New Jersey may not be the first place that comes to mind when thinking about epic surfing destinations in the United States. However, the Garden State boasts some excellent surfing opportunities along its 130 miles of coastline. From beginner-friendly beach breaks to thrilling reef breaks, New Jersey has something to offer surfers of all abilities. Read on for our guide to surfing in New Jersey.

When to Surf in New Jersey

One of the best things about surfing in New Jersey is that waves can be found year-round if you don’t mind wearing a wetsuit in the colder months. However, certain times of the year offer optimal conditions.

Fall

Fall is considered the prime surfing season in New Jersey thanks to hurricane season bringing increased storm activity. Prevailing winds shift direction in the fall, allowing large swells from the tropics to make their way up the coast. Bigger waves and offshore winds create epic surfing conditions. With kids back in school, surf spots also become less crowded.

Winter

While the water is frigid in winter, some of the largest swells pound the New Jersey coast after major nor’easters. Braving the cold allows surfers to experience overhead or larger waves at spots like Manasquan Inlet and Long Branch. Dedicated winter surfers earn their waves.

Spring

As temperatures start warming up in spring, the ocean remains chilly but surfable in a good wetsuit. Swells become more inconsistent yet fun waves can still be found before the summer crowds arrive. Beach breaks start turning on earlier in spring.

Summer

Surfing in New Jersey doesn’t stop for summer. Beach breaks provide smaller but rideable waves, especially at low tide. The best summer surf comes from tropical storms sending swell up the coast. Early morning and evenings tend to have better tide and wind conditions.

Surfing Etiquette in New Jersey

Compared to other East Coast surfing destinations, New Jersey is not notorious for aggressive localism. However, it’s still essential to follow proper etiquette and respect the lineup. Here are some tips for surfing in New Jersey:

  • Don’t “snake” waves – wait your turn for waves
  • Avoid aggressive behavior towards other surfers
  • If a wave is too big/fast for your ability, let it go by
  • Be cautious of other surfers when paddling out and riding waves
  • Give priority to locals who live near the break
  • Pick up any trash you packed in or see in the water

By being patient and courteous, surfers of all levels can enjoy riding waves together and preserve the stoke.

Surfing Culture in New Jersey

Beyond blessed with quality waves, New Jersey also boasts a thriving surf culture. Many competitive surf contests are held in New Jersey each year, including the Easterns Surfing Championships and the Surf and Rescue Challenge. Iconic surf shops like Brighton Beach Surf Shop and Surf Unlimited offer gear, apparel and local knowledge.

Passionate local surfers have also formed organizations like Clean Ocean Action that mobilize volunteers for beach cleanups and environmental advocacy. Nonprofits like Waves of Support use surfing to empower children with special needs. Through clubs, contests, shops and community groups, surfing continues to shape life along the Jersey Shore.

Where to Surf in New Jersey

The top five spots for surfing in New Jersey are:

Manasquan Inlet

Regarded as one of New Jersey’s premier surfing spots, Manasquan Inlet appeals to intermediate and advanced surfers. Located at the north end of the Jersey Shore, the inlet can hold wave faces up to double overhead during strong winter swells. With its reputation for quality waves, Manasquan Inlet attracts many surfers and can get crowded, especially on peak days. Still, the thrill of riding walls of water at this surfing hotspot makes it a must-visit.

Bradley Beach

Bradley Beach offers one of the most consistent beach breaks for surfing in New Jersey. The waves typically range from waist to shoulder high, sometimes overhead on an excellent day. The shape of the sandy bottom at Bradley Beach makes for nice peeling lefts and rights. Less exposed than Manasquan Inlet, Bradley Beach does not get as big but provides dependably fun surfing. It’s an ideal spot for surfers of all levels.

Asbury Park

Asbury Park is back as one of New Jersey’s trendiest beach towns. But it also delivers good surfing in New Jersey. The northern end of the beach by 8th Avenue works well for summer surfing. When winter swells kick up, surfers flock to the beach breaks up and down Ocean Avenue. With less crowd than other famous Jersey surf spots, Asbury Park is a mellow place to score uncrowded waves in the off-season.

Long Branch

Come winter, Long Branch turns into a surfing hotspot thanks to the intense storms churning up the Atlantic. Top spots include The Pipe at South Bath Avenue and The Pit at the north end where Brighton Avenue runs into Ocean Avenue. On peak days, the surf can get big and gnarly for New Jersey. Even on smaller days, the breaks along the Long Branch shoreline offer fun beach surfing.

Long Beach Island

Stretching 18 miles along a barrier island, Long Beach Island is a surfing paradise. Due to its orientation, the island picks up more of the southern swells and has one of the largest swell windows in New Jersey. Waves in the two to six foot range break all along Long Beach Island at various beach access points. With smaller crowds than other Jersey surf spots, Long Beach Island has waves for surfers of all abilities to enjoy.

Ready to Ride the Jersey Waves

You may not think of New Jersey for world-class surfing, but the Garden State’s beaches foster a vibrant surfing scene. From quiet mornings paddling out in Spring Lake to charging overhead barrels at Manasquan Inlet, New Jersey offers high-quality surf. Just be sure to check tide, wind and swell forecasts – and pack your thickest wetsuit in winter!



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