Help - Surf in NY/New England

After nearly 6 years of great surf in CA, it looks like a job may be taking me back to Connecticut (Fairfield area). Just by looking at a map I can tell that most of CT is blocked from any hope of a swell by Long Island.

Are there any Swaylockers who live in southern CT? If so, where do you surf? How consistent are the waves? What is the wave quality like? Is there a place to buy blanks and glass boards?

I have read a bit about surf in Rhode Island. How are the waves there? How is the localism? Having surfed many of the purportedly localized spots in So Cal without any major problems, I am not too concerned about it but then again I would like to know ahead of time if I am going to be paddling out in someone’s pissing territory.

I am seriously bumming at the prospect of leaving behind a life of surfing 4+ days a week, having a glass shop down the street, etc. etc. but this job could finally get my family and me out from behind the ol’ 8 ball, so…

Thanks in advance.

Great surf can be had in RI. Rock reefs, shelfs, point breaks, and beach breaks. The swell isn’t as consistent as you’re used to in SoCal, but the water quality is better [RI], as my experiences have been. Get used to leveraging the internet for surf forecasting because the surf is 1.5-2 hours away from the Greenwich area. I’ve surfed the Atlantic from Barbados to Nova Scotia; the west coast from central Baja to Santa Cruz, and Hawaii four times. I’ve only experienced localism in Nova Scotia [wax on my car windows telling me to go home in crude terms] and on the outer banks [NC] in the Rodanthe area once [a rather polite note under my windshield wiper telling me to go home]. Neither case was overt and I’ve since surfed both spots and haven’t experienced anything except friendly folks.

Don’t worry, you’ll see plenty of cars with boards heading to RI from CT on RT 95 North anytime there is a good swell.

Beyond RI, NH has some great breaks and ME has a lot of outstanding potential especially if you have access to a boat. Further south… NY can be very good but pollution can be bad in the Rockaways; go further east toward Montauk [use the Orient Bay ferry from CT to LI]. NJ can get as good a Newport and the outer banks are flat out my favorite surf location if you have access to four-wheel drive.

Get a good set of wetsuits, a thicker board or two, and toll money. You’ll be fine. I’m in PA and surf is 1.5 hours away in NJ [driveway to getting wet]. But it’s a great place to raise a family with reasonably priced housing and good school districts. Plus I have a lot land with a detached garage and have no issues with neighbors getting upset with glassing fumes or power planer noises late at night. Oddly enough, my one neighbor is a surfer and has been surfing for 30 years.

It’s not the end of the world; It’s just Connecticut.

Junkie’s got the skinny. It’s harder to surf on your days off as waves are hour to hour, not day to day. You’ve got to be on it to surf consistently. Most of the storms and low pressures are moving away from the coast unlike our west coast.

At least you’ll have Black Eyed Sally’s. The best Habañero sause on the east coast. “BBQ w/o sauce is like skinny dippin’ w/ yer mother”

[=1] 350 Asylum St

Hartford, CT 06103

Phone: 860.278.7427

Black-eyed Sally’s came to town in 1995 as a tiny BBQ and Blues joint located on Asylum Street in downtown Hartford. Over the next few years Sally’s grew to triple its size in order to accommodate the crowds. Black-eyed Sally’s serves up award winning BBQ and Cajun cooking. Some things we are most proud of are ***Hartford Courant, ***Connecticut Magazine, yearly winner of the Hartford Advocate’s “Best Of” readers poll and even a “very good” from the NY Times food critic. So grab some friends and come on down to taste some of the best cooking this side of the Mississippi.

Over the years Sally’s has built a national reputation for bringing in some of the best recording artists on the blues circuit today. In fact Blues Reviews magazine rated Sally’s as one of the best blues clubs in the USA. We have live entertainment Wednesday thru Saturday nights. Many well known acts have graced our stage over the years. We’ve seen Lucky Peterson, Shemika Copeland and Ronnie Earl to just name a few. On occasion some really big names have dropped in to eat or jam at Sally’s like Clarence Clemons, David Crosby, Graham Nash, the members of the Allman Brothers band, Dave Matthews

Heading 84 West

Take the Downtown Exit (left side exit). Go to 4th light & turn right onto Main Street. Make an immediate left onto Asylum Street. Sally’s is 2½ blocks down on the right-hand side.

[ 2]Heading 84 East

Take the Asylum Street Exit 48A. At end of exit turn right, at the 3rd light turn left onto Pearl Street. At this point you can either make a left into the large pay-to-park lot that spans between Asylum St. & Pearl St. or you can go to next light & make a left onto Ann Street. At next light make a left onto Asylum Street. Sally’s is a ½ block down on the right. [/]

Heading 91 North or South

Take the Capitol Area Exit 29A. Follow exit all the way to the rotary. Make your first right off rotary and go to 2nd light. Turn right onto Trumbull Street. Go to 2nd light & make a left onto Asylum Street. Sally’s is 1½ blocks down on right-hand side.

