East Coast Surfing vs West Coast Surfing


photo via surfing-waves.com

Trust me, it takes a lot of balls to move from Brooklyn to Encinitas for the sole purpose of getting more surf time in your life, and I don't even have balls. Having tried to surf out of Brooklyn for almost 3 years I finally gave up, quit my job, bought a pick up truck and drove west with dreams of surfable waves dancing in my head. I've learned alot since I moved here, most notably? West Coast surfing is way different (read: BETTER) than East Coast surfing. I learned most of my East Coast surfing ways from the crazy Jones Beach Lifeguards and all of my West Coast surfing (so, ahem, all of my REAL surfing) from Jorma Beckstrom. If you don't know who he is? Sh*t, you sure should. So, if you ever wanted to see the comparison side by side?

West Coast Surfing

West Coast Surfing

I bring you East Coast Surfing vs West Coast Surfing, let the sh*t talking BEGIN.


Epic Day Tales at Montauk VS Epic Day Tales at I.B.

Douchebags on the LIRR VS Douchebags at Day Use

Close out, washing machine slop VS Rideable and surfable waves

Drunk Jersey College Girl surfer groupies VS Botoxed O.C. Housewife surfer groupies

Taco Tuesdays in Long Beach VS Any Day at Cap'n Keno's

Tall Lattes at Dawn Patrol VS Tall Boys at Dawn Patrol

Jellyfish VS Stingrays

ESM VS TransWorld Surf

Ridiculous Surf Vehicle / Escalades VS Ridiculous Surf Vehicle / F-350's

Bud Light VS Tecate

Smoke on beach from Marlboro Lights VS Smoke on beach from Blueberry Trainwreck

“Monster” VS “Epic”

Fighting Cold Water VS Fighting Longboard Kooks

Everyone Used to Be a Broker VS Everyone Used to Surf Contests

All of the Bronx on the Beach VS Kelp on the Beach

Ironic T-Shirts VS Ironic Moustaches

Read your gossip in the NY Post VS Read your gossip in the Beach Break News

After-surf food is Bagels n' Lox VS After-surf food is an Acai Bowl

Sex Wax VS Sticky Bumps

Yankees Cap VS Knit Cap

and…the best music to listen to before a shred session?

Biggie VS Biggie

Yeah, that's right. You can bring me to the West Coast, but I'm not pumpin' Tupac.

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  1. You’ve got to love Cap’n Keno’s. That place will always be there for you. Also, word to picking up and moving. Definitely a big move.

  2. I’m stoked you’re getting waves out there and I loved the comparisions but I couldn’t disagree more…EAST COAST RULES! Sure we have to work a little harder and wait a bit longer for good waves but we have plenty of decent swell that would make even the most hard-core west coaster froth…come back East to charge some hurricane swell this summer and see if you feel the same way when you’re done….good luck HW

    • There’s no way The East Coast is better than the West Coast. The reason is simple. The fetch (the distance over which the wind blows) is greater on the West Coast than on the East Coast which creates longer interval ground swells vs. The East Coast which receives mostly shorter intervals from less distance producing shorter swells. In other words, West-coast waves tend to start way out in the Pacific Ocean, so they have a greater distance to travel before they hit the shore which gives swells more ability to build more energy and smooth out before the reach The West Coasts.
      I hope this helps clarify things..

    • To add to my last post. I just wanted to go a little further into detail in describing why the distance in which the swells travel is so important..In this case, you can think of wave as a snowball: The farther you roll your snowball along in the snow, the bigger it gets. West-coast waves tend to start way out in the Pacific Ocean, so they have a greater distance to travel before they hit the shore — more time to grow in size and length. According to Dr. Ernie Knowles, associate professor of oceanography at NC State University “The steep shelf on the West Coast would cause a more abrupt buildup of the shoaling wave (so waves would be ‘steeper’ when they break). But the much longer fetch in the Pacific Ocean allows the waves to receive more wind energy, and so they grow larger. The swell arriving on the West Coast has periods in the range of 10 to 17 seconds (quite long waves), while the East Coast swell is more in the six- to 10-second range.”
      I hope this helps!

    • blakerly says:

      Im a hardcore west coast surfer. I moved to NYC for work. I surf everyday thats over 2ft @ 2 seconds regardless of wind. I surf hurricane season and all winter. I lirr to montauk, hunt down jersey barrels, and mission to the obx. After one year I’m quitting my job and moving home for waves.

      East coast surf does not compare. Its gutless powerless tiny and inconsistent. Not to mention FUCKING COLD. All east coast surfers are either delusional or kooks. They hype the right coast endlessly with tales of epic days. Its simply just not as good.

