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Cocoa Beach Surf Guide: The Surf Capital of the East Coast

Updated: Apr 3

Perhaps best known for raising 11-time world champion Kelly Slater, Cocoa Beach, Florida is one of the East Coast’s best beach towns.


Much like the rest of the east coast, it has a plethora of beach breaks that have potential to get pretty heavy.


Don’t worry though, it's still an ideal place to longboard too. Cocoa Beach is located on a barrier island off the east coast of Florida.


It's right on the central coast of Florida so it receives swell pretty consistently and usually has something to surf no matter where you are in what season.


We’ll break down everything about Cocoa Beach and more!


Looking for to fill the downtime to and from your next surf trip? Check out the groundbreaking book Surf Therapy: The Evidence Based Science for Physical, Mental and Emotional Well-Being on Amazon, which deep dives into the growing surf therapy sector. 



What’s So Special About Surfing in Cocoa Beach?

Waves

The waves at Cocoa Beach are among the best on the east coast. It has pretty consistent waves and is primarily beach break.


I mean if the waves can turn a local kid into an 11-time world champion then they must be pretty good.


It picks up northeasterly swells the best and these usually come in during the fall.


Also look out for hurricane swells during the fall.


Another plus is warm water almost year round which makes surfing here a lot more enjoyable than other spots on the rest of the east coast.


The Surf Culture

Known as the surf capital of the East coast, Cocoa Beach has a really fun surf culture.


On top of being the birthplace of Kelly, Ron Jon surf shop opened one of its first flagship stores in Cocoa Beach and still has a huge presence in the town.


They offer everything from board rentals to surf lessons so it’s also a great place to get the scoop on where to go for good surf.


It is also home to the Florida Surf Museum where you can learn all about the history of surfing in Florida and the east coast.


Equipment

All you need during the summer, fall, and spring are a pair of trunks or a bikini.


Winter will require a wetsuit, usually something in the 3/2 or 4/3 range is perfect.


The Best Surf Spots in Cocoa Beach

Lori Wilson Park

Lori Wilson Park is a nice stretch of beach that allows plenty of room to spread out and avoid crowds. The waves at this spot aren’t anything too special but they are pretty consistent.


There’s multiple peaks along the beach that can be surfed and the sandbars are changing here and there so there usually isn’t a set spot to sit.


It takes northeast swells best and you usually hold size in the slightly overhead range.


Anything bigger and the beach will usually be closing out.


It’s a great beach for surfers of all abilities and there aren’t any serious locals looking to sniff out beginners.


Cocoa Beach Pier

The iconic Cocoa Beach Pier is a great place to score some fun waves.


The pier was built in 1962 and was formerly known as the Canaveral Pier. This wave is more novelty than it is quality.


The Cocoa Beach Pier has a rich history in the town and being able to surf next to it is a treat for any surfer. The waves aren’t necessarily bad, it's just your typical pier break.


It takes northeastern swells the best but has trouble when it gets big.


This makes the pier a better longboarding wave.


Either side of the pier is decently fun and locals aren’t a problem either but it might get a little crowded on a sunny day.


Picnic Tables

Another fun beach break, Picnic Tables is a surf spot located directly across the Patrick Air Force Base.


It’s another pretty standard beach break setup and has a few different peaks to sit out allowing the crowds to spread out a bit.


It takes a northeastern swell the best and usually maxes out in the slightly overhead range.


The wave can get pretty peaky and will provide a surfer with a nice ramp to shred. On small days it's another good longboarding wave.


Locals and crowds are very minimal so feel free to explore this wave without being hassled.


Sebastian Inlet

A spot with some history, it has been a staple for Cocoa Beach surfers in the town since the 1960s.


The inlet was blasted open in 1948 and helped create the break that you see today. The north side of the inlet has a jetty break that gets really good.


The main lineup sits at the first point and this spot is usually reserved for the best surfers.


It gets going on a northeastern swell and can hold some serious and perfect size.


This is arguably one of the best waves in Cocoa Beach so that means crowds.


Crowds with some talent too, surfers all over the state come down to surf this wave.


Spanish House

A great sandbar named after the Spanish style house that sits in front of the break, Spanish House is another really popular and good wave.


It's a pretty simple setup, it has an inside bar that picks up swell the best.


It particularly likes a northeastern swell and when the waves are good they are really good. It can get hollow and powerful making it a really fun wave.


On top of the northeastern swell it also needs offshore wind and a low tide to see perfection making it a fairly rare sight.


Locals know this spot is good and they treat it as such so come in with respect if you decide to surf it.


PS — if you want to avoid parking altogether, consider an e-bike.


What To Do In Cocoa Beach When the Waves Are Flat

When there’s no waves in Cocoa Beach there’s plenty to do besides surf.


To start you could walk the Cocoa Beach Pier which is a nice place to see the ocean.


At the end of the pier there is a fun tiki bar to sit and enjoy a drink on a sunny Florida day.


Then you could visit the world's largest surf shop.


Ron Jon Surf Shop in Cocoa Beach is huge and has plenty of boards, board rentals, and ways to set up a surfing lesson if you need it.


There’s also the Florida Surf Museum where you can learn all you need to know about the history of surfing in Florida.


Cocoa Beach Surfing

Cocoa Beach is a fun beach town for any surfer. On top of some great waves it also has a lot of history and culture. So next time you're on the east coast visit its surfing capital and score some fun waves.

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