Last weekend I found myself on the subway sitting across from two men in their swimsuits, wrapped in towels, gingerly holding their surfboards as to not knock any unsuspecting bystanders in the head. Obviously wiped from a day out in the the waves that a very anti-climatic New York version of hurricane Joaquin brought to the south shore of Long Island, I remembered: just because summer is over, doesn’t mean the swells have stopped.
In fact, this is probably the best time of year for surfers, when all the tourists have left their favorite local spots and college surfers have traded their long boards for long days in the library making the line-up that much smaller. In fact, New York water temperatures in September and October are, on average, warmer than they are in June.
I spent my childhood summers in Ditch Plains, NY riding as a passenger on my aunt’s longboard – I’ve always had a love for the ocean. And, after a lifetime of body-boarding and corn-holing at the beach, I’ve recently invested in a surf board of my own. And now that summer has come to a close, and weekends spent at the Surf Lodge have officially died down, I’m contemplating joining the big boys and catching some fall waves.
While places like Long Beach and the Rockaways are easily accessible from the Big, bad Apple, the East End of Long Island is where it’s at. So hop on the LIRR and hit these destinations before the icy waters move in and your surfboard begins its hibernation in your storage space.
Southwest of the Montauk Point lighthouse is this haven of big waves which rivals Montauk’s other surf spot, Ditch Plains. With crowds as big as waves during the summer months, Turtle Cove is ideal during post-season. But beware! Not only does this wave paradise attract surfers, but fishers, who won’t be timid to cast a line where they see fit just because there are human bodies in the water.
If exclusivity on the sands and in the waves is what you desire, look no further. Known better as “Radars” to the locals, this spot requires surfers to first scale down a small cliff to reach the sands of this Montauk beach. Named after an old radar tower that was installed decades ago to detect potential Soviet aircrafts overhead, it now serves as a place marker for this spot ideal for solitary surfers.
Dune Road in Southhampton provide access to a number of prime surf spots, but none greater than The Bowl in Shinnecock Inlet. With years of nor-easters and hurricanes shaping sandbars as they see fit, surf spots along the inlet are old reliables. Located right by the jetties, The Bowl offers some pretty giant waves, and doesn’t require you to go to “The End” of Long Island.