Surfing in Folly Beach: Where to Surf, Gear Needed, & More
“The Edge of America”, Folly Beach, is one of the best surf towns in the Carolinas.
Located in Charleston, South Carolina, Folly Beach is home to some fun beach break sand bars along with a great, welcoming, surf community with amazing food and a lot to do.
The waves here at Folly Beach are unique because they have been surfed for an incredibly long amount of time considering Charleston is one of the oldest cities in America.
Folly Beach Surf Guide
Waves in Folly Beach
Waves at Folly Beach average 2-3 feet although, since it is on the east coast, it may be flat for weeks and then firing for others.
The east coast can always surprise you, but Folly Beach may surprise you the most. I have always seemed to find a wave there when everywhere else in Charleston was flat.
Surf Culture in Folly Beach
The surf culture in Folly Beach is great. Since it is such an old surf town, you will find people here have formed lifelong connections to each other and the surf community in Charleston.
I have found the culture here to be more welcoming than other older surf cultures anywhere else on the east coast.
There’s the crowd of old salts, grumpy at times, and then there’s a great younger crowd of surfers here from the local college and town.
I have found making connections to people here to be very easy, everyone is extremely nice… it may be that southern charm!
Surf Gear Needed to Surf in Folly Beach
You will definitely need some cold water gear here in Folly Beach considering it is located in the Carolinas off the east coast.
It can get really cold here.
Once early October hits, you will need a spring suit. When the winter comes, you will need a 3/2 full suit or maybe even a 4/3 in those extra cold winters in South Carolina.
You will need nice pairs of gloves and booties at the peak of winter, some even wear hoodies. It starts to warm up in the water around springtime.
In April you will need a spring suit or top and you may be able to pull off bikinis and board shorts by the end of April.
Top 3 Surf Spots in Folly Beach
Folly Beach is home to three very popular and famous surf spots: The north side of the pier, the south side of the pier, and the Washout.
#1: The Washout
This famous break is home to some of the best face-paced, peaky waves in South Carolina and can hold swell extremely well.
Beware, most of this area at Folly Beach is lined with rock jetties all along the beach.
Although these random jetties all along the beach may seem a little odd, it thankfully produces some nice sand bars all the way down the beach if the main Washout break is too crowded.
Here, all levels of surfers are welcomed as long as you are nice and respectful to the locals and don’t put anyone in harm's way.
This spot works the best at a mid-tide to high tide. Most swell directions can work here as long as the wind is a north or northwest wind.
#2: Folly Beach Pier north-side
The Folly Beach Pier north-side breaks very similar to the south-side, but it isn’t the exact same.
The north-side of the pier is typically less crowded for one. Here, you can catch some nice rights that form off the pier although it is a sanded beach break.
The pier spots don’t hold swell as well as the Washout does, so if there isn’t much swell out there, the Washout may be the better option, whereas the pier is a great option for when there’s swell everywhere, and you want to avoid larger crowds.
#3: Folly Beach Pier south-side
The Folly Beach Pier south-side is very similar to the north-side, but it isn’t the exact same. Both sides work best with an east or south swell and north-west winds.
The south side of the pier tends to produce more lefts right off of the pier than the other side although it is a basic sanded beach break.
If you are looking to surf a spot closer to the main town of Folly Beach, the pier can be a great option since it is closest to the bars, shops, restaurants, and hotels.
What to Do in Folly Beach When Waves are Flat
When the waves are flat at Folly Beach, there’s a great amount of things to do around town.
You can stay at Folly Beach and visit the shops, bars, and restaurants, or you can take a little drive to the historic downtown Charleston.
Downtown, visit the city market, waterfront park, the Battery, museums, aquarium, and more!
Folly Beach Surfing
Charleston holds a very special place in my heart, Folly Beach the most. Come experience the culture and history here all while having an epic surf trip!