South Padre Island Texas gets more and better waves than anywhere on the East Coast of North America and in the Gulf of Mexico. Here a few good places and ways to enjoy the surf on South Padre Island.
Popular Spots to hit the waves around South Padre Island
The entire coastline of South Padre Island is open for surfing of all kinds, without restriction. To avoid crowds just pick an empty spot that looks good and go.
Isla Blanca Park and the Jetty
The most popular spot for surfers to gather on South Padre Island is at the Jetty in Isla Blanca Park, at the Southern tip of South Padre Island. The Jetty helps to clean up and regulate the swell, and even on big wave days there can be a whole range of wave sizes from small to large depending on how close to the Jetty you are.
Boca Chica Beach
Boca Chica Beach is not actually located on South Padre Island, but is the beach across the boat channel from the Isla Blanca Park and South Padre Jetty. Boca Chica is a great place to surf when the swell is coming from the North. To get to Boca Chica beach drive to Boca Chica BLVD in Brownsville and following it to the ocean. From there drive onto the beach and head North to the Jetty.
Wanna Wanna is a beachside bar and grill located on South Padre Island, and is another popular spot to head into the surf.
Just a mile north of the Wanna Wanna is the Tiki Resort, a collection of ocean side condos and apartments. Take Padre BLVD North to White Sands St. There is a small parking lot at the beach.
Mansfield is located 20 miles north of the Town of South Padre Island, and is accessible only by driving along the beach from South Padre. At Mansfield is another Jetty that creates nice waves in any North swell. Be prepared with 4 wheel drive and tow straps, its a long ride on the beach.
There are also many styles of surfboards and surfing that work well on South Padre Island. Here are a few good ways to play when you come to our beach.
Longboard riders utilize large surfboards, generally between 9 and 11 feet in length, which catch and ride waves easily. Although longboards are easier to stand on and ride for beginners, there is incredible skill involved in performance longboarding. South Padre Island offers large slopey swell that break relatively slowly on the outside sandbars, which are great for longboard surfing.
Shortboard surfers are fast and skilled at catching and riding waves. Although more difficult to surf in many ways than longboards, shortboards are fast and maneuverable. Shortboard riders enjoy the fast breaking, steep waves of the inside sandbars of South Padre Island, as well as the bigger, but more mellow outside breaks.
BodyBoards or Boogy Boards are fun for everyone, and are fun to use everywhere from the very first wave break closest to shore, all the way out the farthest break of the day. For performance bodyboarders heading out into the farther waves, fins and leashes are used to help catch waves and prevent board loss.
Skim Boarders start with a sprint along the beach, throwing their boards down and jumping on them in shallow water. Skimmers can have a great time all around South Padre Island, riding the ocean shoreline, or flat pools and canals left by the retreating tides, or even in the perfectly flat waters of the Laguna Madre Bay.
Stand Up Paddlesurfing
Stand Up Paddlesurf boards, or SUP's, are a really fun way to get out on the water for all ability levels. SUPs are large surfboards, generally 9 to 13 ft long, and wider than traditional surf boards as well. SUPs are large enough to be stood on at all times, and are propelled by a paddle, similar to paddling a canoe or kayak. SUP boards are very fun to surf in small waves and for skilled riders in large waves as well, but are also very fun to paddle in flat water.
In addition to good waves and locations, there are a lot of resources on the Island for folks interested in learning to surf or renting boards.
Taking a lesson is a great idea for those that have never surfed before, as well as for surfers that want to improve their skills and knowledge, or try new equipment. AirPadre Kiteboarding is a great place to meet up with pro surf instructors for a session. Surfing lessons are billed hourly, and are generally between 1 and 2 hours long.
For those that just want to get on the water, Air Padre Kiteboarding has a full stock of surfboards for rent, ranging from soft top beginner boards to easy riding fun shapes to performance long and shortboards. AirPadre Kiteboarding also has a fleet of Stand Up Paddle surfboards of various designs for both wave riding and flat water cruising.