Surfing doesn’t often come to mind when most everyone in New England is hunkered down in the middle of the winter season. With New Hampshire boasting its 18 miles of coastline it’s an unlikely candidate for the sport, but when conditions are right the surf is phenomenal.

Jenness State Beach is one of many NH seacoast beaches accessible by Route 1A. It can get crowded in the summer time so for those who live in the area the off-season is a special time.

NH has a healthy year-round surfing community of all ages, who tolerate both the crowds in the summer and cold in the winter. Ironically, summer isn’t known for its waves with winter storms being more ferocious and productive. Autumn is relished for its lingering warm water and hurricane season. Wetsuits (at least 6/5/4), gloves, and booties are essential for NH surfing as the water temperature here ranges from 30-40F during the winter.

We got to Jenness State Beach mid-day, savoring the last of the heated car interior as we parked and suited up.

The first splash is always the hardest.

The conditions were stormy, powerful, and cold.

To those who call the north Atlantic home, it takes dedication to brave the elements for that one ride that keeps you jumping back into the frigid water. We tolerate the unpleasant in exchange for a momentary clarity that makes all of it worth something.

We scrambled back into the car after a while to warm up and check out conditions down the road.

Sure enough, people come out of the wood-work every time a storm passes through for the swells that are generated.

I shared a view and snapped some photos with some photographers and spectators before jumping in.

I took some rough video footage of the day.

Anyone interested in learning how to surf should visit Cinnamon Rainbows Surf Shop on Ocean Boulevard in Hampton for a board/wetsuit and jump in!

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