When I think about surfing in Connecticut, not much comes to mind. With a lack of large swells, real waves are pretty hard to come by.
Regardless, local surfers here have worked around this issue to find a few workable spots that come into action during large storms and wind swells.
There are also many surrounding breaks outside in Rhode Island and New York that can be easily accessed by going slightly east or south of Connecticut.
In this article we will look at a few spots within Connecticut that occasionally gain some size and traction from the surfers in this state.
What’s So Special About Surfing in Connecticut?
Waves in Connecticut
There really is no set surf season in Connecticut. The waves here are either non-existent or unpredictable.
Your best bet is to head down here in the fall when waves are usually bigger on the east coast.
With bigger waves at most other breaks, you have a better chance at the rare sighting of a Connecticut beach breaking.
The Surf Culture in Connecticut
Since there isn’t very consistent surf here, Connecticut isn’t very rich in their surf culture.
There aren’t very many local surfers that consistently go out, and if there are, they usually drive to more consistent breaks.
Many surfers within this state will travel out to New York or Rhode Island in hopes of scoring some better waves.
Surf Equipment Needed When Surfing in Connecticut
Like many other beaches along the east coast, the water in Connecticut can get extremely cold and reach lows of 38 degrees.
During the winter and fall seasons you need to come equipped with cold water gear. This may include a 6/5 or 5/4 fullsuit with a hood, gloves, and booties.
All these items are essential to make sure you can still feel your finger and toes the next morning.
The 5 Best Surf Spots in Connecticut
Mystic River is a wave that breaks at a river mouth and gets its name from the mystery surrounding its existence.
Although it is said to go off during hurricane swells and gain real size, not many people have actually experienced the wave.
So, it is pretty difficult to predict what kind of waves or conditions to expect while visiting this break.
However, if you happen to be in Connecticut during a hurricane swell, take a pit stop at Mystic River to see if it is as good as some people claim it is and report back to us.
Connecticut Street Jetty
Connecticut Street Jetty is an exposed breakwater break, meaning that it is protected against tides and currents.
This wave is most likely to break during a south swell that is matched with offshore northern winds.
Even if this wave is breaking at its best, there's a good chance the lineup won’t be very filled up.
Since this wave is placed directly next to a jetty, the waves rarely get very big, so it is almost always suitable for beginners.
However, always check the conditions before paddling out to ensure your skill level is fit for the day's conditions.
The Connecticut River isn’t a typical break because it only forms waves when there is strong water flowing through the river.
This can come after a large rainfall or the melting of snow from New England Mountains.
Something that sets this wave apart is the allusion of the surfer on the wave.
Although the surfer may seem like they are constantly moving and covering a great deal of land, they are actually standing in the same place.
Since this wave is placed directly in the middle of a strong rivermouth, it is best suited for experienced surfers who are comfortable swimming against currents.
One local surfer at this break stated that he has only ever seen about 5 to 10 surfers trying to conquer this wave.
Just 20 minutes outside of the Connecticut border, you will find a series of beaches that actually corporate within swell windows.
You will first run into beaches like Misquamicut Beach and East Beach which are known to be mellow and perfect for beginner surfers.
However, if you are on the hunt for a little more action, you can drive an additional hour and find yourself at Scarborough and Narragansett Beach which are known to pick up some speed during the winter seasons.
Although these spots aren’t located within Connecticut, they are just a quick drive if you find yourself here and want to get out in the water.
Just like Rhode Island, New York is placed right next to Connecticut, but has many breaks that are significantly more consistent.
If you are hoping to make a trip to find some real waves, hop in your car and drive for 2-3 hours to reach Long Island.
By making this relatively quick trip, you will find waves that work under southwest and southeast swells and that have the ability to pick up some real speed and power.
So, if you find yourself in Connecticut and really in the search for some surf, unfortunately your best bet is to get out of there and head towards New York for some real waves.
What To Do In Connecticut When the Waves Are Flat
If you are visiting Connecticut on a whim, there is a good chance the waves will be flat.
So, if you find yourself in this situation, as stated earlier, drive over to Rhode Island or New York.
Both of these states have many breaks that tend to be more consistent and have at least some sort of waves all year long.
Besides surfing, there are many other things you could do to spend your time in Connecticut.
With an abundance of great hotels, this place could be great for a quick getaway and explorations.
There is no shortage of seaports, aquariums, and bodies around here, so get outside and explore the beauty of the land around you.
If you are looking for a state to visit on your next east coast surf trip, unfortunately Connecticut may not be the place for you.
Although there are a few novelty spots where some waves can come and go, it is not very reliable.
Surrounding places such as Rhode Island and New York provide many more opportunities for consistent swell windows and cleaner conditions.
For these reasons, Connecticut may be a beautiful place to visit, but not the best option while searching for surf.