South Carolina is known for its coastal stretches and Myrtle beach, a popular holiday destination in the northeast of the state. Charleston, a historic coastal city, is also located in this state. Have you perhaps been to South Carolina or are you planning a trip there? In that case, you may be wondering if surfing happens in South Carolina, and if so, where are the best spot for beginner surfers?
Although South Carolina has long stretches of coast, the surf is not exceptional for most of the year. The best surf happens in Fall and Spring due to hurricanes forming further south. Folly Beach, Bull Island, and Cherry Grove Pier are popular surf spots in South Carolina.
Where To Surf In South Carolina
Now that you know when to Surf in South Carolina, you probably also want to know where to surf. There are a few great surfing locations around the coast of South Carolina. The best spots will depend on the weather and wind direction.
The Washout in Folly Beach is one of the most popular surf spots in South Carolina. The washout formed after Hurricane Hugo destroyed a row of beachfront homes. Now, the wind blows uninterrupted through the folly beach. As a result, the washout has the best surf during fall and will draw many crowds during this time.
Close to the Washout is the Folly Beach Pier, another good spot for surfing. Folly Beach Pier is Perfect for longboards and beginners. Just watch out for the pier pipes and fishers. During hurricane season in fall, Folly Beach Pier becomes a playground for longboards and shortboards.
Pawleys Island near Georgetown is another great option for surfing, especially if you wish to avoid the crowds. Fall, winter, and Spring provide the best conditions for surfing. You can try surfing at the south end of the beach during this time. However, the pier offers more reliable waves. In summer the ocean is flat, and surfing will not be possible.
If you are on holiday at Myrtle Beach, then Cherry Point Grove is the place to be. Cherry Point Grove has some surfable waves in the late afternoon during summer. Of course, hurricane season is still the best time to surf here as the waves are more reliable. Cherry Point is sure to draw a crowd on a good surfing day.
The last surf spot on this list is Bulls Island. This location is not suitable for beginners, as there are oyster beds and strong currents. You also require a boat to get to Bulls Island. However, during hurricane season, you can expect some fantastic surf and have fun all day. Be sure to pack everything you need and stay vigilant of the currents when surfing at Bulls Island.
When To Surf In South Carolina
As mentioned previously, fall is the best season to surf in South Carolina. This is because, during fall, hurricanes form due to Northeastern winds. These winds typically form in the North, starting in Georgia and coming down to North and South Carolina.
Hurricane winds can blow as strong as forty knots and send a Northeasterly surf down to South Carolina. When the storm clears or heads to the Bahamas, you can expect to find great surfing conditions, especially along the exposed coast of South Carolina. Waves can get up to ten feet high. However, they are mostly about four or six feet tall.
The hurricane winds usually start to die down by early November. In rare cases, however, the storm will turn south, and the surf season will be extended into winter. During winter, water temperatures can drop to the high 40’s, making surfing a chilling experience. Therefore, wetsuits and other gear are required to surf South Carolina during winter.
Spring and summer are not generally good surfing seasons. The warm weather is what produces hurricanes in the fall. However, during Spring and summer, the water tends to be mirror-like. If you are lucky, you will be able to get some surfing done in the late afternoon when the winds pick up.
Dangers Of Surfing In South Carolina
If you have previously been to South Carolina, you will know that the warm water along the coast attracts not only crowds of people but also various other life forms.
As you could have imagined, sharks are commonly found in the waters of South Carolina. They can be spotted hunting for fish at river mouths but can also move along other parts of the coast.
The most commonly seen sharks are sand sharks and small blacktip sharks. However, you can also occasionally come across a thrasher, mako, tiger, or hammerhead shark. It is best to stay clear of schools of fish as this is where the sharks tend to hunt, and you might just become a casualty.
Jellyfish are among some of the sea creatures found in South Carolina. They float towards the shore during hurricane season. Unfortunately, hurricane season is also when the best surfing happens. Therefore, you might easily get stung by a jellyfish when diving under a wave or paddling against the currents.
Luckily, most jellyfish in the area are non-lethal. However, carry burn-Eze with you to the beach. If you are lucky, you will end up in a school of cannonball jellyfish. Although they look intimidating, cannonball jellyfish are harmless.
The final two sea animals to be aware of when surfing in South Carolina are Stingrays and Skates. These animals like to come close to the shore and enjoy the warmer water. Skates dig into the sand and sting anyone who steps on them. If you are in an unfamiliar area in South Carolina, shuffle along the sand while moving rather than picking up your feet.
If the animals of the sea have not dissuaded you from surfing in South Carolina, you might still be curious as to when the best time for surfing in South Carolina is. Although you can easily use a longboard to surf anytime, certain conditions make for prime surf.
Although South Carolina is not as famous for surfing as some other states, there are still opportunities for great surf. Beware of the sharks, jellyfish, and skates, and you should be fine. Hurricane season, which happens in the fall, is the best time to surf in South Carolina.
Depending on the weather and wind directions, make your way to folly beach, Myrtle Beach, or Bulls Point for great surf. South Carolina offers good opportunities for surfers of all levels to wet their boards. On a good surfing day, you will see the beaches lined with eager surfers.