To those unfamiliar with the Pine Tree State, it might come as a surprise that the “rocky coast of Maine” is a popular destination spot for surfers and the hot new sport of stand-up paddle boarding.
The fun begins at Long Sands Beach in York, where surfers and paddle boarders ride the waves in all kinds of weather. Other good beaches in Southern Maine include: Scarborough Beach; Higgins and Pine Point Beaches, both in Scarborough; Old Orchard Beach; Biddeford Pool and Fortunes Rocks Beaches, both in Biddeford; Goose Rocks Beach in Kennebunkport; Drakes Island and Moody Beaches, both in Wells; and Ogunquit Beach.
Although not as popular as Southern Maine beaches, shoreline locations in Mid- and Northern-Maine also offer decent surfing at Crescent Beach (Cape Elizabeth), Pemaquid Point Beach, Gray’s Beach (Machias), Reid State Park Beach (Georgetown), Popham Beach (Phippsburg), and Hermit’s Island Beach (Bath).
A paddle board is bigger, thicker and wider than a regular surfboard. This means they are more buoyant and a bit easier to manage. Nanci Boutet, proprietor of Aquaholics in Kennebunk, for example, is both an expert surfer and paddle boarder and is happy to answer questions about either. She calls the latter sport a “user-friendly” and “Zen-like” pursuit. “The appeal of stand-up paddle boarding,” she says, “is it is easy and relaxing. You get to get out on the water and be up high, so you can see both the fish in the water and the birds across the marsh. Plus, it gives your whole body a great workout.”
For help getting started or pointed in the right direction for any of these water sports, all you need to do is contact one of the dozens of Maine surf shops, kayak rental agencies, surfing camps, water adventure guides or instructors. Many shops offer classes for beginners, as well as information about where to go to enjoy a day of fun on the water.