Catch A Wave

Big Break: Montauk's Ditch Plains.Photo: Ericka McConnell

Amped? Stoked? Otherwise afflicted by a desire to ride fast-moving barrels of churning ocean water? Montauk will cure what ails you. There, at the easternmost end of Long Island, you’ll find the Right Coast’s answer to California dreamin’–dramatic hundred-foot-tall bluffs; clean, consistent waves; and an appealing mix of old-school surfers and young, adrenaline-crazed shredders.

Working east from the town of Montauk, there are more than a half-dozen well-known breaks. On days when there’s a robust swell, the waves at Ditch Plains, the area’s most popular spot, break both left and right, and the rides are fast and long. Next comes Trailer Park (much like Ditch Plains), Big Rock (usually a left slide), and Cavett’s Cove (below the spot where the retired talk-show host’s Stanford White home burned to the ground). Surfers looking for bigger waves head to Camp Hero, a rock-studded patch of right breakers beneath the cliffs on which a World War II gun battery once stood, and Turtle Cove, the farthest east and perhaps best Montauk break, just below the Montauk Lighthouse.

After sundown, wander to the Shagwong Tavern on Main Street for burgers and beers. Grizzled commercial fisherman sit at the bar. Surfers sit behind them at the tables, lying about the size of the waves they caught, and staring at the TV for news of summer storms.

Details: Montauk’s Air and Speed Board Shop (631-668-0356) sells and rents surf gear and offers lessons.

See also:
Local Beaches
An expert guide to where to drop your towel.

Catch A Wave