Chad and Sandy Neumann- Jacksonville Beach – A Surfer’s Secret Spot
Jacksonville Beaches may be one of the most underrated places for surfing. Not only will you find that it is a great area for beginners as well as experts but there is a strong, tight-knit surfer community throughout the area. There are several hot spots for not only just surfing but also for kite surfing. There are numerous local surf shops that offer lessons and is host to numerous surf competitions.
BEST TIME TO SURF
The slowest surf season usually falls between May through July. The waters tend to be the flattest of the year during this time. You can still attempt and sometimes if you are tenacious enough you are able to catch those early mornings’ swells. The waves during this time are a perfect pace for beginner surfers or those who are just learning the sport. The downfall to heading out on the water during this time period is the heat. Florida is known for its hot weather and temperatures can get as high as 100 degrees – leaving not even a dip in the water a way to catch some relief from the heat.
August and September is really when the surf season begins and you can see the height of activity on the beach. This early fall season showcases the best surf swells in northern Florida. October and November are great months to surf as well but more for the experience surfers who look for the best hurricane swells. It is wise to remember that not every storm is a surfer’s best friend – even the most expert surfer. It does tend to get very dangerous out there.
In November and December it isn’t too cold just yet to surf and you will still see lots of activity out on the water. This is because the cold fronts are what brings in the great waves. January through March tends to be frigged. You will need your rubber suit with a hood if you dare to brave the waters. But the upside is that waters will be less crowded.
In the spring, March and April tend to be less predictable waves. Anything can happen but still waters are just around the corner.
SURF HOT SPOTS
There is several surf hot spots located in Jacksonville. One of the most popular places is right on Jacksonville Beach. Compared to the South Florida Beaches where the surf generally only happens when a storm is approaching, beaches in the Jacksonville area tend to have more consistent waves and are more year round. The waves is said to be pretty abundant on Jacksonville Beach. If you are a beginner surfer, the best spot to start is Hanna Park which is just south of the Mayport Naval Base. Not only is this a great place to surf and kit surf, Hanna Park can boast about its fresh water lake, water playground with fountains where you can also fish, kayak and camp.
A popular spot referred to as The Poles by locals is the Mayport Poles located on the southern end of Mayport Naval Station Beach. The Poles are in reference to the poles on the beach that show separation from the public beach and the Navy base. This area is awesome for kiteboarding due to its ability to turn a stormy north swell into left handed lanes. It is fairly easy to reach this area from Jacksonville Beach as all you need to do is drive north on the A1A. Because of this awesome surf, this area tends to more crowded than other surf areas in Jacksonville. There are two great breaks referred to as Lighthouse which is north of the poles and Officers Club which is just north of the lighthouse.
EVENTS NOT TO BE MISSED
One of the coolest events they have for kids called the Super Grom Surf Fest. Grom is slang for new or young surfers. This is a great festival to attend for a family with young kids who are interested in learning about how to surf. To make it even better this event is completely free. It is sponsored by Florida Surfing Association and is held on the south side of Jacksonville Beach Peir. All participants receive lunch, t-shirt, medal and a goody bag. This event is open for kids who are 10 years old and under. You will see kids as young as three participating in this event. While it is great family fun for everyone what makes it unique is that kids get an opportunity to learn how to surf from some of the best surfers native to Jacksonville.
One of the largest surfing contest that takes place on Jacksonville Beach is the Annual WaveMasters Pro/Am which celebrated their 32nd year. Over 200 competitors compete in this event which draws thousands of spectators. Because both pro surfers and armature surfers can compete at this event, the WaveMasters competition is known for giving many armature surfers the platform to emerge as a popular name among the surfing community. There is a ton of media coverage for this event and is great for any company who is looking to popularize their image in the Jacksonville community. Not only is this a great competition but they are responsible for raising thousands of dollars for local youth and environmental charities.