      I’m not saying its not fun, and I definitely have fun sessions. BUT ITS NOT AS GOOD. I daydream of average days at my gorgeous black little beach break.

      I head back west in two weeks. The anticipation is killing me.

  3. Funny article with some good comparisons (who DOESN’T pump Biggie by the way??) but there’s no way I believe that the West Coast is outright better than the East Coast. Sure, you do get a few more waves than us that don’t ‘close out’ but if you really want to see real East Coast surfing check out Nova Scotia in the winter time. There are hundreds of point breaks, all going unridden, which capture so many S/SE swells that on any given day you can be riding. The only problem is that the water gets down to a ball dropping 1 degree C (though I don’t think [or at least hope] that this will be a problem for you), which is enough to keep most of the kooks away. Best of all, there’s hardly ANY localism here and the surfers are friendly and accommodating. Tom Curren recently stopped by and did a little run through as well, and word on the street is Kelly might be on his way soon (with two bad showings on the tour this year it might be sooner than later). A quick look at this weeks forecast:

    Seas: SSE 3.9 to 5 meters at 9 sec.

    I think that speaks for itself.

    But regardless of what coast you surf on, what board you ride, or how many stickers you have on your gear, surfing is, and always has been, about having fun.

    Cheers all

  4. Dude, I grew up surfing Florida and finally went to San Diego. Needless to say, F*$* Florida! I’ve been to Costa Rica and Puerto Rico a half dozen times and I’ve caught waves in California in the summer that rivaled either place. I have another year of school and then I’m West Coast bound. So, yes, another person in the lineup!

  5. West Coast surfing totally rocks! So glad to hear you moved down here, SD-way. When your school has a surf team, you know you are in the right place!

  6. Problem: The majority of your east-coast statements refer to the New York area, Which is only a small portion of the East Coast. Don’t forget about the good ‘ol south!

  7. surfers vs surfers

    We’re all here because we have this thing we do, we surf…it shouldn’t matter whether you are from the east coast or the west coast. It’s not about what kind of waves you got, but what you make of those waves.

  8. Profile photo of Surfing HQ says:

    Hahaha. Props to Biggie!!! we love you hot wahine.

  9. Profile photo of Surfing HQ says:

    “Problem: The majority of your east-coast statements refer to the New York area, Which is only a small portion of the East Coast. Don’t forget about the good ‘ol south!”

    Alright Grom, I’ll take the bait. What’s so special about the south? 😉

  10. Surfing: who’s to say how and where to do it. I mean people surf the freakin’ Great Lakes! Surfers surf for that feeling of interacting with some of the more beautiful aspects of our planet. I personally am from the west coast and would never leave it for anything but the universal vibes that we surfers share are so strong that they connect us from all over the world (this site is a testament to that). However and wherever you may be accessing your ocean existence, please do so with the knowledge that you are so extraordinarily lucky.
    P.S. For best results, consume 1 Jazzle of blueberry trainwreck after every sesh haha.

  11. Its all a matter of preference. I grew up on the east coast. Long Island to be exact and have surfed L.I. and Florida a bunch. Moved to SoCal about 3 years ago and I’m never going back. I visit in florida from time to time and get some waves but souther california by far is superior, HB is surfcity USA damnit! I do love surfing in Brazil though, although I suppose that is “east coast”

  12. Pobby Brown says:

    New Park Pizza in Howard Beach Queens versus Do they have real pizza in Cali?

  13. nah thats not east coast at all. thats a northern city surfers point of view. im in nc and its nothin like that. yea we gotta wait for waves. but its well worth the wait when we do get surf. new york gets some sick surf too but its 2 totally differant lifestyles. We got pretty Carolina girls, big ass trucks, no lattes, and sex wax sucks. west coast does get better waves but you gotta give the east coast more credit.

  14. Pobby Brown says:

    But we have the best pizza and bagels.

  15. Bagels and Lox over Acai ANY DAY

  16. Thassrite. East Coast sucks, especially NY. Don’t come here.

  17. Ajax Lepinski says:

    That’s right, please don’t come to NY – we don’t want you! If you want to talk about NY’s quality surf spots… there is only one place to go and I ain’t spilling! I will tell you that it’s not Rockaway and it’s not Jones Beach, Long Beach, Toby, Gilgo, Montauk or, Robert Moses.
    There is only one place that is fairly consistent in NY – even with a sandy bottom. High or low tide, it has chest deep water for about 100 yards. It’s got a couple of nice, rock jetties that form a left and a right and it barrels during hurricanes.
    NJ has a couple of fantastic spots that barrel as well. You’re going to have to spend a lot on gas to find them cause you won’t here about them from me.

  18. Ajax Lepinski says:

    It doesn’t take any balls to move from Brooklyn to CA. It takes balls to move from CA to anywhere else in the world.

