State of the Beach/State Reports/TX/Surfing Areas
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Inventory and Perception of Status
Texas has approximately 31 surf spots. With 367 miles of sandy beaches, 95% of the surfing areas in Texas are beach breaks. According to the GLO almost all of Texas's Gulf coast is a breach break and is surfable. Popular surfing spots include High Island, Galveston seawall, Surfside, St. Joseph's Island, Port O'Connor, Padre Island National Seashore, South Padre Island, Port Aranasa, Matagorda Island.
The Texas General Land Office (GLO) is considering construction of a 1000′ pier on the Bolivar Peninsula. In the past there were some nice waves near High Island at Meacom’s Pier (formerly called Shorty’s Longest Pier). Hurricane Ike badly damaged every pier on the North Texas coast. The remaining pilings were considered a hazard and removed. Rollover Pass is scheduled to close soon. Replacing Rollover Pass with a 1,000-foot pier could improve surfing conditions in this area.
The conditions of the state's surfing areas and beaches are fair. Areas with development have managed to create de facto private beaches and the state has not remedied the situation. Similarly, while hard structures are prohibited on the beach, geotubes (sand-filled geotextile tubes) have been placed on the beach by local governments without the permission of the state. The GLO has since amended the regulations to allow geotubes. In other words, there is trouble in the Lone Star State but Surfrider's five Texas chapters are working to make things better.
Only local governments have the authority to place restrictions on surfing or other coastal recreation unless the area is controlled by a state agency such as TPWD. Restrictions are based on local conditions. Restrictions are mainly implemented for health or safety reasons or for conservation purposes.
The Texas Beach and Bay Access Guide provides great information on beach access and facilities. Locations for swimming and windsurfing are noted, but not for surfing.
A new resource unveiled in 2009 is TexasBeachAccess.org, a website that allows you to:
- See the line that defines the public beach along the Bolivar Peninsula, on Galveston Island, and in Brazoria County.
- Find the closest access point to your local beach
- Know your rights regarding beach access in Texas
The City of South Padre Island has their own Beach Access Guide that has maps, photos and descriptions of 24 beach access points.
Coastal access points are also noted on the county maps provided on the Texas Beach Watch Program Website.
Recognition by State
The GLO has made the beaches a priority and has invested a lot of effort and money to solving the erosion problem. In addition, water quality has become a priority, and the GLO and some of the Texas chapters of Surfrider Foundation perform beach water quality testing. Despite these efforts Texas does not explicitly recognize surfing areas as an economic, cultural, and recreational resource. They do take surfing and surfing areas into consideration when offshore breakwaters are proposed.
There are CMP Grants available to enhance coastal recreation. Beach maintenance funding is available to keep beaches clean and safe for recreation and the Beach/Dune Program works to ensure public access.
Surfrider Foundation Chapters
|Central Texas Chapter||30° 16' 1.7508", -97° 44' 35.0196"||http://centraltexas.surfrider.org/|
|Galveston Chapter||29° 18' 4.8528", -94° 47' 51.7056"||http://www.galvestonsurfrider.com/|
|South Texas Chapter||26° 6' 3.2796", -97° 17' 24.9144"||http://southtexas.surfrider.org/|
|Texas Coastal Bend Chapter||27° 48' 2.0988", -97° 23' 46.9716"||http://coastalbend.surfrider.org/|
|Texas Upper Coast Chapter||30° 3' 28.7748", -94° 47' 43.7208"||http://txuppercoast.surfrider.org/|
The summary of surfing areas comes from Surfer Magazine's The Surf Report issues for the state. Surfrider Foundation Chapters were surveyed to establish surfing conditions in the state.
Other sources of information on surfing in Texas include:
- Written correspondence from Sally S. Davenport, past TCMP Director, GLO. August 9, 2000.
|State of the Beach Report: Texas|
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