Best Months to Surf in Charleston
As much as we'd like to say that Charleston is a year-round surfing destination— that tends to be a stretch of the truth. If you are looking to catch the best waves of the year, plan your Charleston surfing trip or your surfing "staycation" during the Atlantic hurricane season.
While the term "hurricane season" tends to send a shiver down the spines of homeowners, business owners and locals—for surfers it’s prime season. The Atlantic hurricane season falls between June 1 – November 30, peaking from late August through September. Climatologically, the season's peak occurs annually on September 10. These are the months all east coast surfers live for. These months tend to have the most named storm systems that produce world class waves for the east coast. If you have banked days off work—this will be the time to use them. Nothing sends the Charleston coast a better swell than a hurricane tracking up the east coast. Although we typically will get at least a handful of good swells a season, it always pays off to head to the Outer Banks or down to Florida depending on what the storm system is doing.
While we would never advocate to ignore an evacuation notice, you should pay attention to the tracks of storms and plan to surf accordingly. Many storms simply brush by the coast, causing no significant weather impacts, outside of large swells, making this the ideal surfing time. It’s important to note, that novice surfers should be cautious when venturing out in these conditions. Hurricanes and tropical storms can cause significant rip tides and currents, which can be dangerous for novice surfers.
The best way to stay up to date on hurricanes and tropical storm conditions is to follow the National Hurricane Center. There you can track all active storms and the latest trajectories. Again, remember to keep safety first. If conditions take a drastic turn, it’s best to hop out the water and seek shelter in a safe place. While we all love to chase a good swell, it’s important to be mindful when conditions take a turn for the worse. However, the best case scenario is to take advantage of the swells produced by hurricanes and tropical systems that brush past Charleston, leaving the dangerous weather conditions out to sea.
Read our entry recapping the busy 2017 hurricane season for more info on the surf conditions we experienced in Charleston last year.