Surfers are unique people. Despite all the stereotypes and clichés, they neglect to note that surfers are the best for picking out the best beaches. It’s almost like their “spidey-senses” tingle when a good wave passes by. While surfers know them as Pipeline, Swamis, or Turtles; you might know them as Haleiwa, Hawaii; Encinitas, California and Montauk, New York.
Long Island is, traditionally speaking, not known as a surf spot. Instead, they’re known for terrible TLC shows, excellent diners and Public Enemy. But at what locals call “The End”, there’s Montauk, a quaint little fishing town that has been transformed into a surfing enclave. It offers cold water swells that come in from the south, west, and east. Montauk is a rarity on the East Coast because it consistently offers a varied swell. For those who don’t surf, it’s possible to just hit the beach and tan. There’s also six state parks to adventure around.
The Pipeline is special. In Hawaii, waves get measured at the back rather than the front. That means, when surfers are riding a 12-15 footer at Pipeline, the rest of the world would consider it a 25-foot wave. If you were to get sucked over the falls, you aren’t going to land on pillowy, white sand. Instead, you’ll find a razor-sharp reef to cushion your fall. There is a reason why Pipeline is considered “the deadliest wave in the world”. Despite all of the warnings to grommets, the North Shore still offers one of the best rides in the world. If you’re not up for riding a 25-foot wave, you’re still in one of the best vacation spots in the world. You’re on the island of Oahu, man! There are pristine beaches! There’s delicious Hawaiian food! If you’re not feeling the sleepy beach town vibe and you’re yearning for some nightlight, Honolulu is just a quick drive away.
Southern California, in and of itself, is “surfy”. Throw a dart at a map of Southern California, and you’ll find somewhere that tries to classify itself as beachy and cool. Encinitas, though, is somehow different. They’ve embodied the “California Cool Surf Culture” a lot better and a lot more. Swami’s is an internationally known point break that was named after Swami Paramhansa Yogananda’s Self-Realization Fellowship. Swami’s is unique because the swells allow for all levels of surfers. Absolute beginners can start off here on a long or short board while league champions can also find a good ride too. Basically, this is a good starting off point for surfers and non-surfers alike.
Surfers are the best because they really aren’t inclined to judge. No shirts, no shoes, and you’ll still get service. Even if you don’t feel comfortable ripping one on your long board and get barreled at Pipeline, you should still go if only to experience the culture.