What State Has the Best Waves for Surfing?

July 11, 2022 4 min read

When it comes to surfing, what state has the best waves? Oregon, California, and Hawaii all offer great waves, but watch out for sharks! While you're at it, check out Ruggles, Huntington Beach, and Ocean City. If surfing is your passion, you'll want to try out these beaches in person. We've done the research for you, so read on to learn more about some of the best surfing spots in each state.


Surfing enthusiasts are incensed over plans to destroy one of the best surf breaks in the East. The Ruggles State beach, facing east into Rhode Island Sound, is a slabby overheader that only works when a hurricane is not threatening the coast. The natural coastline of the beach filters incoming swell, while the bay itself edges into the ocean to provide an opportunity for carving. Despite the waves' shallow depths, Ruggles is a perfect spot for novices and those with advanced skills.

For those seeking a challenging surf experience, Ruggles State is not for beginners. For intermediate and advanced surfers, Ruggles State has some of the best waves in the East. Its rocky bottom and barrels make this a difficult spot to conquer, but it's worth the risk. A few people have been hurt and their boards destroyed at Ruggles. Nonetheless, Ruggles State has become an important surfing destination for people from all over the world.

Huntington Beach

When it comes to surfing in Huntington Beach, the South side of the beach has the cleanest waves in winter and early January. The south side is often blackballed because of a lack of surfers. So, the crowds move to the north side to find better waves. The north side is a high-performance playground for shortboards. It is best to wear sunscreen and be prepared to paddle in and out of the water, as the waves can shift up and down the beach.

The waves are fun and playful on this HB wave, which can produce a hollow section on right swells. During low tide, these waves are best ridden on a combination of S and WNW swells. Surfers need to make sure the swell is more South than West. Wind swell is a plus, but only when the tide is low. The water is shallower at HB, so be aware of the tide times before you head out to surf.

Ocean City

If you've ever dreamed of catching a wave, Ocean City is the place to go. This beach town is known for its clean beaches and is popular among both locals and tourists. In addition to surfing, Ocean City is a great place to try stand-up paddleboarding, an extremely popular sport that gives you a full-body core workout while paddling in a sea of water. If surfing isn't your thing, you can check the many surf shops in Ocean City, which will help you get a board and learn to surf.

Surfing in Ocean City is best during light/offshore winds. Surfing here is most consistent in July, when the surf breaks are blown out about half of the time. Fortunately, these waves are small, but doable for those who don't mind getting a bit blown out. Surfers should plan to surf in low tide as the waves can get very small. You can find clean waves here three-quarters of the year, though they're too small for most surfers.


The beaches in Malibu are ideal for surfing. The best waves are in November and winter. First Point, the most famous beach break in the area, is the perfect combination of mellow and gnarly. Its wide face and low tide mean that waves can get mellow during prime season. Second Point and Third Point are less frequent but provide a good opportunity to test shortboard turns. While the water in Malibu is typically not the cleanest, this is not a problem in November.

The town of Malibu has a unique culture. Pop culture icons like Cameron Diaz and Zach de la Rocha have made their homes in the town. The beach town was home to the original Mickey Dora, who radiated an anti-establishment vibe from the beach. Malibu's Black Knight still lives in the town's surf culture, spray-painting "Dora Rules" on Surfrider Beach.

Ventura Point

There are many great places to surf in Ventura Point, California. This small, southern city has three distinct surf breaks: the Jetty, which is right in the bay, and the Bowl, which is a sandbar known for barrels. Both of these breaks have glassy water year-round. On big days, the take-off zones can be challenging. The best time to surf here is during high tide or late summer, when the wind is offshore.

The best breaks are in the area. In Ventura Point, you can catch shoulder machines and big barrels. On strong W swells, the right point break is the best. The left point break, called Pipes, is shorter, faster, and stronger. Pipes is the preferred spot for experienced surfers. The beach is very consistent, so any surfer can find a spot to fit their skill level. If the swell is more than four feet, you could risk getting pure slop.

Long Island

Lido Beach on the eastern shore of Long Island has one of the best beaches for surfing on Long Island, with sand bottoms that make the waves bigger than nearby spots. A south swell with a north wind causes hollow A-frames in the waters at Lido. While Lido often attracts large crowds during the summer, if you rent your board early in the day you will be able to score the best waves.

Fire Island: The densely populated area of Long Beach on the southern coast of the island is home to several excellent surfing spots. While this area can be crowded, it does have a lot of protected beaches and resort communities. This island has a unique ecosystem that makes it great for outdoor activities. It's a barrier island, and is therefore subject to hurricane groundswells, North Atlantic winter storms, and southerly wind swells.

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