Where to Park

There are several pay-to-park lots across from, behind or adjacent to the restaurant; otherwise, street parking is available at meters. After 5:00 p.m. and on weekends it’s not necessary to feed the meters.


Everything gunkie said about RI is spot on. It’s not as consistent as CA but the quality is as good.

Get a quiver of wetsuits; a 6/4/3 is a must for the winter, a 4/3, a 3/2 and a spring suit will cover the rest of the year and it’s even trunkable in the summer. I would also suggest a longboard; it’s small a lot, but fun with the right board. MA and NH aren’t too far away when there’s a good swell running and NH in particular has a couple of spots that will shock you with their quality. But you’ll want to avoid Maine; there’s no waves here.

The Narragansett area is ripe with quality surf. Or take the ferry over to LI for beachbreak barrels. For Northern swells you’ll need to explore Mass and above or go to Jersey. Narrragansett will be home break area for you. It’s nice surfing there.

Jim Phillips probably has old tales to tell…

Just thought I’d add my thoughts…since I am a little homesick right now.

I was born and raised in Little Rhody. Started surfing late (college) but had a few great years of learing and getting to know surfing there when I did start. Have since moved to Oahu, so just about the opposite surfwise as you can get. Even with surfing out here, I miss some of my spots back East. My friends still call when the swell is (was) good, and I find myself even bearing the thought of a wetsuit so score some waves when its on back home. You can’t beat the variety of the waves in that area. When there’s some real swell, there are just so many waves and some are just sooo good. If you get good at calling the spots, you’ll find great waves with just a few people there. Then there are some days where you can only surf in like 1 of 3 spots, and the everybody else is there.

Then it goes flat for like a month. Then you’ll have a swell that will last 6 hours. It’s just fickle like that. Nothing like the consistency and power of the Pacific. But there are exceptions to the rule. You’ll find yourself having days when you wouldn’t trade it for anything else. Like I said, I still find myself missing it. Plenty. Especially the crowd factor sometimes, and the skill level of most of the surfers. It’s fun surfing when not too many people actually are going for the set waves. :slight_smile:

As far as the localism goes, you have those idiots that go overboard everywhere, I’m sure there are plenty in CA, so most rational people learn how to deal with them and still have fun in the water. There are some spots that get pretty heavy…in waves and vibes too. But usually when its heavy everyone is stoked so it all works out. Hurricane swells are what you want, minimal wetsuit action, and plenty of sick waves! I miss the pointbreaks. Plenty of beachbreak too if you want it.

Moral of the story, make some friends, find out about those good spots, and oh yeah…make sure to soak your 6/5/4 wetsuit, mitts, and booties in a tub of hot water before you put it on in the winter (gives ya like 20 extra minutes before your whole body goes numb…and get a car with a really good heating system so you can thaw out those fingers before being able to handle the steering wheel home on your way back to CT. Happy surfing. :slight_smile:



Thanks to everyone who responded (and anyone else please feel free to add more comments). This has been really helpful - the whole thought of packing it up to leave CA for CT initially sent my body into something akin to anaphylactic shock as my mind recoiled in horror at the prospects. I am starting to come around a little after reading the comments, researching the area on the web and considering the benefits for my family. Thanks again.

No worries, mate, the anaphylactic shock only gets you when you paddle out for your first sub-forty degree session!

And by the way, don’t forget, there are NO waves in Maine!

I hear you. Reminds me of a T-shirt I saw in El Porto parking lot: “Surfing Sux. Don’t try it.”

Repeat after me …

“Go south to New Jersey, go east to Long Island, do NOT go north to Rhode Island, NO surf in Rhode Island, No surf in Rhode Island.”

Now, on the count of three you’ll awake with a sudden urge to surf nothing but beachbreak … SNAP!!!

Hey, T-Roy,

Listen to Gunkie, he knows it well and I hear you should go to Maine. Sorry Lobster! HA,HA! The East Coast will win you over, though it’s colder it can be quite nice. You will have to get used to surfing with 2-14 guys in the winter and 20-60 in summer depending were you go. RI rocks, Montauk is my favorite and rockaway has been my Home away from home. Rock gets dirty like Gunkie says but the Dirty ole Rockapulco has many fine memories for me. I am now NJ bound however and look forward to hitting the Carolina’s this Hurricane season. Good luck with your job and you won’t be hurtin for surf shortly. Surf on!

Lived in R.I. for a couple years (95-97)

Surfed Narragansett area a lot… good break, super fun.

Caught Ruggles( Newport) good a few times,

Once it was epic and some of the bigger east coast surf I’ve seen. That point holds a large swell.

I mostly surfed 1st (good longboard spot) or 2nd beach there just because of ease of access before and after work!

Super Fun waves up that way but I’m glad to be back in water temps I can feel my hands and feet when I get out of the water!

Don’t know how you guys do it all year up that way!