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livethelife

Stormrider Guide to surfing Brevard County

Florida, USA, NORTH AMERICA


Sebastian Inlet, Mez/ESM

Summary

+ Endless beaches - Small windchop waves
+ Easy waves - Summer flat spells
+ Hurricane swells - Major spots crowded
+ Tourism heaven - High shark bite factor

Florida’s northern coast from Daytona to Jacksonville features a stretch of flat beaches with endless peaks between the occasional jetties and inlets. However, it is the centrally located ‘Space Coast’ that is the surf industry cradle and home to such famous locations as New Smyrna Beach, Cocoa Beach and Sebastian Inlet. Despite the generally poor sandbanks and small mushy conditions that occur most of the time, when a hurricane delivers powerful lines of swell, a few spots will turn on, with classic waves for the large local population, but the wait can be misery.

When to Go

Winter North Atlantic lows send NE swells, varying from 3-10ft, from October to March. Summer can see waves generated by the sea breeze, resulting in sloppy NE or SE wind chop. From August to October, an average of 10 hurricanes tracking from West Africa to the Caribbean may produce quality waves rarely exceeding 8ft. Winds are predominantly onshore with NE-E winds in winter and NW-SE in summer, but the offshores rarely coincide with decent swells. Expect of lot of 2-3ft wind chop conditions. Tidal range affect most spots at 9ft (3m).

Surf Spots

Daytona Beach used to be the hot spot back in the ’60s and is still popular with longboarders, learners and college break revellers. Better waves found at Sunglow Pier on all swells and tides. Ponce Inlet is popular when S-E swells of any size can peel right off the long jetty for long distances. New Smyrna Beach is super-consistent on N-E swells and the long stretch south of the inlet and jetty has good sandbars at high tides, spreading the heavy crowds. Beside the John. F. Kennedy Space Centre, Playalinda is a long beach that will pick up the best of a NE swell and pitch at low tide. Cape Canaveral is off limits, but when big winter NE swells roll in, the pier at Cocoa Beach can provide shelter from the accompanying winds, at a more manageable size, while nearby Jetty Park needs SE swell. There are plenty of sluggish, uninspiring peaks to choose from, that are usually longer and mushier at low tide and tend to become a shorebreak at high tide. Patrick’s Air Force Base, picks up more of the NE swell with some consistent sandbars near the few parking opportunities. Between Patricks and Indialantic is RCs, one of the few big wave spots that breaks in NE swells with some power over coquina reef, a soft limestone containing crushed shells and coral. Indialantic Boardwalk has a steeper beach profile, which in turn provides a steeper, hollower wave. Jacking close-outs are interspersed with some makeable barrels, but the competition is heavy for these pits as well as the few meter parking spots. Melbourne Beach area is residential, so parking is even trickier and locals take advantage of it to improve their knowledge of these shifty but average sandbanks. Florida’s most famous wave Sebastian Inlet sadly no longer bounces and wedges off the curving jetty after a beach replenishment program and major structural renovations altered the angle and currents, disappearing the iconic peaks almost overnight. Even Third Peak has suffered but can provide fast, hollow lefts when the swell shows some north in it. Further up the beach are Chernobyles and Spanish House, which need more swell to get the left tubes happening. All these peaks prefer low to mid tide incoming, but will break through to high, unless it’s small in which case the backwash takes over. The intense crowds and weekend contests are awaiting the resurrection of the First Peak wedges. On a bigger swell, brilliant pointbreak style lefts and shorter rights can be ridden south of the inlet channel at rippy, localised and sharky Monster Hole.

Statistics

J
F
M
A
M
J
J
A
S
O
N
D
dominant swell NE -E NE -E NE -E NE -SE NE -E NE -E
swell size (ft) 3-4 3 1-2 1-2 3 3-4
consistency (%) 70 50 40 20 40 70
dominant wind NW -N E -S E -S SE -SW NE -SE NW -SE
average force F4 F4 F3 F3 F4 F4
consistency (%) 67 64 63 64 77 74
water temp (C) 16 20 24 26 24 21
wetsuit 3/2 springsuit boardshorts boardshorts boardshorts springsuit

Travel Information

Weather
Ideal climate for surfing apart from summers heavy rains, intense heat and lack of swells. September-October, the best surf months, are still rainy with short, pouring showers and thunderstorms which force surfers out of the water to avoid the constant lightning! Springsuit or a 2mm fullsuit from December to March whenever the water gets around 60°-64°F (16°-18°C).

Lodging and Food
Choose from ocean front hotels, spacious condos, beachside cottages, multi-bedroom bungalows to campground and RV sites. Heaps of raw bars, eclectic eateries and gourmet restaurants.

Nature and Culture
Orlando’s Disneyland is notable for Typhoon Lagoon wavepool. The Orange Avenue nightclubs are lively. Check the Kennedy Space Centre in Cape Canaveral.