Top three reasons to go surfing in the Rockaways
Ride the breaks in this legendary East Coast surf spot
The Rockaways are the only NYC beach where surfing is legal
Very accessible location with plenty of parking space
The Rockaways is New York’s go-to spot for city surfers, especially first-timers seeking out surf lessons. Its forgiving waist-high waves help beginners focus on fundamentals, while still offering more experienced surfers a chance to develop their skills. Long stretches of beach house a diverse community, and there’s always space for one more to join. In the end, everyone’s chasing the same goal: to stand up and have a fun ride. It takes practice, but most get there in their first session. In the Rockaways, you’re another New Yorker—just with more sand in your curls and crevices. Find out what surfing on the Rockaways is like from 57hours co-founder Perica Levatic.
Year-round; peak season is September through April
John F. Kennedy Airport is just a short subway ride from Rockaway Beach
Beginner to advanced
Choose how you spend your day
1-Hour Private Surfing Lesson
If you don’t have a lot of time on your hands, this one-hour lesson is a good way to try out and learn to surf in Rockaway Beach, NYC. Regardless of your experience, you’ll get the chance to brush up on your skills and learn some new ones, as it will be only you and your instructor.
90-Minute Private Surfing Lesson
This 90-minute mini-surf school on Rockaway Beach, New York, is an in-between type of deal if an hour on the waves is not enough for you, but two are stretching your schedule. Your instructor will tailor the experience to your needs and abilities.
2-Hour Private Surfing Lesson
If you’re looking for special attention and an experience catered completely to you, private two-hour surfing lessons are the perfect way to get to know Rockaway Beach, NYC. Time to suit up, grab your stick and get amped!
Group Surfing Lesson
Surfing is all about being a part of the community, so bring your own to some lessons on Rockaway Beach! Small groups make sure everyone gets plenty of attention, tailored to all the individual skill levels. Joining us alone? You’ll be placed with peers with similar experience.
Meet your guide
Surf Lessons New York 101
I had a great experience in a recent group lesson with New York Surf School. The owner, Frank, is super friendly and accommodating and our instructor, Felipe, made sure we had the fundamentals down before we went out in the surf. Another instructor, Simon, joined us in the water so we had 2 instructors for only 4 students (all beginners). Both instructors were upbeat and gave a lot of tips and positive reinforcement when any of us showed a little progress. We got a ton of rides in during our two hours. The equipment (boards and wetsuits) was high quality and in good condition. Overall it was a great day, definitely worth the money and highly recommended.
We had a 9am group lesson today, they are super welcoming and encouraging to all students including those who have never surfed before. Even taking baby steps in the water with waves, I felt my instructor Greg helped me gain confidence to pop up and stand on the board to ride a wave rather than take it on one knee. On the website they said it was a preformed group lesson, they have so many great instructors and we got a fantastic semi private lesson. We were happy they let us stay together as I wouldn’t have been as comfortable in a group without my girlfriend . I felt more confident and enthusiastic about surfing and catching waves than when I walked on the beach. Highly recommend this for anyone learning to surf!!!
My 9 year old daughter had such a great time. She was able to get up and catch a lot of waves throughout the day. They were COVID and sun safe and created a fun learning environment. My daughter’s confidence with her surfing is sky high now and she loves that she got a nickname. She has been telling everyone that she is a ‘hurricane’. lol She will definitely be going back.
I had a great time with these guys, my Instructors Amanda and Shawn were really nice and very good at teaching. After an insightful intro we were in the water and I was up on the board sooner than I ever thought I would thanks to them. As I mentioned before they’re also cool people, I hope to go once more before the season ends.
Things to know
Covid measures in Rockaway
57hours is committed to providing safe outdoor adventure experiences. We require all guides using our platform to have a COVID-19 safety plan and to make the details of that plan accessible to travelers. In most cases, group sizes will be reduced, guides will avoid overcrowded locations, and other safety measures will be met depending on the location and activity.
We also expect clients to respect local regulations and take measures to protect themselves, guides and the communities they’re travelling to. For more information on COVID-19 measures in Rockaway please refer to the New York City Covid-19 Citywide Information Portal.
What’s included in the price?
For all surfing clinics and courses, you’ll be paired with an experienced local instructor with extensive surfing knowledge, and all the technical gear you need.
- Experienced local instructor with extensive surfing knowledge
- Up to 2 hours of surf lessons
You can continue to use all borrowed gear like surfboards and wetsuits after the lesson for an additional rental fee. Let us know in the booking process, and we’ll make sure you’re set up with the gear you need. Your instructor will call you after the booking to arrange the details. If you have your own equipment, you are free to use it during lessons.
How fit do I need to be?
No one expects you to swim like you’re in the Olympics, but to take part in these surfing lessons in the Rockaways, you need to be able to keep your head above water and know how to tread.
You’ll feel much more comfortable in the ocean if you’re sure you can swim at least two lengths of a pool. Keep in mind that surfing is physically straining, like any sport, so you should prepare beforehand with stretching and light cardio. This way, you’ll be better equipped to handle what the ocean throws, and in a better position to ride the waves with ease.
For kids who are not very good swimmers, we recommend a one-on-one private lesson. They will be kept in shallow water with the constant and complete attention of an expert surf instructor.
What if I’ve never surfed before?
Surf lessons are recommended for anyone new to surfing.
Waves are smaller in the Rockaways, making this New York hot spot an ideal setting for your first surfing class. A surf instructor will teach you how to be safe, have fun and work toward standing up on your board. It’s all worth a bit of practice, we promise!
What should I bring to the beach?
Here’s what you’ll need:
- Day pack large enough to carry all the items listed (around a 40L bag)
- Water bottle
- Food you can eat on-the-go
- Toiletries (sunscreen, bug spray, toilet paper, etc.)
- Camera — optional
Group sizes and age requirements
Group sizes and prices:
- The group size for these private lessons are usually between 1–10 people.
- Costs per person decrease as the group grows for private lessons, so it’s the perfect opportunity to surf with friends and family.
- If you’re joining group lessons alone, you’ll be placed with peers with similar experience.
- Lessons are held seven days a week, at 7 AM, 9 AM, 11 AM, 12:30 PM.
Surfing in the Rockaways can be arranged for bigger groups. Contact us prior to booking.
Min. age requirements:
- If you are older than 18, you’re good to go.
- While there is not necessarily a minimum age to surf, there are minimum requirements, such as height and weight.
If your group has surfers under the age of 18, contact us prior to booking to make arrangements.
Getting there and meeting locations
The Rockaways, NY, can be easily reached by car, subway, bus, LIRR and ferry. There is free street parking throughout the area.
Once you and your guide agree on the details of your itinerary, your guide will suggest the best place to meet, usually at a predetermined spot on the beach. Be sure to arrive about 15 minutes early so you can check in, put on a wetsuit and start your lesson on time.