People think its crazy! But its always summer in your wetsuit.Surfing in all weather conditions is only possible with a great wetsuit. A great wetsuit will cost more than a cheap one. However, a high end wetsuit is far more comfortable! Better stretch! Softer material! Easier to get on and off. And the best part is that the seams don’t leak.
Yup. And we already know, this isn’t Hawaii. But an educated surfer or weather guy knows that wind is what makes waves. Fetch is needed to create swell. (Fetch is the distance wind blows across water) Even the great lake produce fun surf. Short lived? Yes. And generally speaking so are east cost waves. However, if you know when to look, the chances are good that you can surf some fun waves. If you just turn up to the beach on a hot summer day, you won’t see a ripple. Some people may visit a beach once a year and score waves every time. Thats NOT the beach. That is a coincidence. OCean storms generally produce the best waves, but powerful Nor-asters do the trick as well. Why is the pacific so good? Because its huge. Hawaii sits in the middle and can get swell from all angles. Long period swells that travel fro far away storms. Some times thousands of miles. The allows for the swell to get organized into sets. The east coast can only receive NE E S SE swell Sounds like a lot. But if your in Rhode Island you only get S and some SE. North of Cape Cod only gets swell from the NE and the E directions. Wind and tide will play a huge factor at your favorite spot. All swells are effected by local conditions. Ideal conditions are a long period swell with local off shore wind. Now there is board selection. You can’t play a full round of golf with just one club. Surfing is similar. Small mushy waves are best ridden on a long board or a fishy style (wide,thick) short board. Waves with shape and power can be ridden with performance boards. These performance boards generate speed and turn on a dime. Most people learn on longer boards until the y figure it out. Your local shop should be able to help you out!
For our immediate surf area, the best buoy for swell read ins is the block island buoy. It will show wave height and swell height. It will also show duration or distance between swell. This is calculated by the buoy giving an average of its up and down movements over a 20 minute period. The longer the interval (seconds) the further the waves traveled and the better chance they have to become organized as swell. A reading of 6′ @ 6 seconds is just chop. Not pleasant in a small boat. But 2 ‘ at 14 seconds may be nearly head high at the beach and quite fine in a boat. When a swell hits a beach, it nearly doubles in size. Of course with long period swells (lets say 10 seconds or greater) Some variation of offshore wind would be ideal. That way the swell can arrive without “chop” on it. Creating a smooth wave face for surfers. Under water contour will also effect the shape and quality of a swell. A deep to shallow spot such as an outer reef or rock outcropping will create a possible fast breaking, steep, and hollow wave. Some times sand bars near deep water will do this also. Point breaks where a piece of land jets out into the deep usually create a ruler edge peeling wave that is easier to manage and with a channel or deep paddle zone near by.