There is a quote Galveston surfers often use - "If you can surf in Galveston, you can surf anywhere!" By this they mean it is hard to surf there because of the Texas coast's bad reputation for producing small, choppy, inconsistent surf. Surfers have long been known to try to keep the best spots to themselves, and this adage exemplifies the tradition of surfers trying to downplay good spots, such as Galveston. Although not a world-renowned surfing mecca, for the committed, there are definitely those perfect days that make it all worthwhile.
Galveston is the highest place on the Texas coast that gets fairly consistent surf. The Texas coast gets a lot of wind, and kite surfing and wind surfing are very popular as well. The system of sandbars and troughs, coupled with the shallow bottom, causes a thin-walled wave. Because of this, the waves are usually small and gentle- an overhead day is not common.
That said, when a storm system enters the Gulf, or right after one of the many frontal systems that move through the area, there can be days of long, glassy, beautiful, sizable surf that rivals the surf anywhere. Summer is very inconsistent, but the rest of the year, particularly in the spring, it's definitely worth the effort. Because they have to stay tuned into the constantly changing conditions to get the big payoff, surfers in Galveston are among the most committed in the world.
The most consistent spots are along the Seawall, where there are 15 rock jetties and several fishing piers. The most popular breaks are near 25th Street, and near the 37th , 47th, 51st, and 61st Street jetties. In the summer months surfing is allowed on the west end of the island at the beach access roads and between the Flagship pier and 53rd Street. These are called "multi-use areas" and permit surfboards, hard-bottomed boogie boards, wind and kite surfers, other hard-bottomed craft. The area near the Galveston Island Historic Pleasure Pier at 25th is usually a slower, wave that is great for beginners and long boarders, and 37th street is a more performance oriented, aggressive wave.
Inexperienced surfers should stay away from the piers and jetties and not surf on days the Galveston Beach Patrol flies a red flag. Leashes are required on the Seawall beaches during the summer months. All surfers should be familiar with the "multi-use area" regulations in Chapter 8 of the city code. Questions can be directed to the Galveston Beach Patrol at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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