlook Southern Maine, which is basically sort of part of the NH Seacoast scene. York Beach, ME, is only about 15-20 minutes from the NH border and a really nice place to hang out. NH surfers consider it theirs, too - there aren't that many more breaks north of there so it meshes with the NH seacoast into one scene. There are often winter surfers off York Beach. It's smaller in summer, but there are always surfers, and in summer there are a lot of meetups, invitationals, BBQ fundraisers and competitions. Liquid Dreams is the local surf shop there, a good place for info.

Hampton Beach is popular, especially "The Wall" which refers to the concrete seawall in Nort Hampton just north of the honky-tonk.

Cinnamon Rainbows is the Hampton-area surf shop and a call to them would probably yield a lot more information.

There are some other good breaks off Rye, NH. Summer Sessions is the shop there.
posted by Miko at 7:25 PM on April 26, 2012

I just moved to Hampton this week, and can confirm that The Wall and north into Rye have been teeming with surfers lately. We've had some windy days, so the waves were higher than usual - gnarly, as NH goes.
posted by schoolgirl report at 7:38 PM on April 26, 2012

I know several people who've taken classes at Summer Sessions and like them a lot.
posted by mskyle at 6:33 AM on April 27, 2012

Confirming Hampton- my brother's been surfing there for years. Dude surfs in the a.m. and skis in the p.m. ...NICE!
posted by henry scobie at 7:29 AM on April 27, 2012

Grew up surfing there and miss it like crazy.

North Hampton beach or 'The Wall' as it's called. Once the meters go in and the lifeguards show up then surfing is limited between I think 7th and 10th street (it should be posted). Summer surf is infrequent with the occasional wind swell or very occasional ground swell from the south. Can be great or can be awful depending on the condition of the sandbars. High tide it usually just closes out onshore unless it has some size. It's a good spot for learning or re-learning just stay away from the main peak and surf where most of the beginners are for starters.

Also for more of an easier wave suited to longboards and beginners check Jenness in Rye.

Water temps from NH up will still be in the 40's and creep into the 50's by June. Then top out at maybe mid to high 60's come August/September. So at least a 4/3 wetsuit right now with boots and gloves. Maybe a winter suit. Also no one puts Vaseline on their faces. Thats just silly and messy and would probably get all over your board. New winter wetsuits make winter sessions longer. But it's cold. New Hampshire you want a 6/5/4 full suit with a hood of course. Ear plugs are recommended to avoid surfers ear. Ice cream headaches so bad they make you nauseous.

Starting in November temps drop fast and bottom out on cold days at 28F (salt water freezes at a lower temp).

Noreasters make for some good surf in the winter. Blow in with hard E/NE winds for a day or two making messy near shore swells and usually dumping snow. The next day the wind is guaranteed to be offshore from the W. Usually blows hard meaning the wind chill can be tough but the surf will be good. There are also spots to surf that take the NE winds or are protected from them during the storm (check a map). Surfing with snow falling is truly sublime.

To find other spots just drive up 1A during a good swell. The coastline is short but NH has a lot of good reefs and point breaks. You will see the cars on the side of the road and the surfers bobbing in the water. Some of these breaks only take a few folks so try not to add to the crowds if it looks full. There is also a bit of a pseudo locals only vibe up there, but surfing is so popluar now that it really doesnt matter. I live further south now but can tell you last time I went up there to surf I was amazed at how much more crowded it was. Literally 10 times more surfers in many spots.

Hope that helps let me know if you have any other questions.
posted by WickedPissah at 3:31 PM on April 27, 2012

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