When you think of Alabama, surfing usually is not the first thing that comes to mind. Instead, we tend to think of football, southern hospitality, and peanuts. Yet, Alabama has some beautiful gulf coast beaches. However, is it possible to surf in Alabama, or are the beaches just for swimming?
Alabama is not an ideal surfing spot, as the waves tend to be flat for most of the year. Therefore, the conditions need to be correct to make surfing possible in Alabama. When there is surf, though, many people from Alabama and Florida crowd the beaches to get in on what little surf action they can get.
Although surfing is not an extremely popular sport in Alabama, you will always have people who make the most of each and every surfing opportunity. What are the conditions that allow for surfing in Alabama? Is there a specific spot where you can surf in Alabama? Are there any dangers to look out for when surfing in Alabama? We had the same questions and discovered the answers in the text below.
What Conditions Make Surfing Possible In Alabama?
First, you should remember that Alabama is not an ideal surfing location. The conditions we will discuss do not happen all too frequently, and when they do, the results are varied and might not be what you expect.
The best waves for surfing form when offshore winds are coming from the north or northwest and a swell angle from the southeast. These conditions mainly occur in winter or, more specifically, in the month of April. Fortunately, these winds make surfing possible regardless of the tide. So, you should aim to get as much surfing done while the waves are there.
Winter is the best time to go surfing in Alabama because the tropical storms, or hurricanes, produce enough wind blowing from the northeast to create surfable waves. At this time, all the surfers in the area will race to get some surfing done. As a result, beaches can become crowded, and surfers might compete to get the waves.
During the rest of the year, the waves are considered too small by experienced surfers. However, for beginners, there will be plenty of surfable waves.
Apart from having suitable winds and swells forming in the right direction, other factors also influence whether you can surf in Alabama. There are certain dangers in the waters around the Alabama coast. You must be aware of these before entering the water to start surfing.
Possible Dangers When Surfing In Alabama
Competition to get the wave is not the only danger in the Alabama waters during surf season. However, it can become potentially dangerous if surfers don’t maintain proper surf etiquette:
- Don’t drop in on someone else’s wave. Not only could both of you get hurt, but it is an extremely disrespectful thing to do.
- Stay clear of other surfers and give the surfer closest to the wave the right of way.
- Keep a tight hold on your surfboard. Most people don’t get injured when surfers collide with each other, but when surfboards go flying out of someone’s hands.
- Be sure to paddle deep enough to be out of the way of other surfers and that you don’t surf over swimmers.
Maintaining proper surf etiquette is especially important when the water is crowded. Unfortunately, this tends to happen often when there are surfable waves in Alabama.
Another danger to look out for is rip currents. Unfortunately, the same wind that provides the waves for surfing can also cause rip currents to form. Rip currents are perilous as they can pull you into the sea or even under the water. So be vigilant of where you are floating when you surf.
Pollution is another potential problem on the coast of Alabama. There have been several dead zones recorded. A dead zone is where the water has become uninhabitable for living creatures. As a result, all the fish and animals in that water have died. Fortunately, these dead zones are not near the prime surfing spots. However, keep a watchful eye out for any signs of pollution.
Jellyfish sometimes float towards the coast when there are storms, such as hurricanes in the deep sea. You might find some schools of jellyfish present when you are surfing in Alabama. Therefore, it is best to carry burn-Eze with you to the beach. Fortunately, most jellyfish that live in the area are non-lethal.
However, the other sea animal found on the coast of Alabama can be lethal. Sharks are commonly found along Alabama’s coast. Although shark attacks rarely happen, it is possible. It is best to ask the lifeguards if there have been any shark sightings recently before surfing in Alabama.
Suppose the infrequent waves and various potential dangers have not dissuaded you from surfing in Alabama. In that case, you should know which areas are most likely to have the best waves for surfing.
Where Can You Surf In Alabama?
Most of the surfing in Alabama takes place in one location: Alabama Point. Alabama Point is in Orange Beach, just three miles east of the Perdido Pass Bridge. Orange beach has a white, sandy beach that is more than six thousand feet wide. It also has many boardwalks and picnic areas, making it perfect for a day trip.
Furthermore, Orange beach receives a lot of energy from the gulf. If the wind is blowing in a northeasterly direction and the swells are coming from the southeast, you can expect to find waves of up to six feet at Alabama Point. These factors make Alabama Point the best surfing location in Alabama.
During the winter, the water temperature can get quite cold. Therefore, you should prepare the right gear, such as a wetsuit and perhaps some booties, before surfing at Alabama Point. Also, remember that the beach might get crowded, so try to go as early as possible.
Although there are possibly other locations suitable for surfing in Alabama, Alabama Point is by far the most popular, and your chances of getting a good surf are the highest.
Alabama is not the best place to go surfing. There is only a small window during the year when the wind and swells work perfectly together to allow for perfect surf. This usually occurs in April and continues throughout winter.
It is essential to be mindful of other surfers when surfing in Alabama. Also, be watchful for pollution, sharks, and jellyfish to ensure your surfing experience is a safe one. Most people go surfing at Alabama Point in Orange beach. The conditions are ideal at this beach and provide the best waves for surfing.