Typically surfing is thought of as a California (or Hawaii) pursuit, but New York City is home to a healthy population of boarders, many of whom head to Rockaway Beach to ride the waves. (You can also go kayaking in NYC–who knew?) If you count yourself among them—or are interested in joining the gang—then head to these a surf shop in New York for great gear and solid advice from the pros before hitting the best beaches in New York.
Find a great surf shop in NYC
Located in the Rockaways just a stone’s throw from all the action, Breakwater is particularly beloved by novice surfers who appreciate the shop’s helpful, no-judgment attitude. Whether you’re looking to suit up, get advice on the day’s surfing conditions or rent a board if you don’t feel like schlepping your own ($10 for an hour, $25 for three hours, $30 for the whole day), Breakwater’s your place. Look for ultra-flexible wetsuits from West ($180–$230), surfboards from Teqoph ($620) and paddleboards from Riviera ($950).
The ever-popular outdoor apparel store’s Bowery location is a little-known gem among serious surfers who prize its surfer-dude vibe; the store gets extra cool points for being located inside the former rock club CBGB. Fully stocked for all your surf needs, including wetsuits, short boards, leashes and wax, the shop’s prize is its collection of FCD boards, handmade in Ventura and praised by surfers for their speed and versatility ($650–$2,000).
Whether you’re a surfer, skater or snowboarder, this vast Dumbo storefront has you covered with a robust selection of surfboards, leashes and wetsuits, plus snowboards and boots and skateboards for those who stick to surfing on dry land. Surfboard brands include Superbrand ($635–$760), Haydenshapes ($680–$795) and Firewire wood boards ($725–$765), and wetsuits from O’Neill offer comfort, flexibility and warmth at a range of prices ($100–$380).
Owner Tom Sena has been running this tucked-away surf shop for more than 40 years, and he was building boards well before that (since 1969). The family-run business stands as New York’s oldest surf shop and one of the oldest on the East Coast, period. Specializing in handmade surfboards (starting at $299), fiberglass skim boards ($39) and boogie boards (starting at $20), as well as accessories like surfboard leashes and wetsuits, this gem is the reliable go-to spot for all your basic surfing needs.
A surf company for the eco-conscious, Imaginary’s boards are handmade from start to finish in Williamsburg using reclaimed or locally grown wood. An alternative to traditional polyester boards, Imaginary’s paulownia, cedar and redwood models are as light or lighter than standard boards; because they’re handmade, they take twice as long to construct and cost quite a bit more ($700–$1,000). If you ding your board, bring it back to the shop for a free repair, and if you break it, your next one’s 10 percent off.
Boarders accommodates surfers of all stripes: Novices should check out the surfboards and bodyboards available for rent ($35 for four hours, $5 to rent a wetsuit), while the more advanced will surely drool over the selection of old-school Matador surfboards ($550–$900) and leashes (starting at $24). Stocked with carefully crafted hand-shaped boards, such as a high-performance red-and-black-checkered short board ($575) used for tackling those bigger waves, this cozy shop appreciates and values the quality of handmade products.