First time ever surfing on the East Coast. First all alone session. First time completely cold feet. Rockaway beach – still stoked when I think about that day.

I visit NYC regularly. I have family there so it’s easier for me. This time I knew my visit won’t be only about exploring the city. This time my goals were surfing bound. The first one was to catch some waves at Rockaway Beach – a surf spot located in Queens.
Getting there…
… wasn’t easy or cheap from our place (Woodland Park, NJ). We had to take two bridges (about $25 in tolls) and it took us a better part of an hour to get there. Traveling with subway from Manhattan is better and much cheaper. But once we parked it was totally worth it!
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Felt like summer
It was October 29th and the air temperature was 20 degrees Celsius (water around 16 degrees). The sun was shining and the surfing conditions were ideal for my skill level: offshore wind, 8 seconds period, 3-4 feet surf. I was supposed to take a surfing lesson with the Locals Surf School but it took me a while to contact them and by then they were fully booked for that day.
I knew I couldn’t let go (I wasn’t going to just stand there watching everyone else surfing!) so I went to the nearest surf shop – Breakwater Surf – and rented an 8 foot foamy which was the best option for that day. By the way, the place is really cool and I had very productive chat with the owner about technical aspects of surfboards.
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Very productive session
Being alone (without a surfing instructor) in the lineup felt proud. I sat with the other surfers and enjoyed the moment. And then the fun began.
I learned a lot that day:
  1. First, I need to be more patient. I wanted to catch too many waves. „You attack three times more waves then the others” said my wife and brother-in-law who were watching me from the shore. No wonder I was exhausted after an hour.
  1. Second, when the water temperature is around 16 degrees Celsius it’s good to have surfing boots. My feet felt really cold after that session.
  1. Third, I need to work on my timing and stand up earlier on my board. That way I will spend more time sliding on the green wave instead of fighting for balance in white water.
Rockaway Beach was very welcoming. I will definitely come back.
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All photos by Voytech.