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New York vs SoCal: Surfing Culture

ARVERNE, NY - Rockaway Beach sits only twenty miles from Manhattan, New York as the crow flies, yet it might as well be on a different planet. Believe it or not, there is a strong surfer culture here that is equally protective, loyal, and caring, and very much on par with Southern California. There are many differences however, especially in terms of cultural identities.

A surfer walks along the beach looking for a good swell. Image courtesy Diana Diroy/CNN

"The people in Rockaway, we are foreigners. Out there [in Southern California] most likely

locals and it's different"- Surfer Offer Miara.

What any good surf spot requires is a good swell. Unlike Southern California, a lot of the swells at Rockaway come from Tropical storms. Some of the best surf of the year came from storms such as Hurricane Larry and Hurricane Henri.

"Those days are the best days. It was like seven or eight of us out in the water as opposed to

being shoulder to shoulder with everyone."- Surf instructor Chris Sheehy.

Places like Rockaway Beach and Long Beach Island are New York’s answer to Malibu and

Santa Monica surfing. This is more so in terms of cultural vibes but with the actual surf, there are a lot of differences.

“Rockaway or most of Long Island is gonna be beach break, but California you can find a lot of points." - Southern California Transplant Eric (last name not specified).

It's easy enough to hop on the A train to Beach 98 Street and realize you're on the sand. Other accessible ways are by ferry from Brooklyn or Manhattan and by car. The Rockaway Peninsula is now becoming a tourist hot spot to overnight guests, but hasn't let go of the day trip vibe either.

As Southern California still stands strong as the epicenter of surfing in the United States, New York and the East Coast isn’t far behind. Differences however are obvious such as culture and the way the surf actually breaks.


Video Credit: The New Yorker


Video Credit:

Milo Burris-Coulter

By Milo Burris-Coulter

With Contributions fromCNN

Video - Milo Burris-Coulter, The New Yorker

Photo - Diana Diroy, Buzz Ballz


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