East Beast Weekly: South Shore, Nantucket

A dream summer getaway destination, Nantucket, is not always known for its waves as much as for simply its beaches in general. Rising up out of the sandy bottom of the Atlantic Ocean, the island is ringed by a continuous sandy beach from east coast in Siasconset to the all the way to the west coast in Madaket, 14 miles away. This makes for an incredible vacation beach, with not a boulder or a rocky point in sight. It also makes for one of the best beach breaks on this side of the country - Madequecham, Radar, Nobadeer, Cisco, and Surfside are the big names, but you can’t go wrong anywhere along the South Shore.

Like most East Coast surf spots, Nantucket is inconsistent and completely unpredictable. One day can be huge and the next flat; the only way to get a great surfing day is to spend every day at the beach and hope that the storm from the night before kicked up some big ones. When Nantucket is reported to be flat, the water will be flat - everywhere. It’s too small of an island for it to be breaking on one beach and not breaking somewhere else. However, when it is good, it gets really, really good (and even better because of the continuous flat beach in both directions, in that you can always find waves to yourself - no sharing!). Three or four times a summer (late June - late August), the Atlantic will kick up some incredible, shapely waves of the like you would only expect to see somewhere along the equator. The fall is hurricane season, and while most people have left the island to go back to school/ work, the best waves you will see all year happen from fall to winter (I always pray for an early tropical storm in August). Storms make an East Coast surfer happy - even a hurricane making landfall somewhere in South Florida will inevitably send some nice swell up the east coast, smashing into Nantucket’s south shore like a hammer. There’s no better feeling than parking your car, hopping out without even turning it off and running up the dune to catch a glimpse of a massive peak way out the back, knowing that your day is about to get a whole lot better. Nantucket is where it all began for me, and it is one of the best surf spots I have ever known.

Sea's the Day!
Written by: Will Holding

caroline danehy