Nantasket: Better Than it Looks


I was pleasantly surprised to catch some waist high swell with nobody out at Nantasket Beach this morning. It looked small and crumbly on the surf cams, but after arriving and paddling out I discovered a longboard heaven. I scored a couple of touchdowns and had some amazing slides. It was small and gutless, but it doesn't get much better at this size for longboarding.

While there are some other breaks to explore in Hull, the main beach of Nantasket isn't what I would call a great surf break. On most days, It's more convenient than good and it can be potentially crowded when the internet is hyping a swell during the warmer months. It does pick up surf from more angles than most beaches in the area, like Scituate and Marshfield, but the wind is a constant issue. Potentially, there are a lot of rideable days in a year, but many sessions are ruined by strong onshore winds and extreme tides.

Nantasket has a decent window for picking up surf and it can work on different tide situations given the size and period of the swell. Everything from the east and north hits this beach. Additionally, it's exposed to south swells if they have enough east in them to make it around the Cape protection. There are a ton of peaks lining the little peninsula of Hull. Tropical swells from the east-southeast can light the area up in late summer/early fall, and it does in fact get all-time under these conditions. If the wave period is too long it does have a tendency to wall up and close out on the main beach, but if the angle is good and you've got the right equipment, Nantasket can be a fun wave.

The south end of Nantasket can offer protection and tame bigger swells during the winter and spring time. I've caught it pretty fun on gigantic NE conditions during higher tides. There can be some nice sandbars between the hotel and paragon park area. It varies year to year, storm to storm. Again, the wind often trashes the swell that hits Nantasket beach, but sometimes the south end can turn the chaos into something more manageable as the tide pushes in.

Beware of summers in Nantasket! The weather might be better, but there are people everywhere who aren't necessarily experienced beach-goers. Surf campers, yoga moms, and soccer dads with their soft-tops take over the beaches by 9am. Once it gets shoulder high+, it does clean them out a bit, but if you want to get a few slides, on small waves, using a longboard, you'd better get there early. It isn't too difficult, the sun comes up by 4:30 so you can get several hours in before the circus arrives. In the afternoons the city folks from Quincy and beyond roll in with their plastic chip bags, bud light cans, and jack daniels nips. They actually use the beach as a trashcan. It's pretty sad. So if you visit Nantasket Beach, do your part, try and keep it clean.

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