Don’t be fooled by New Jersey’s nickname, the Garden State is not the tropical surfing paradise that a surfer dreams about.
Its long gray beaches and brown foamy water don’t look particularly inviting but ask any Jersey local and they’ll tell you their state has some amazing waves in the right conditions.
If you find yourself in the state when the waves are good, you should probably know where to go.
Allow us to tour you through the Garden State’s best waves.
What’s So Special About Surfing in New Jersey?
Waves in New Jersey
For the most part New Jersey waves can be surfed all year round.
Its coast is full of beach and point breaks that will get shredable during the winter.
The only downside during the winter is that the water is ice cold but on the upside is offshore head high tubing beach breaks.
The summer is small and the beaches are crowded with tourists from all around the east coast but the water will be warmest during this time.
Fall is the best middle ground, swell is starting to pick up but the water hasn’t made the turn to a bone chilling temperature yet.
Fall is also peak hurricane season so look out for those fall hurricane swells as well.
The Surf Culture in New Jersey
If you’re looking to infiltrate the New Jersey surf culture you probably won’t find very many locals on a crowded summer day. Jersey’s locals take pride in their unlikely surf destination. Most of them come out when all the tourists are heading into their 9-5’s in New York City in the dead of winter. The locals love the bitter cold rush of chasing a pumping winter swell at their favorite sandbar. They can be protective of their spots but no worse than many other surf spots around the world.
Equipment Needed When Surfing in New Jersey
During the winter when waves are pumping you're going to want at least a 5/4mm wetsuit, hood recommended.
Then of course booties around the 3mm range and gloves for added protection.
However, during the summer water is warm and boardshorts are more than welcome out in the lineup.
The 5 Best Surf Spots in New Jersey
Manasquan Inlet Beach
Manasquan is one of the best waves along the NJ coast.
Since it's one of the best it's also one the most well known and therefore most crowded.
It’s also very consistent and picks up pretty much any swell that brews out in the Atlantic ocean.
It’s a pretty standard jetty break that wedges to form a pretty daunting wave. The size varies throughout the year.
Obviously during the winter it's cold and big and summer is smaller but much warmer.
As far as crowds go, they can sometimes get pretty hectic.
Keep in mind it's one of the most popular breaks along the coast so it's either battle crowds here or locals at a quieter spot.
Along the Jersey Shore is the beach town known as Seaside Park.
Maybe better known for being home to the infamous reality TV show “Jersey Shore” just south at Seaside Heights, Seaside Park has some great waves along its long stretch of beach.
There are several surfable peaks that will get good during the winter. However most of the breaks aren’t perfect and are pretty mushy throughout the year.
Because of this, the breaks at this beach are better for beginners. Crowds here aren’t too much of a problem and only get pesty during the summer.
A pretty standard set of beach breaks along the northern coast of New Jersey is at a small beach town known as Asbury Park.
This beach usually gets good during the winter during northeastern swell but also picks up some good hurricane swells during the fall.
On the right day Asbury Park’s surfing beach (yes they have a part of the beach set aside for surfing only) can get really good and look like any other perfect Jersey wave with hollowed out green waves.
The crowds at Asbury aren’t too bad and locals aren’t extremely protective either so have at it if you're in the area.
Another pretty solid stretch of beach in the northern coast of Jersey is the coastal town of Monmouth.
This is another well known spot in Jersey so crowds might be a little heavy, especially when the waves are good. Monmouth has an array of jetty’s that will pick up any sort of northeasterly swell.
It’s not the most consistent stretch of beach along the coast and can get tricky when the waves are really big.
If you catch Monmouth on the right day though and you might score some nice foamy barrels that Jersey locals love so much.
Avon “L Jetty”
L Jetty is a great jetty wave located in Avon, a small coastal city in Monmouth county.
Much like the rest of that state’s breaks, L Jetty isn’t super consistent. It works best on a south swell which means it usually gets going during the summer.
This is bad news for crowds because the water is warm and tourists are eager to try their luck at surfing.
There are quite a few factors in order for the L Jetty at Avon to work properly, one of those being the tides.
This break really only works on mid to low tide so check your tide calendar before hitting this spot.
What To Do In New Jersey When the Waves Are Flat
New Jersey isn't really thought about as a great vacation destination but if the waves are flat you’re still going to have to find something to do with your time.
If you like roller coasters you’re in luck because New Jersey has a Six Flags park with plenty of them.
Then of course there’s Atlantic City which is known for the plethora of casinos along the coast.
Try your luck at one of the slot machines or walk the Atlantic City strip and soak in some of the nightlife.
As far as sightseeing goes, Liberty State Park offers great views of the NYC skyline and a view of The Statue of Liberty herself.
New Jersey Surf Guide
Next time you think of Jersey shore don’t think about the cheesy reality TV show, instead think about the stretches of beach with great waves.
Seriously though, New Jersey has some serious waves and is a great place to get some tubes.
So maybe next time you’re headed to the east coast, maybe consider packing a board or two and head over to Jersey.