The Winter Surfers of New England

(Photo: Jon Gaffney)

Jon Gaffney of Gear Patrol braved the winter weather to go in search of some of the most daring surfers in the United States. He found them on the coast of New Hampshire, a narrow strip of shoreline known for having the best surfing conditions in New England. You can see more photos from his trip here.

Gaffney calls these daredevils the "athlete-contrarians" of New England who patiently wait for the harshest of weather winter weather conditions to ride 8-10 foot waves. The water is 38ºF, so the surfers wear neoprene wetsuits 6 millimeters thick, as well as booties and mittens. Gaffney writes that this hardy bunch is motivated by the challenge of extreme surfing:

Surfers rotate in and out of the water during the lull between each set. Those exhausted after a few hours of floating in ice water emerge red-faced and smiling to swap stories and tips with those who are headed in. But conversations on the beach are brief; it’s too cold to stand around idly. With the elements stacked against them, it’s clear that these guys love what they’re doing and wouldn’t trade it for any fireside, not when the surf’s this good. Hour upon hour there’s a constant stream of people more than willing to surf in weather that would deter most people from taking a walk.

-via American Digest


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