During the summertime, the Hamptons are best known for the glitz and the glamour, the scenery both around town and at the beach. It's also as good a surfing spot as you'll find on the East Coast, whether it's mid-August or, for the fanatics, right smack in the middle of wintertime. Although you'll see novices scattered up and down the south shore, the experts can pinpoint the locales where the breaks are just right, where the locals have been surfing for years. NextStop takes a tour of the area and gives you a rundown of where the real waves can be found.
Ditch Plains, Montauk
Longtime East End surfer (and NextStop contributor) Gary Joyce calls it Long Island's version of Hawaii, and it's considered one of the east coast's premier surfing spots along with Cape Hatteras, N.C. Elite surfers in the area and from all over come out to Ditch. What makes it so special? Unlike most other south shore beaches with sand bottoms, Ditch's rock bottom create these nice, long peeling waves. It gets crowded fast during peak season, and it's no place for beginners – unless they want to see the best put on a show.
Shinnecock Inlet, Southampton
All along Dune Road, there are prime surfing opportunities, although it depends on where nor-easters have moved the sand bars. The Inlet is reliable, says Joyce, who's surfed the west side for 40 years. He cites a place called "The Bowl," right by the jetties, where the breaks are ordinarily quite sizable (see pictures from the swell caused by 2009's Hurricane Bill). If you don't want to venture too far east, the Inlet's a good place to take a dip.
Camp Hero, Montauk
In the surfing trade, it's referred to as "Radar's," according to longtime East End surfer Nathan Rohrmeier, referencing the obsolete radar tower installed during the 1950s to detect potential Soviet aircraft that now simply overlooks one of Long Island's top surf spots. You have to scale down a cliff to get there, but you'll be rewarded for your effort with less crowded waters and thus many more waves to yourself – a surfer's dream, particularly when the Montauk surf scene's really hopping.
Dune Road, Westhampton Beach
In the same vein as Radar's, the seclusion and serious breaks make it worth the trek. Shooting straight out from the - ahem - private beach, there's a set of jetties that break really well and create some nice rides. In the summer "you either have to know somebody or find someplace to park," but for the adventurous sort, the coast is clear in the winter.
Turtle Cove, Montauk
As the Island juts out even farther into the Atlantic Ocean, surfers salivate at the sight of these swells, particularly before or after a storm. Turtle Cove, located south and west of the Montauk Point Lighthouse, is another classic surf spot out east. The crowds swarm there during the summer as the waves can rival Ditch's on the right day. Be wary of offshore fishermen and surfcasters – they know a good spot when they see one, too, and fish aren't the only things they'll hook.
Photo: Flickr | Chris Preen
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