When talking about Maine, watersports are not the first thing that comes to mind. The freezing water and flat summer seas do not inspire the faint of heart to surf. However, Maine is considered to be the last surfing frontier of the continental US.
While most surfing in Maine happens in the south, between New York and Portland, further north, you can find some hidden surf spots and possibly discover some new areas as well. Fall and winter are the best months for surfing in Maine, and wetsuits and other equipment are required to brave the cold.
We will discuss some valuable tips for going surfing in Maine, when the best time of year is to go surfing, and where the most popular surfing spots are in Maine.
When Should You Surf In Maine?
As mentioned, Maine’s best surfing happens in winter and fall. The temperatures are not as cold yet during late fall, but the Northeast winds bring about good surfing waves. Therefore, you will not have to dress as warmly in the fall as you do in winter.
However, winter is truly the best time to surf in Maine. Hurricane winds from Florida and Northeast winds work together to create the perfect conditions for surfing. Although most beaches offer some smaller waves that are perfect for beginners and longboards, some also provide perfect A-framed waves that even the best surfers will get excited about.
Spring provides a short-lived surfing experience. You can gradually start shedding some of your layers and eventually even your 5/4 wetsuit. Unfortunately, the warmer the weather, the flatter the sea. The winds will die down from middle spring, taking the waves with them.
There are no waves for surfing in summer, and the ocean is flat. Of course, you could try using a longboard to ride some of the visible waves. But the truly great surfing happens in the cold seasons.
Some things need to be prepared before you go surfing in Maine during the winter.
What You Should Know Before Surfing In Maine
Maine has freezing cold winters, and the oceans surrounding Maine usually have temperatures below freezing. As a result, hypothermia and frostbite are serious concerns when surfing in Maine. To prevent yourself from sustaining any illnesses while surfing, there are some things you need to prepare:
- Firstly, don’t surf in Maine if you don’t have the correct gear. To surf safely, you will need to have a hood, gloves, boots, and a wetsuit at least 4/3. However, a 5/4 wetsuit is preferable.
- Make sure to use wax on your surfboard that is suitable for cold water. Warm water wax hardens too much and can become smooth and less effective.
- Next, prepare room temperature or warm (not boiling) water or beverages to drink when you come out of the water. This will help to heat your body up from the inside.
- Don’t heat your hands and feet too fast. For example, don’t place them in hot water or by a heater. This will hurt and can be dangerous in some cases. Instead, heat them up slowly and expose them to room temperature first.
- Pack some space blankets and dry, warm clothes to use after surfing. Get out of any wet clothes as soon as you are done to get yourself warmed up as quickly as possible.
If you wish to go surfing in the summer in Maine, you don’t need to make all these preparations. However, the water will also be much flatter, and there may very well be no surfable waves. So, where are the best surfing spots in Maine? We thought you might ask.
Where To Surf In Maine
There are a few fantastic places to surf in Maine. Most of them are located towards the south, between New York and Portland. However, there are some secluded surf gems found in the north for the truly adventurous types. In addition, some unexplored beaches could possibly have great surfing conditions in the North of Maine.
Starting outside Portland, Higgins Beach is one of Maine’s most popular surfing spots. Higgins beach provides some really good and reliable surf waves when the Southeast winds blow. Be sure to go during low tide, as the waves fall flat when the tide is high.
South of Higgins beach, you can go surfing at Old Orchard Beach. There are two options when surfing here. You can either go in from the pier or start paddling from the jetty. Old Orchard’s waves are best for surfing when the swell is either northeast or South-east. Although Old Orchard can tolerate high tide better than Higgins, it is still better to go when the tide is low.
Closer to New York, you will come across Fortunes Rock. This is a beautiful beach with five-to-seven-foot waves on some occasions. You can go surfing at either the high tide or low tide. North-east and South-east winds provide the best conditions for surfing. However, be aware that the waves crash hard into the sand at Fortunes Rock. Therefore, you can prepare for some hard landings.
The Ogunquit River mouth also has some great days for surfing. You will experience winds that mostly blow from the Caribbean at the Ogunquit River mouth. You can surf at the river mouth by entering the water below Lobster Point.
Ogunquit Beach is just north of the river mouth and has its own surfing reputation. This beach makes for the perfect surf spot during fall when people of all levels can enjoy the water and the surf.
Other beaches in Maine that are worth a visit include:
- Kettle Cove
- Short Sands Beach
- Long Sands Beach
- Wells Beach
- Popham Beach
- Scarborough Beach State Park
- Gooch’s Beach
- Acadia National Park
- Moody Point
There are certainly enough beaches with good surfing conditions to make a trip to Maine worthwhile. Be sure to pack all the necessary things, and if you feel up to it, explore the north part of Maine for any unnoticed surf spots.
Although Maine is slightly cold, there are some great surf spots worth trying. Be sure to prepare for the surfing season by getting the right equipment and packing enough clothes to keep warm. The best season for surfing in Maine is late fall and winter. During this time, hoods, gloves, boots, and thick wetsuits are required.
There are many beaches worth exploring in Maine. Most of them are in the south of Maine, between New York and Portland. The most popular beaches in this area are Higgins Beach, Old Orchard Beach, and Fortunes Rock.