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A New Yorker's Guide to Surfing

NEW YORK CITY — Being a surfer and a New Yorker are not mutually exclusive.

By subway, railroad, bus or private car, the beaches that surround New York City are accessible on any budget. With a handful of surf stores in beachside locations offering board rentals and surf lessons, learning to surf or simply sharpening your skills are both possible for any city dweller.

For a beginner, bigger is better when it comes to your board. Ideally those who are starting out should rent a longboard known as a "soft top" that uses a cushioned covering to lessen any injuries to both the surfer and others in the water. Generally the more experience a surfer has, the shorter a board will become. (See below for venues to rent boards at each destination.)

Spending a few extra minutes looking at a surf report will save disappointment before you trek out to the beach of your choice.

In the heart of Manhattan, a pioneer in New York City’s budding surf culture, Saturdays Surf on Crosby Street, offers a report for Rockaway, Long Beach and Montauk on its website. Many surf stores on Long Island keep regular surf reports on their websites or even offer a dial-in "surfline."

To take your surf report to the next level, reading through the National Data Buoy Center's website will give you the most accurate and up-to-date swell information. The center collects information from the various buoy's located at beaches around the country.

Before heading from Williamsburg to Rockaway for a 5 a.m. surf, Adam Johnson looks up buoy number 44065 located in the middle of New York harbor.

"A good buoy reading is a swell height of 3 feet plus," said Johnson, who is also a partner in Mexicue eatery on the Lower East Side. A gap of nine seconds or more between each wave or swell is also a positive.

"The next thing is the wind waves," said Johnson, referring to the small waves caused by wind, which can create choppy and unrideable waves. "The wind waves need to be small as possible."

Check out other local buoys that line up with your surfing destination.

If you want to stop surfing the web and start surfing the waves, DNAinfo.com New York has a guide for where to go, where to hire a board and your all-important surf report.

New York City Beaches

Rockaway Beach between 67th and 69th streets and 87th and 92nd streets are the only areas where surfing is allowed within city limits. This leaves beaches such as Brighton Beach and Coney Island off-limits to boardriders, according to the city's Parks Department website.

Travel to Rockaway: Subway.

For both Rockaway destinations use the Mott Ave-Far Rockaway A train. Do not use the Lefferts Blvd-bound A train.

For the surf spot between 67th and 69th streets, take the A train to the 67th Street Station.

For the 87th and 92nd streets break, catch the Mott Ave-Far Rockaway-bound A train to Broad Channel Station, where you transfer to the S train for numerous beachside stops.

Travel Time: 1 hour 20 minutes from Midtown.

Fare $2.25

Surf Report: Saturdays Surf has a Rockaway report on its website.

Surf Lessons and Board Hire at Rockaway: Boarders Surf Shop.

Address: 192 Beach 92nd St.

Contact: 718-318-7997

Board hire: $50 per day, which includes a complimentary wetsuit hire to keep you warm.

Lessons: Boarders Surf Shop offers private lessons for $175 for two hours on the beach at 69th Street. If you can gather a group the prices go down. The store is also offering surf camps for adults and kids that enable new surfers to recieve lessons over consecutive days. Rentals and lessons also include access to the shops facilities, including lockers, hot showers and heated change rooms.

Long Beach

Long Beach is farther than Rockaway and also charges a beach admission, but does offer more locations where surfing is permitted. Beach rules allow surfing seven days a week between Lincoln Boulevard and Monroe Boulevard, as well at Maple Boulevard and Pacific Boulevard. Other areas where surfing is allowed change throughout the week and are listed on the City of Long Beach website.

Travel: Long Island Rail Road. Take the E train to Jamaica, then Long Island Rail Road to Long Beach Station.

Cost: The MTA offers Long Beach packages daily during the summer that includes travel and beach admission for $21. Beach admission alone is $12 for an adult. 

Travel Time: 1 hour 10 minutes.

Surf Report: Saturdays Surf provides a surf report for Lincoln Beach, which is a break on Long Beach.

Long beach Surf Shop's website provides a surf cam and an occasionally updated surf report,

New York residents can get surf lessons and rent surf boards at numerous locations on Long Island.
New York residents can get surf lessons and rent surf boards at numerous locations on Long Island.
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Facebook/New York Surf School

Surfboard Rentals and Lessons: Skudin Surf

Address: Skudin Surf conducts it lessons and rentals from Long Beach Blvd. at Long Beach.

Contact: 516-318-3993

Lessons:  Starting from $65 for a 90-minute group lesson, where you will will learn from professional big wave surfers Cliff and Will Skudin.

Board Rentals: From $40 per day.

Fire Island

With more than a two-hour travel time from Manhattan, Fire Island can offer an escape from the crowds. There are numerous locations on Fire Island where you can go surfing and different ferry services that will take you there.

Travel Time: About 2 hours 30 minutes.

Travel: Take the Long Island Rail Road to Sayville Station. From there a shuttle service will take you the five minutes to Sayville Ferry, which will get you to Fire Island.

Cost: Total cost is $26.25 one way. L.I.R.R.: $14 Shuttle Bus: $5 Ferry: $7.25

Surf Report: Rick’s Action Sports offers a recorded surf report. Phone 631-581-2299. 

Board Rental and Surf Lessons: Bunger Surf Store in Sayville

Address: 247a West Main St. Sayville

Contact: 631-244-7070

Rental: Surfboards are $35 per day. Let the store know what ferry time you intend to catch and they will bring the boards down to the dock before you head out to Fire Island.

Lessons: $85 per person in a group lesson with board rental included.


Travel: Long Island Rail Road will leave you a short taxi ride to the beach.

Travel Time: About 2 hours and 40 minutes

Cost: Long Island Rail Road $17.75 one way.

Travel: Jitney coach from numerous locations around the city that will leave you a short taxi ride from the beach

Cost: $30 one way

Travel Time: About 2 hours and 30 minutes.

Surf Report: Flying Point Surf School offers recent information on its website from Surfline, a national surf report website.

Surf Lessons and Board Rental: Flying Point Surf School

Location: Gin Beach

Contact 516-885-6607

Board Rental: You can grab a board from Flying Point for $40 a day. Give them a call and they can either drop it off at your Southampton location or you can come to their location somewhere along Gin Beach, which changes daily.

Surf Lessons: Flying Point offers private surf lessons, one instructor per student, for $135 for 90 minutes. There are also surf camps run throughout the summer.


This small surfing village at the end of Long Island has exploded as the next hot place for city hipsters to weekend. A host of new bars and restaurants, such as the Crow's Nest and Surf Lodge, have created a scene with a Williamsburg feel, but an authentic surfing culture still remains.

Travel: take Long Island Rail Road out to Jamaica Station in Queens. From there transfer to the Montauk-bound LIRR train

Travel Time: 3 hours and 40 minutes

Cost $18.25

Travel: Jitney coach leaves from numerous locations around the city

Cost: $30 one way

Travel Time: About 3 hours

Surf Lessons and Board Rental: Air and Speed Board Shop

795 Montauk Highway, Montauk

Contact: 631-668-0356

Surfboard Rental: $40 per day, with wetsuits another $20.

Surf Lessons: $100 per hour for one person or $180 per hour for two people. Lessons are held at Ditch Plains.