50 years ago Bruce Brown, Robert August, and Mike Hynson left on an around-the-world surf trip for the filming of “The Endless Summer. The trip forever changed their lives and the resulting surf film sparked viewers’ sense of adventure and the idea of traveling to different countries to find waves. As we type, Robert August is currently in South Africa, 50 years later, returning to the spot where Bruce, Mike and he found “the perfect wave”, Cape St. Francis.
As surfers, we dream about having waves like this everyday, but in reality we are stoked just to be out in the water and surf what Mother Nature sends our way. We cherish our home breaks; the waves, our friends, and the food and drink after a great session. And when we are treated to a perfect day at our home break, there is nothing sweeter.
For the MI OLA team, from our Chief Bikini Officer, Helena, to our Brand Ambassadors, our home breaks just happen to be located all over the world. We feel ever-so-fortunate to have a collective wealth of knowledge on these spots and we are stoked to share the love with you…just in case you are in search of the perfect wave or the best post-surf meal of your life! First up is the first ever home break for Helena AND team rider Kristen Brown, Rockaway.
Location: Rockaway, Queens, NY Rockaway is the first surf break on western Long Island in New York. Yes, the East Coast of the USA does get waves, and Rockaway get its fare share of waves, especially during hurricane season and the winter! In addition to the surf-beach town locals, because of the close proximity to Manhattan, there are a good amount of city dwellers that call Rockaway their home break. Read below for more details!
Where to surf: 90th street usually has the best waves, plus there is some great food and water holing holes nearby. Down on 69th street you can take a lesson from one of the surf schools. Kristen recommends New York Surf School…where she took her first surf lesson. There are jetties up and down the beach, and it is all sandy bottom. Best time to surf is mid-to-high tide.
Best time of year to surf: Hurricane season (anywhere from August-late October) and the winter.
Water Temperature: During the summer, you can rock your MI OLA bikini with the warm water temperature. The rest of the year, you will definitely need wetsuit!
Crowd factor: You are bound to make several best friends during the summer months. Once hurricane season and the cold weather roll in, the surf starts getting serious. That, and the cold water is an automatic crowd control.
Apres Surf: Rockaway Beach Surf Club is a great bar and hangout. It also has surfboard storage and good food. Helena says “RBSC is my tico husband Carlos’ favorite place to hang out when we’re in NYC. It’s got a great vibe. The owners are great. Other great spots include Uma’s – for wicked good Uzbek food. (Try it, you’ll like it!), Bungalow Bar and Thai Rock are 2 yummy restaurants with a view of the Jamaica Bay. Conolly’s is a Rockaway bar institution. Finally, the Wharf is my favorite place to hang, grab a beer and watch the sunset. ”
One thing to keep in mind when you come to Rockaway… everything got pretty much destroyed by Hurricane Sandy less than two years ago. By eating and drinking in Rockaway, you’re helping small business owners recover.
How to get there: You’ve got a few options – train, bus, boat or automobile.
- Train: From Manhattan hop on the A train that goes to Far Rockaway (not Lefferts Blvd). To get to 90th street you will need to change trains at Broad Channel and take the Shuttle to 90th. Stay on the A train if you want to go to 69th street. Hint: just look for the surfers carrying their surfboards in the subway and follow them!
- Bus: In addition to the public bus system, the NYC Beach Bus runs from Williamsburg and Downtown Brooklyn to Rockaway. Round trip costs $12, but sign up early! When we checked on a Thursday afternoon, all the morning buses to the beach were already sold out!
- Boat: SeaStreak Ferry You arrive in style – best commute ever! This is how our Chief Bikini Officer Helena usually gets to and from the Rock. There is a ferry from downtown Manhattan (Pier 11) to Rockaway. During the week, the ferry runs often and costs $7 roundtrip. During the weekend, the price goes up (HIGH!) to $30 roundtrip. Beverages and food are available on board and believe me, once you try it – you’ll do it again.
- Automobile: If you have a car, just park it on the street near the break, hide your valuables, and stash your key in your MI OLA rashguard pocket.
Have fun, be safe and no dropping in on the locals!