  19. Ajax Lepinski says:

    Just to clarify… I’ve been to CA a dozen or so times and I wish NY had just one Rincon! Why would anyone want to move away from CA – unless you were moving to Hawaii?

  20. Monkey Stink says:

    I know you’re stoked and all, but this is a cery boring relocation story. The “east coast moved to west coast” discovery post is pretty well-trodden territory. I know you’re excited and all, but it’s been happening since the 1960s. I did it in 1996, NJ to SF after a childhood spent surfing NJ year-round in bad wetsuits. Nothing special there. Takes no “balls” (really don’t like when women use this expression) whatsoever to leave Brooklyn and move to CA. As long as you have a way to fund your dream, because it takes money, know that thousands have gone before you and done the same exact thing already.

  21. The East Coast / West Coast beef is as old as time. Tupac / Biggie, NYC / LA, etc. I doubt that this dispute will ever end! But there is ONE thing we can all agree on . . . we ALL love hot chicks in skimpy clothes! I’m just gonna watch that new game show on NBC “Minute to Win It”. I hear they’re settling the beef with an East Coast vs. West Coast Girls of Summer Showdown. 8/7c. I vote we just let hot babes answer the question once and for all.

  22. SIx Foot Glass says:

    While I’m a native Floridian, I gotta say I love San Diego and the well groomed surf it has. But, the crowds are rediculous, and they are about 95% kooks! Sometimes, climbing 200 feet down a cliff still won’t get away from them, and thats something I hate having grown up in a small beach town in FL. Not to mention I have a 3 bedroom house 150 yards from the beach, try getting that in Cali. And, its amazing that a place like Cali that has 150+ days of surf a year has such horrible surfers on average. Not saying there aren’t some rippers that blow me away, but the ratio is much lower than Centrial FL where I grew up, and our surf is crap in comparison.

    To the the poster asking about whats so good about the South, if you don’t know, we’ll never tell you, but the East Coast does get bomb surf. Its just a little less often, but its not nearly as crowded either. And every year, if you watch the winter swells and are wiling to take a quick cheap flight from FL, you can be in epic surf like Cali almost never sees within literally a couple hours on any number of islands in the Carribean. Where exactly are our secrets, but the West Coasters have Baja’s endless secret points to the south. I think East and West both have their pros and cons for surfing. But, if there is to be a tie-breaker it might be that East Coast girls are definately hotter, and definately know how to party harder. In Cali they seem to be either little prudes, or complete freakin’ psychos.

  23. If you wrote an article about life we’d all reach enlgihtnemnet.

  24. Pretty much grew up out west, lived in Hawaii (Bow down) but for pure quality of life for a surfer, I’ll take OBX.

  25. blah blah Blah….. All i hear, is mother f*ckers Tryin to say their spots better…just like the little short board motherf*ckers hating on longboarders.
    Its all about fun, and so many of you think your in the best spot with skill, place people and things.
    I will ride a one footer just as good as an 8, here in Va beach, NC, F*ck new jersey, or california…if its a wave ill ride that shit- brah; and ill have fun either way, from cali to va beach.
    Stop making it whos got a bigger dick cause your f*cking it up for everyone with this stupid Nj Ny West east coast Bullshit. grow the f*ck up peeps and kook punk mother f*ckers.

  26. thejelly says:

    west coast — perfection — cold as hell water -crowded – no board shorts or bikinis

    east coast – (some consistent surf in CERTAIN AREAS of CENTRAL FLORIDA)
    locals have pride that come out of here as PROS ….err NOT COCOA either!
    bikinis and clear warm water very warm water

    east coast – own alot of house- cheap living everyones mostly off work at 3:00 haha that’s the south ! and surf all day or FISH all day if no waves
    cali- own nothing or pay out the butt and work work work to pay for nothing and get a piece of surf maby EARLY
    or LATE at night or weekend warrior

    hot chicks?
    i wouldn;t know because i am one – but the guys are totally hot in florida with tans and bleached hair.

  27. The waves out west are generally much better and more powerful. Because of this, surfing there is more about harnessing the energy of the wave and flowing with it. There are also more waves of consequence. With east coast surfing, you have to produce your own speed, and try to get to the next section. Also, rides are generally shorter and its mostly beach break. (damn continental shelf!). East coast surfers still rip, have fun, and deserve respect. Hurricane and storm swells can be unreal and you can still get your ass handed to you in a wipeout. By the way – Who is the most successful and arguably best professional surfer of all time, and where does he come from? Kelly Slater, and he’s from Florida. Just saying. 🙂
    A question I’d like to hear opinions on is if people think there is a difference in attitudes in the water between East and West coast?

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