Four great places to learn to surf in New England. Yes, New England.
While surfing in New England is a year-round sport (don’t forget the hooded wetsuit in the winter!), summer is the best time to learn, with generally smaller waves and warmer ocean. warm. With the help of experienced instructors, you may soon experience what Drought describes as an “incredible feeling that keeps you coming back for more.”
Surf instructors scattered along the New England coast usually take beginners to the most manageable beaches – where the waves are gentle and the sand forgiving – and match you with the appropriate size board (the larger and soft, the better for beginners). They teach the basics, from helping you find your position to showing you how to “appear” on the board.
Instructors can also teach you about surf etiquette – the culture and customs that all surfers need to know while out on the water. Learning these rules is like taking the time to learn basic Spanish and some customs before heading to Pamplona: you don’t want to be that person who hurts someone at the bullfight.
We spotted three New England surf schools that offer beginner lessons.
1. Rhody Surf, Newport, Rhode Island
Founded by Bobby Drought in 2011, Rhody Surf (rhodysurf.com, 401-236-4846) offers kids’ surf camps as well as surf and stand-up paddleboard lessons from Memorial Day through Labor Day. The staff encourages private, individual lessons as the best way to learn.
Depending on the drought, Easton’s Beach in Newport — or First Beach, as the locals call it — is a prime place to learn due to its slow, rolling waves. Beginners start with a “dry lesson” – covering paddling, pop-up and surf etiquette – before setting foot in the ocean.
“Knowing how to clean up properly and avoid falling – cutting surfers on the waves – most novices can stay safe and have fun,” says Drought.
2. Cape Ann SUP+Surf, Essex
Cape Ann SUP+Surf instructors (capeannsup.com, 978-233-1787) teach most of their surf lessons at Long Beach and Good Harbor Beach in Gloucester. “Both are beach breaks, meaning a nice sandy bottom and multiple breaks on the beach,” says co-owner and instructor Anneliese Brosch, referring to the waves that form on sandy – and softer – seabeds.
SUP + Surf offers private, semi-private and group surf lessons in addition to “surf parties” for women, as well as those for children. Brosch’s best advice for beginners: be patient. “Surfing is a challenge,” she says. “The best surfers in the water make it look extremely easy. It will take time.
3. Cinnamon Rainbows Surf Company, Hampton, New Hampshire
New Hampshire’s seacoast is a great place for beginners, according to Dave Cropper, owner of Cinnamon Rainbows Surf Co. (cinnamonrainbows.com, 603-929-7467). “Learning on sand-bottomed beaches with small waves is where you want to start,” he says, adding that Jenness State Beach in Rye and North Beach in Hampton offer both if the conditions are right.
The shop, which has been in business for almost 40 years, offers rentals, private and group lessons, and surf camps, including women’s surf camps. Once you get the basics down, Cropper says, you’ll find that New England has “a great surfing community, and it’s a great place to surf year-round.”
4. Surf Camp Maine, Scarborough, Maine
Dustin Turin, owner of Surf Camp Maine (surfcampme.com, 207-370-6706), has traveled the world for the waves – and says Scarborough Beach in Maine is a great place to learn. “One of the most serene sandy beaches in Maine,” he says. “The waves are usually small and gentle, which is exactly what beginners need,” adds Turin, whose father founded the school.
Surf Camp offers public and private group lessons, as well as summer surf camps for adults and children. Turin advises: “All who enter the water must have some appreciation for Mother Nature and the fact that she is much bigger and more powerful than us.”
Lauren Daley is a freelance writer. Follow her on Twitter @laurendaley1. Send your comments to [email protected]