Cold Classic Maine or Tropical Perfection?

Dustin Turin // Scarborough, ME — You would think that after a month of surfing perfect tropical waves, the frigid Maine water — currently hovering around 37 degrees — would be a pretty significant buzz-kill. After all, 6mm of rubber definitely slows you down a bit and the 14 degree air that greeted us on our first surf back is cold by any standard. On the temperature front, I’ll take Bali’s 85 degree water any day of the week. No surprise, the Indian Ocean also beats Maine when it comes to producing consistently epic waves. But the reality is, even though Indonesia is always going to ‘beat’ Maine in the surfing hall of fame, it’s almost impossible to compare the two experiences.

Winter Surfing in Maine

Above: Even though it’s cold, waves make a welcome homecoming in Maine.

Below: Surf Camp instructor Sawyer Theriault scores a tropical beauty in Indonesia only a few days earlier.

Sawyer Theriault surfing in Keramas, Bali, Indonesia

When the waves are always on — not an issue we are too familiar with here in Maine — it’s amazing how quickly surfing starts to feel more routine then special. Our standards go through the roof and soon enough we’re complaining when it’s smaller than head high and/or not tubing. Too many people. Too hot. And so on…

The challenges we face as surfers in Maine, although the source of many frustrations, nevertheless sustain a practically religious relationship with the ocean. We’re always on our toes, watching the forecast, day dreaming of the next swell (which is sometimes weeks away); and when it finally comes, fickle and unpredictable, firing one second and flat the next, our entire world turns on mother nature’s mood. When you’re as wave-starved as we sometimes get, there’s absolutely nothing that can beat a home cooked meal.

So, where does that leave us? Maine is COLD in March. And we spend a lot more time dreaming about perfect waves than we do actually surfing them. But our experience and love of surfing wouldn’t be the same if those things weren’t true. And the occasional tropical respite wouldn’t feel quite so good if we weren’t frozen for the rest of the year.

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