For anyone looking for the best waves for surfing in Florida, New Smyrna Beach North of Canaveral is the place to go. Known locally as magnetic waves, the waves of Izmir are ideal for horseback riding or hot dogging and are now considered the most consistent surf. Florida can have great waves, but only under specific conditions. Unfortunately, Florida's marine geography is not suitable for good, consistent waves.
Due to many different factors, wind, wave and wave conditions do not affect the coast on a regular basis. Certain places on Florida's east coast can have surprisingly good surf waves, at the top and at full speed, when the specific conditions apply. This is especially true during hurricanes and heavy offshore storms. Especially if a major storm is stationed offshore, it can generate large, sustained waves and “ground swell” conditions, rather than the short, careless waves which are more common. For anyone visiting or moving to Florida from California, prepare to be disappointed.
Compared to the Pacific Ocean, the surfing conditions in the Atlantic are not as good. West Coast waves generally have a much longer period and the waves are better organized than any wave found in Florida. In general, waves in California and the West Coast are caused by “ground waves”. This describes the nature of wave energy. Soil waves are a function of smooth, consistent wave energy transmitted across a vast, uninterrupted area. This is also known as “Fetch”.
Energy travels over such long distances, wave patterns have the opportunity to soften, and waves form a predictable and consistent pattern. By comparison, Florida's swell is generally “wind swell” driven by localized wind patterns. These waves usually form less than 100 miles from the coast. With this wave of wind, wave periods are short and the waves will always be “more messy” than those found on the west coast. In general, you cannot surf in the Florida Keys due to coral reefs, marine geography and the resulting lack of waves.
The Florida Keys are protected by the Great Florida Reef which is the third largest barrier reef in the world. It extends south near the Florida coast from Miami to Dry Tortugas. This reef is great for many reasons and offers invaluable protection during hurricanes and tropical storms. But it also means that there is little or no wave action in Key West or any of the other cays. Without waves there is no surf.
Oddly enough that's also the reason why there are so few natural sandy beaches in the Florida Keys. The potential for waves for surfing in Florida is limited due to the “shadow of the Bahamas”. This refers to the area west of the Bahamas archipelago which blocks and interrupts the energy of oncoming waves before it reaches the Florida coast. In some places, the Bahamas are very close (just 50 miles) to Florida's east coast so the archipelago acts as a “chain of barrier islands”.This can benefit and protect Florida during hurricanes but it also means that the energy of the waves in the open ocean is interrupted before it can become a good wave for surfing in Florida. Because of the location of the Bahamas islands this is especially true in case of waves from east or southeast. The shadow of Bahamas is reduced along Florida's north coast and in area generally above Fort Pierce.
Cocoa Beach is surfing capital of USA East Coast and it has some of best surfing spots in Florida. Cocoa Beach is at epicenter of surfing culture and history in Florida. The waves of Cocoa Beach produced legendary surfers such as Kelly Slater among others. Cocoa Beach is one of closest surf spots to Orlando. Travel time varies depending on traffic and day of week but Cocoa Beach is typically less than hour drive from Orlando. The stretch between Cocoa Beach and Melbourne has several good locations.
The best ones to “work” will depend on current conditions especially tide storm status and seasonal wind patterns. Many beaches on this stretch of coast have sandy bottoms although some have rocky bottoms. Most agree that most consistent surf waves are between Ponce Inlet and Sebastian Inlet. Sebastian Inlet is one of best places to surf in Florida without doubt. It has one of most fascinating waves in world with equally interesting story since it was created and ruined by accidental human action. Sebastian Inlet gets waves almost all year round.
The site benefits from unique hydrological conditions from water that flows from Indian River lagoon and from Sebastian Inlet pier which reflects and increases wave energy. Sebastian Inlet is often described as center of universe for competitive surfing on East Coast. Not surprisingly Sebastian Inlet wave produced some of best and most respected surfers in history learn about wave and how it has changed over time courtesy of Florida Surf Museum. The surf season in Florida generally runs from late September to early May however ideal conditions for surfing vary depending on season and specific weather conditions especially presence of storms on high seas. The months September to November from middle to end of hurricane season usually good months for surfing due to storms and unreliable wave patterns especially if big storm persists offshore it can generate big waves for surfing. In these precious times Florida surfers travel and drive along coast to their favorite places depending on place with best waves because its warm climate you can generally surf all year round in Florida if there are good waves to surf many people prefer wetsuits others don't consider them necessary during cold winter months its best plan use wetsuit. Florida's potential for highest waves for surfing lies along its east coast between Ponce Inlet and Sebastian Inlet with Cocoa Beach being at its epicenter where legendary surfers such as Kelly Slater have made their mark!.
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