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Nantucket Surfing 101


Beach Life

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With over 80 miles of beach on our little island of Nantucket, there are endless seaside activities to choose from. By far my favorite salty activity is surfing, as it heightened my love for Nantucket. My uncle moved to Nantucket full-time because of his love of the waves and the sense of community. He was the one who pushed me into my first wave at the age of eight. This passion has driven me to travel all over the world to grab the stoke and experience some incredible destinations, but Nantucket will always be home. Read on to learn more about Nantucket Surfing 101.

I was very fortunate to have the opportunity to learn how to surf on Nantucket. During the summer, the waves are generally tame which makes it the perfect place to ride your first wave. The waves are generated by wind-swell and they are not as powerful as the groundswell that occurs during hurricane season. Therefore, if you are a beginner, don’t fear wiping out and being pulled under on a Nantucket wave in the summer. Sure, it’s scary to fall, but you’ll be missing out if you don’t grab that board and dive in!

Try heading out to our south shore beaches where there are plenty of sandbars. This creates a soft smooth bottom so your feet will not get cut up like at some over beaches with reef. As a novice surfer, paddling can be difficult. There is no harm in taking advantage of the shallow sandbars and walking your way out through the waves.

Nantucket Beach Map

Nantucket Surfing 101

Nantucket is very fortunate to have some terrific surf schools. It is highly recommended to use all the help you can get when you’re learning how to surf. Local instructors know exactly which waves to push you into, just my Uncle did for me when I was 8. Gary Kohner opened the first Nantucket Island Surf School. It is located at Cisco Beach, and he has personally grown the sport on Nantucket tremendously. Another great place to take a lesson is at Nobadeer Beach with ACK Surf School. Both schools offer great instruction and all the equipment you need to get your stoke on.

nantucket surfing 101
Photo Courtesy of ACK Surf School

Here’s my best Nantucket Surfing 101 advice… get to your feet wet as quickly as possible. My uncle always says, “speed is stability.” With more momentum and speed, your board will catch a plain making your surf more stable. So pop up on your feet as quickly as possible and you’ll find that you’ll be in control. Now, go out there, grab a board and find the same stoke I did over twenty years ago!

And as always, I’m happy to answer any questions you may have about surfing on Nantucket! Email or Call me if you are interested in learning how to surf this summer.

Read my blog on Surfing Slurpee Waves in January, 2018!

Nantucket Surfing 101 Resources:

Indian Summer Surf Shop

Surfline Nantucket Surf Report

Rentals & Lessons – ACK Surf School

Rentals & Lessons – Nantucket Island Surf School

Force Five Watersports for everything from flip-flops to wetsuits