In this guide to surfing Montauk I am going to cover a lot! My husband Brent and I both surf, although very different kinds of waves! I love small longboard waves at Ditch Plains and he loves big barreling waves that only show up during hurricane season.
Included in the guide is a quick FAQ, Montauk surf spots, when to surf in Montauk, surf shops in Montauk, hotels picks for a surf trip and surf lessons in Montauk. No local is going to give up their favorite (secret) local break – but with that being said the breaks I mention below are known surf spots and some of them extremely popular spots to surf in Montauk.
However, if you’re not familiar with the area (which I am guessing you’re not since you’re here) this guide to surfing Montauk is really going to help you out! I’m here to give you the scoop and more details on the different breaks and surf spots in Montauk. You can even check out some of the cameras on Surfline if you have an account.
Surfing Montauk FAQ
Where is Montauk located?
Montauk is the very last town on the south fork of Long Island, New York. Connected only by a small stretch of land, Montauk is surrounded by water on all sides.
Are there waves in Montauk NY?
Short answer: Yes
Long Answer: there are great small waves for longboarding or learning to surf all summer long with an occasional larger swell or hurricane swell in August. The Fall and Winter is when things really get going on the East Coast. Hurricane swells can reach Long Island and if the wind conditions are right this can produce some real quality waves.
How big are the waves in Montauk?
Wave heights vary throughout the year. Like most of the Atlantic coast, waves are inconsistent. Wave heights can reach 15ft+.
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Montauk Surf Spots
The beach that put Montauk on the surfing map.
Ditch Plains is a rock reef that makes perfect little waves in the summer months for longboarding and rippable waves in the Fall and Winter when larger swells fill in from hurricanes in the Atlantic Ocean.
Ditch Plains can work on any tide depending on the size of the swell. The best swell directions for Ditch are East, ESE and SE and best winds are NNW to NE.
In the summer there are plenty of surf lessons and surf camps at Ditch Plains becuase it is a great place to learn. (more on that below!). It is also one of the most popular beaches in Montauk.
Must Read: 10 Best Beaches in Montauk You have to See
We’ve all seen the photo of someone surfing with the Montauk Lighthouse in the back? This is the spot.
Take a right into the Camp Hero State Park before reaching the Montauk Point Lighthouse. You’ll have to pay to park depending on the time of year.
Be aware of large boulders in the water and the rip tides around the point. Turtle Cove should only be surfed by experienced surfers. You put yourself and others at risk so know your own ability before you paddle out.
Turtle Cove works best with a larger SE Swell and NNW wind.
Terrace used to be a solid local beach break but with the introduction of the Surfline camera at Marram Montauk it has quite literally been put on the map.
Terrace is still a local heavy spot so if you paddle out and don’t know what you’re doing expect to be dropped in on when the waves are good.
Terrace works best on a South or ESE swell and North to NW wind direction. Waves are best on an incoming tide.
Beach Breaks along the South Shore
If the swell and wind conditions are just right expect barreling beach breaks all along the southern coast of Montauk and East Hampton. I’m not going to tell you where – finding them is half the fun. 🙂
Coming to Montauk for a few days? My 3 Day Itinerary to Montauk will help you plan the best weekend. Packed with useful information like what to do, what to see, where to eat and more!
When to Surf in Montauk
Surfing Montauk in the Fall
The Fall is definitely the best time of year to score waves in Montauk. Hurricane swells from the south are more frequent providing fun waves up and down the East Coast of the US. Wave heights can reach 10ft plus on occasion.
Water temperatures vary this time of year. September sees the warmest ocean temps all year at around 70 degrees Fahrenheit and by the end of November you may want to grab your thicket wetsuit when ocean temps creep to 50 degrees.
Surfing Montauk in the Winter
Surfing Montauk in the Winter is not for the faint of heart. Expect to wear a 5 mil and still be susceptible to some brain freeze. Strong winds are typical for this time of year.
Except rapidly changing conditions from quickly passing storms and cold fronts. Water temperatures are typically in the low 40’s.
Surfing Montauk in the Spring
Water temperatures are still chilly in the Spring and you’ll probably want to wear a 5 mil until April. Average ocean temperatures are around 40 degrees Fahrenheit in March and 50’s by May!
Montauk can get large swells in the Spring from from cold fronts and nor Easter’s that come and go quickly. Occasionally a storm will hang out off shore for a few days and keep the waves coming.
Surfing Montauk in the Summer
There is not a lot of swell that reaches Montauk in the summer months with the exception of a hurricane swell in late August or September. Wave heights are typically 1-3ft which are perfect for learning to surf or longboarding at Ditch Plains.
Water temperature varies. At the beginning of June Ocean temps are usually in the low 60’s and by September they are about 69-71 degrees Fahrenheit. Keep reading for my favorite surf lessons farther down!
Must Read: 21 Things to do in Montauk in the Summer
Montauk Surf Shops
All three surf shops are located in Montauk town. Air & Speed and Sunset Surf Shack are your classic surf shops while Adam Mar has higher end surf goods and clothing.
Montauk Hotels for a Surf Trip
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- Marram Montauk (*my top pick for a surf trip with your significant other)
- Hero Beach Club
- Gurney’s Resort
Must Read: My 4 favorite Hotels on the Beach in Montauk
Where to get Food in Montauk
This is a loaded question. If you’re here in the summer there are endless options for food. If you’re here to surf a Fall swell you options are cut in half. Below are some of my favorite food options in Montauk.
- Happy Bowls – acai bowls
- Joni’s – great egg wraps
- Goldbergs Bagels – bagels, flagels and egg sandwiches
- Bird on the Roof – best breakfast in Montauk!
- Mr. John’s Pancake House – classic diner breakfast
- Sausages – pizzeria with lots of slice options.
- Blade + Salt – limited slice options but they also have great take out meals!
Pro Tip: Read my Guide to the Best Pizza in Montauk!
Taverns, Pubs & Bars:
- The Dock – my favorite place to eat in Montauk
- Shagwong Tavern – tavern with food and bar for hanging out
- The Point Bar & Grill – sports bar with typical bar food
- Harvest on Fort Pond – family style Italian
- Inlet Seafood – seafood and sushi with great views of the inlet
- 668 Gig Shack – great food & fun vibes
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Surfing Lessons in Montauk
There are great options for surf lessons or surf camps in Montauk for both kids and adults.
East End Surf Club – located at Ditch Plains, East End Surf Club was started by two Montauk locals. They provide private lessons as well as a kids surf camp in July and August.
Corey’s Wave – located at Ditch Plains in the Dirt Lot Parking lot. They have multiple instructors a day and lots of boards and gear for a beginners.
Engstrom Surf School – located in the Marram Montauk hotel, Engstrom Surf School is super convenient if you’re staying at Marram!
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