Open up any surfing magazine with a photo spread of the East Coast during a big swell event, and most likely you’ll be looking at perfect peeling beach break peaks in New Jersey.
Along the 130 miles of coastline, New Jersey surf spots all basically offer the same setup; a perfect, barreling beach break. What creates the perfect New Jersey surf? Each coastal town has a series of small jetties that extend into the ocean. These jetties help control beach erosion from large storms and swells during hurricane and winter season. These jetties also help to maintain the legendary New Jersey sandbars from season to season.
Typically, New Jersey surf spots break best on a long-period south to southeast swell. Most southeast groundswell is produced during hurricane season or during winter when low-pressure systems move off the eastern seaboard and into the Mid-Atlantic. This is a great time of year to be in New Jersey – the water is still relatively warm and the waves are pumping.
New Jersey surf spots see their fair share of crowds during summer, but it is a great surf destination during fall. The summer vacation crowds have all gone home, the kids are back in school, and that leaves you with uncrowded weekday surf. Weekends are always crowded with locals, weekend warriors and road-trippers.
As summer fades away, so do the warm air and water temps. During summer, most New Jersey surfers get away with wearing a neoprene top with baggies or a spring suit. In the fall, a 3/2 with booties is needed; the air gets crisp and the water temp starts to drop. As winter sets in, surfers are either making plans to escape to Puerto Rico, or reaching for their 5mm wetsuits with hood, booties and gloves. In winter, water temps hover between 32 and 45 degrees, and it’s not uncommon to be surfing while snow flurries are falling.
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New Jersey Surf Breaks
Below is a list of the major New Jersey surf spots. There are many more, but we cover the major areas.