State of the Beach/State Reports/ME/Surfing Areas

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Maine Ratings
Indicator Type Information Status
Beach Access52
Water Quality74
Beach Erosion8-
Erosion Response-6
Beach Fill5-
Shoreline Structures3 2
Beach Ecology5-
Surfing Areas25
Coastal Development{{{19}}}{{{20}}}
Sea Level Rise{{{21}}}{{{22}}}

Inventory and Perception of Status

Maine has at least 41 well-known surf spots[1], but the offshore islands and northern coast have lots of unexplored territory. The breaks are a mix of reefs, point breaks, river mouths, and beach breaks.

Surfrider Foundation's Maine Chapter has compiled information (general characteristics, beach access, shoreline structures, coastal outfalls, surfing areas, wildlife and natural features) for 12 beach areas in Maine.

The surfing areas are generally in good condition, but there are certainly localized threats due to water quality, structures, and erosion. At present, Kennebunkport does not provide year-round treatment of their wastewater effluent (they currently treat from May-September), which ultimately discharges to Gooch's Beach, a popular winter spot. At Ogunquit, treated sewage is discharged into the ocean via a pipeline about 1 mile offshore; sometimes onshore winds blow the discharge back to the beach. Water quality at the rivermouth also suffers after heavy rains, probably due to runoff and faulty septic systems. Beach access is a concern, especially in central and northern Maine where development pressure is high.

Recognition by State

Surfing is becoming more recognized by the state and local municipalities due to positive exposure and public education. The Maine Surfrider Chapter continues to work with the state and communities in raising coastal environmental awareness. The Chapter has developed several programs in conjunction with some coastal communities, including its Dog Bag Station Placement Program. It has also participated in helping organize beach clean ups at several local beaches as part of Maine's Coastweek activities. Past clean ups have received public exposure through television broadcasts and local paper articles. The Chapter's recent activities with Kennebunkport have also raised public awareness of surfing issues.

Several beach towns, including Higgins Beach in Scarborough, close beaches to surfing during the day (10 am — 5pm) over the summer months. Other towns do provide limited surfing areas over the summer months, like York. Some communities, like Wells, permit surfing along their entire beach, though lifeguards will sometimes ask surfers to stay away from swimming crowds and the jetties at Wells. Scarborough Beach was purchased with Land for Maine's Future funds, but the Town of Scarborough operates it under a contract. The access of this beach is controlled through a private parking vendor that requires either a daily fee or $60/year permit to access the beach. Additional stretches of beach within Old Orchard Beach and Ogunquit permit surfing year-round. Surfing fees and access issues are currently being debated at town meetings within Scarborough.

Access to many surfing areas is difficult due to lack of parking (Moody Beach, Titos), or private property (Small Point Beach, Dry Point, Pumpkin Cove). "Splits" is accessible only with 4-wheel drive vehicles.

Surfrider Foundation Chapters

Maine Chapter43° 39' 41.30" N, 70° 15' 19.17" W

<html><fieldset class="rcoptions"> <legend></html>Maine Chapter<html></legend></html> Maine Chapter Website

The Maine Chapter (Formerly known as the Northern New England Chapter) covers the coastline of Maine. Since organizing the chapter, volunteers have formed key partnerships to expand the Surfrider mission.

Surfrider Foundation Maine Chapter members are passionate about the health and sustainability of Maine's precious coastline, and the waves that fall upon it. They believe protecting it is their duty and their commitment as a group - one that they take very seriously.

They'll continue to build on the community that exists within Surfrider because Maine's coast is vital: it's surfing, beach going, kayaking and just plain having fun at the beach. A healthy ocean and coast is vital for Maine's ecosystem, people, economy and way of life.

Learn more:


Surfrider Staff Contact

Melissa Gates
Northeast Regional Coordinator

Information Sources

The summary of surfing areas comes from Surfer Magazine's The Surf Report issues for the state. The Surfrider Foundation chapter in Maine was surveyed to establish surfing conditions in the state.

Here's proof that you can learn to surf in Maine.

Other information sources for surfing in Maine include:


  1. Dennis Rogers. Free Waves: A Guide to Improving Access at Maine Surfing Breaks. 1998.

State of the Beach Report: Maine
Maine Home Beach Description Beach Access Water Quality Beach Erosion Erosion Response Beach Fill Shoreline Structures Beach Ecology Surfing Areas Website
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