Surfers ‘Stoke’ Best Local Break

It’s early fall in New England, with half a month of hurricane season remaining. This is the time of year many consider “surfing season.” The weather is still decent, the water is not too cold, and quality waves are common.

Sunny, warm water, good wave. All three boxes getting ticked.

However, large waves mean nothing if the spot they break is terrible for surfing.

A number of quality surf breaks scatter the coast of Rhode Island, and anywhere the land meets the Atlantic, some kind of surfable wave can be found. Ruggles, located just off shore of the Breakers in Newport, is a world famous surf break and considered one of the best spots in the North East.

But what about South Kingstown and Narragansett? Many local surfers seek the answer.

“Probably Green Hill, a ‘secret’ spot that’s not really so secret anymore,” says Bishop Hendricken senior Bryce Little.

Little sets up for the barrel.

Green Hill is a place where surfers “can just get pitted,” says Little. “It’ll wall up on the inside [then] throw you into the sand.”

“It’s pretty fun,” Little adds, and there are other surfers who agree with Little’s view of Green Hill.

“It’s pretty lit,” SKHS senior Noah Guarriello agrees. Guarriello adds that Green Hill is “very powerful when the waves are up. You can really get shacked.”

Surfers use many slang terms to describe the sport. “Shacked” means the surfer has been completely covered by the wave, also known as getting “barreled,” one of the most praised maneuvers in the sport of surfing. On the other hand, “walled up” refers to a wave that has a steep vertical face which extends well past the position of the surfer.

While Green Hill is one of the better beach breaks in the “Ocean State,” local surfers say the powerful waves are not without their drawbacks.

“A lot of the locals, they try and drown you,” Little says. “It’s pretty rocky, and you’ve got the occasional dog fish and blue fish that will try and bite your toes off.”

Nonetheless, Little consistently returns to Green Hill. On weekdays, Little arrives late because of his lengthy commute. He packs his board and wetsuit before school to get to Green Hill as quickly as possible.

Little says he is typically able to surf for two hours after school. Most times he surfs until dark, taking in the golden evening light and exchanging waves with friends.

Other surfers, however, have different opinions about the best local break. Jack Jones of SKHS and Will Russo of La Salle High School claim Matunuck’s Trestles and Narragansett Town Beach as the best local spots.

“I usually like to surf Matunuck, [which] we call Trestles,” Jones says. “Matunuck is a really long, open faced wave so it’s super fun.” Jones adds that he enjoys the spot so much because he lives in Matunuck and can get there easily.

While not his favorite wave, Little comes to Trestles from time to time.
Greg Levy takes a swing at a classic Trestles wall.

Jones has a weekend morning ritual. He first wakes up around five in the morning and has a small breakfast. On the way to the beach, Jones often picks up one of his good friends, Dylan Latham, who he rarely surfs without.

The two roam from spot to spot until they find somewhere that looks worthy. Wetsuits are donned and muscles stretched. Jones bumps some rap music to seal the deal. He then wades into the water and its coolness jolts his feet.

Russo favors the Narragansett Town Beach. “Town Beach for sure,” says Russo. The best qualities, Russo says, are that there are “a lot of people who don’t know how to surf and you get to see Peter Pan and Conrad.”

Russo does note the downside of surfing Narragansett Town Beach. “It’s just one big ol’ closeout but man is it fun,” says Russo. “Absolutely, by far, the best wave in Narragansett.”

Along with Little, Russo also attends school far from the water. On weekdays, he drives down from Providence immediately after school gets out.

With wetsuit and board already packed into his vehicle, Russo is ready to surf the Town Beach with friends until dark.

He emerges from the water using the last bits of light to guide him to his car, removes his wetsuit, and then pulls away to pick up some eats at Gansett Wraps.

Russo said he disagrees with Little and Guarriello over Green Hill versus the other local shore breaks. “Green Hill is a terrible wave, and I would never surf there,” he says.

One thing is certain: the debate over the best surfing spots in Narragansett and South Kingstown will not end any time soon.

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