Alabama Surf Guide: Where to Go, Gear Needed & More
Updated: Mar 16
Alabama’s coastline is only 60 miles, but within this strip of sand you can surprisingly find a few quality waves.
Even though Alabama isn’t widely known for their presence of surf culture or being home to surf protegees, you can still score a few waves if you find yourself on vacation here.
In this article we will take a look at a few of the well known spots here.
We’ll also discuss the best time to visit, so you aren’t stuck staring at a flat ocean.
So, buckle up and get ready for a trip down south to find some shocking breaks.
What’s So Special About Surfing in Alabama?
Waves in Alabama
Alabama isn’t a state you would necessarily expect to have super fun waves, so just the thought of catching one wave here is special.
The waves here are pretty inconsistent and require stronger swells to form, so keep your eye on the conditions and beach cams to make sure there are waves from day to day.
The Surf Culture in Alabama
There isn’t a very strong surf culture throughout Alabama, seeing as there is only 60 miles out of the entire state that is suitable for surfing.
With that being said surfers from surrounding states like Mississippi and Florida, come and go to experience some of the swells Alabama has to offer.
But, from what I’ve heard, Alabama has some of the friendliest locals that are always welcoming to new faces.
Equipment Needed When Surfing in Alabama
The water is coldest in Alabama throughout the month of February, ranging anywhere from 61-68 degrees fahrenheit.
With this type of water, you should be equipped with a fullsuit, a 4/3 mm or 3/2 mm should work just fine.
For these conditions, additional equipment like a hood or booties is optional according to the preference of each individual surfer.
On the other hand, the water is known to get up to 82-86 degrees in July, which means you can go surfing in just boardshorts or a bathing suit.
The 5 Best Surf Spots in Alabama
Orange Beach- Alabama Point
Surfing in Alabama is easily summed up with one main place, Orange Beach.
The majority of the waves surfed in this state take place here, and more specifically at Alabama Point. Because of this, most of the surfers will crowd around here.
The best conditions for Alabama point is when the wind is blowing in the northeast direction and during a southeast swell. During this time, the wave can grow all the way up to 6 feet.
A state that really isn’t known for its waves gives way to a point that grows to 6ft. It truly is a sight to see if you ask me.
Located just to the left of Alabama Point is Spuds.
Spuds is an exposed beach break that typically stays about the same size as the Point, or slightly smaller.
When the point is too crowded, many people will go test out Spuds.
Even though the waves may not be as good, sometimes surfing without such a large crowd and battling for every wave is worth it.
Since this break is also located on the stretch of Orange Beach, it has the best reaction to southeast swells and northeastern winds.
So, if you aren’t feeling confident enough to paddle out to the most popular lineup in Alabama, Spuds is waiting for you.
Opposite of Spuds, on the right side of Alabama Point is Terry’s Cove. This wave is another beach break, but is separated by a pier.
The wave works on both sides of the pier which means it has lefts and rights for goofy and regular footers.
Once again, like every other break on this stretch of beach, it works best under southeast swells and northeastern winds.
However, you can find the wave pumping during any strong swell, or during hurricane season.
You will rarely find this wave crowded, so enjoy a lineup to yourself or with 1 or 2 other friends!
Dauphin Island is placed next to a pier and is one of the more reliable spots when it comes to surfing in Alabama.
With that being said, the best conditions and biggest waves still require strong swells to form.
The waves here break to the right and left, and are known for being a bit softer.
This makes this wave popular among many beginners and those who are learning to surf for the first time.
If you are a beginner, don’t worry, this wave is almost always empty, so go out and give it a try!
To add, some surfers from Mississippi will travel to surf these waves, when there are long flat spells throughout their state, making this wave open for everyone.
West pass is a reef break that forms over a rocky bottom.
Because of this, use extra caution while surfing here during low tides to avoid making contact with the bottom or scrapping your fins against the rocks.
You’ll find cleaner conditions here during a south-southeast swell with north-northwest winds.
This wave breaks to the right, meaning it is favorable among regular footed surfers.
Since this wave is more inconsistent and smaller than Alabama Point, the lineup remains pretty sparse, so there are always lots of waves for beginners to test out their skill level on.
What To Do In Alabama When the Waves Are Flat
Even if the waves aren’t the best, the beaches are still beautiful! Alabama’s coast has a vast selection of white sand beaches and warm water.
All throughout the summer, these beaches are known for having warm water that is perfect for a summer swim and beach day.
So, even if you can’t score any waves, you can still enjoy the same beach and just relax for the day.
A few other notable excursions include Tropic Falls: the region’s largest waterpark, Dolphin Cruises, and Cathedral Cavern Tours.
All these activities are guaranteed to entertain you and have you leaving Alabama glad you came and visited.
Although Alabama may not be number 1 on your list of surf states you have to visit, it definitely deserves a spot somewhere on that list.
From the impressive waves you can find on Orange Beach, to the empty lineups on Dauphin Island, the presence of surf here is getting harder and harder to deny.
So, next time you are packing up your boots to go down south, don’t forget your wetsuit!.