Updated: Feb 25
Although it doesn’t seem like it, little New Hampshire can muster up some incredible surf.
With only 13 miles of coastline, there isn’t much space to work with, however you will be met with back to back breaks.
If you catch these spots at the right time of year, you could witness some of the best waves that the east coast has to offer.
What’s So Special About Surfing in New Hampshire?
Waves in New Hampshire
New Hampshire has a collection of beach, reef, and point breaks. These breaks are best throughout the fall season.
During these months, the area will often experience a few hurricane swells that tend to be some of the most fun waves to watch and experience.
Along with fall is the thrill of the winter season.
While you may have to face the freezing water and occasional ice obstacles, the winter brings in large swells that give way to critical sections and thrilling rides.
The Surf Culture in New Hampshire
The crowds amongst New Hampshire vary greatly depending on the break you are at, and the time of year you may visit.
There are plenty of great options for beginners to paddle out to on smaller days, whereas there are a few places you may want to refrain from if you aren’t experienced. We will dive deeper into the specifics of where these places are in the next section.
The water in New Hampshire can get cold, I mean really cold.
Before dipping your toes in, you should be prepared with the basic essentials including a fullsuit, booties, gloves, and a hood.
During the fall season, you will be able to manage with a 3/2 or 4/3 fullsuit, however as water temperatures dip below 30 degrees in the winter, you may want to invest in something a little thicker.
The 5 Best Surf Spots in New Hampshire (H2)
Jenness State Beach
Jenness State Beach is one of the most consistent breaks that New Hampshire has to offer.
This exposed beach break can work throughout any time of the year, but is most consistent throughout the month of August.
You will find the best conditions here during an east swell that is met with offshore winds from the west. In these conditions, the waves still remain moderately soft and well suited for surfers with little to moderate levels of experience.
Since this wave is known for being consistent, you will definitely see other surfers out in the lineup, but the crowds never tend to be too extreme in size.
Hampton Beach is another exposed beach break that produces waves all throughout the year.
However, you will find some of the best waves here during the winter season, more specifically in the month of November. During this month, east-northeast swells combine with northeast, offshore winds to produce perfect, peeling waves.
Since this wave is a beach break, it has a combination of both good lefts and rights, for all types of surfers.
Although this break remains relatively small and suitable for beginners for the majority of the year, the winter season can bring up to 8ft tall waves that are highly favorable amongst the more experienced surfers.
Rye On the Rocks
Rye On the Rocks is a left hand reef break that works best under east swells and westward offshore winds.
On a good day, this break gives way to long rides that begin with a take-off out the back and bring you to an inside barrel.
You can experience some of these waves for yourself by visiting during the month of August, when these conditions are optimal.
Beware, even though you may not be able to see what lurks below, the bottom of this break is full of rocks that may begin to peak out if the tide is low enough.
Although Costellos is a pretty inconsistent wave, a larger swell can bring in perfect lefts and rights that are great for beginner surfers.
The larger swells required to get this wave moving most often occur during the winter season when southwest swells are mixed with offshore westward winds.
So even though it may be a rare sighting, it's worth a trip to experience what this wave has to offer when conditions are good.
The Wall is said to be the only surfable break when everything else is too small.
Similar to Jenness State Beach, The Wall is known for its consistency. Accounting for its name, you will experience many closeouts at the wall.
However, as strong offshore west winds and east-northeast swell come in, these closeouts transform into inexplicable barrels that you have to experience for yourself.
One thing to keep your eye out for is the high tide. If you choose to paddle out during a high tide, keep your eye on the shore and make sure the waves aren’t breaking too close.
Finally, since this wave is known for always working, it is common for a large crowd to be out, but luckily there isn’t a very strong sense of localism in this specific lineup.
What To Do In New Hampshire When the Waves Are Flat
As we just learned, when every other wave is flat, there is a good chance that you can still find some surf at The Wall.
However, on the off chance that even The Wall is taking a rest day, there are plenty of restaurants, surf shops, and skate parks that you can fill your time with.
Along the coast, to meet the needs of visitors and locals immersed in the surf culture, there are stores and food that embody everything you need to feel like you are in paradise.
To add, just outside Hampton Beach you can conveniently find yourself at Hampton Skate Park. Rolling around this park can be the second best thing you can do besides paddling out!
Surfing in New Hampshire
If you haven’t taken your surfing to the east coast, the time is now. With many different breaks that can be consistent all throughout the year, New Hampshire is a great stop to add on your next surf trip!