The east coast of the U.S. has a rich surf culture all it’s own (read about Whomporama). From New York to Florida, there’s a bodysurfing beach to get pitted at!
Cape Hatteras is situated along the coast of North Carolina and is the epicenter of East Coast surfing and bodysurfing. The same characteristics that make Cape Hatteras’ surf gnarly also give it the nickname, “Graveyard of the Atlantic”. Its plethora of storms and strong currents has sent dozens of ships to the bottom of the sea. A swell coming in from just about any direction provides solid surf at Hatteras, so this should be your first stop for an awesome East Coast shred.
This Florida beach located in the Ponce de Leon Inlet is a surfer favorite due to its consistency. The jetty that protects the north end of the beach allows for sandbars to form, including an outer bar called Shark Shallows. You’ll find solid conditions for surfing and bodysurfing at Shark Shallows that are generally bigger than the surrounding sandbars. The waves are best during high tide. Be careful when you’re out there, though! You’ll be sharing the water with crowds, boats and maybe even the occasional man-o-war jellyfish!
Ditch Plains Terrace, all the way up in Montauk, New York is known to the locals as “The End”. This is a great getaway beach for the surfers and bodysurfers who want to escape from the more well known, but mediocre New York beaches. Swells from the east, south and west make for good waves here. They also make Montauk one of the most consistent breaks to surf in the area. Be prepared for anything, though. These waves can go from pounding to flat in a matter weeks, days or even hours. And bring a thick wetsuit! The water gets chilly here.
The seaside town on the Eastern seaboard is one of the most popular breaks for surfers and bodysurfers. If you want to check out this beach, you’ll have to purchase a “beach badge” before you get in the water. There are both daily and seasonal badges available. While the summer months are usually overrun with tourists, the fall is the best time to visit for surfing and bodysurfing. The crowds start to thin out due to the prevailing, nippy autumn air so you can enjoy the warm water temperatures in peace. You’re more than welcome to try shredding during the wintertime, but be forewarned: You’ll need a full suit, gloves, a hood and booties to stay out there and not freeze.
According to Surfer Magazine, Kill Devil Hills is the sixth best surf town in the United States. The waves here are much bigger and stronger than most of the East Coast, and it’s usually going off when just about every other surrounding beach is flat. Winds from the northeast can bring in a swell, and just as easily take it away. You’ll get to experience the famous “southern charm” if you decide to shred here. Sweet tea, home cooking and warm hospitality await you! This fragile beach town is threatened by the constant possibility of a strong hurricane. Just one big one could knock this beach off the map!