Surfs Up on Hilton Head Island

Surfing on Hilton Head Island 


Whenever it’s a good surf day, a tsunami of text messages hit Hilton Head Islanders cell phones in the early hours of the morning....It's not often the conditions are perfect but when they are... everyone is on board! 

Island surfer groups run the gamut from competitive surfers to those that just want to  catch a wave once in a while. But, one thing they all have in common: they love Hilton Head Island and the ocean.


“The surf community is the best part about surfing in Hilton Head,” began Eric Norman. “Everyone here is very chill. A lot of us have surfed all over the world and we have raised our kids surfing here. When kids like my son Wyatt were young, everyone was so stoked when they caught their first wave. Now, it’s so cool watching them catch wave upon wave. Everyone is so encouraging here.”

Wyatt likes surfing here so much that now at the age of 16 is a surf instructor during the summer months to help other people learn and enjoy the sport. “I have taught people as young as four and as old as 96,” said Wyatt.

Both Eric and Wyatt say if you can learn to surf here you can surf anywhere. “For the most part the waves are mellow and there is no push which some beginners like but when we have storms it can get really gnarly so we have a full plethora of waves,” explained Eric.

“It’s also great because there are not a lot of water hazards. There’s nice consistent sand underneath your feet,” said Wyatt. 

Chris Hughes and his son Cody also are avid local surfers. “It’s a small group and a lot of camaraderie within it,”  said Chris, who then provided some tips for people looking to surf here in Hilton Head. 

“The two most popular beaches are North Forest Beach and Burkes,” agreed Chris and Cody. “The best time to go out is two to three hours before high tide. August 15th to December 1st is the most consistent and during that time you have a mixture of hurricanes and winter fronts.” 

Chris and Cody also pointed out that Hilton Head is great for beginners and experienced surfers alike because quite often “you can just enjoy surfing on your own or with a few friends unlike other places that can be very crowded.” 

Allie Roberts who owns Forest Beach Surf and Cycle (a great locally-owned place to rent boards, get instruction, and find surf merch) with her husband and instructor JT spoke about her love of surfing in an interview with the Hilton Head Chamber of Commerce. In addition to believing surfing is a sport the whole family can enjoy, especially on Hilton Head, she touched on the surf community and why it is so special here. “We are all just trying to preserve what we love and why we live here.”

To learn more about surfing in the area, here are a few websites to check out!