New England’s Peak Surfing Season Has Arrived

August 29, 2016
Hurricane season = surf season on the East Coast. Graphic: National Hurricane Center
Hurricane season = surf season on the East Coast. Graphic: National Hurricane Center


Hurricane Gaston is churning in the central Atlantic; Tropical Depression Eight is sitting just offshore the Eastern Seaboard; and the waves are about to start rolling in.

If you’re headed to the beach for one last summer hurrah, now is a great time to enjoy the scenic thrill of crashing surf, as decent-sized waves should be breaking at many locations for most of the coming week. If you’re a New England wave rider, it’s also a moment to celebrate: This week marks the beginning of the Northeast’s peak surfing season.

It’s the time of year when the water is warmest, with current ocean temps climbing into the mid- to upper 60s from Cape Cod north to Maine and into the low to mid-70s in southern New England. Air temps are still summery, as well, making it possible in many locations to hit the water sans wetsuit for extended sessions.

It’s also one of the most active periods of the annual hurricane season, generating the large storms that create the waves that slap the shores of the East Coast. To further add to the appeal, coastal crowds begin to markedly diminish after the coming Labor Day weekend.

Photo: Jake Casey

For more on the current wave and ocean conditions at my home breaks in Massachusetts, I usually check the following resources:

On a related note (and as I fantasize about my next wetsuit purchase), I wanted to flag the new line of wetsuits from Patagonia, which are made almost entirely from a natural rubber material instead of neoprene. I’m intrigued.

Enjoy the surf!


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Matt Heid

Equipped blogger Matt Heid is AMC's gear guru: He loves gear and he loves using it in the field. While researching several guidebooks, including AMC's Best Backpacking in New England, he has hiked thousands of miles across New England, California, and Alaska, among other wilderness destinations. He also cycles, climbs, and surfs.