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

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Texas Ratings
Indicator Type Information Status
Beach Access86
Water Quality75
Beach Erosion9-
Erosion Response-5
Beach Fill7-
Shoreline Structures5 5
Beach Ecology3-
Surfing Areas45
Coastal Development{{{19}}}{{{20}}}
Sea Level Rise{{{21}}}{{{22}}}

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.[1]

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, a website that allows you to:

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 Chapter30° 16' 1.75" N, 97° 44' 35.02" W
Galveston Chapter29° 18' 4.85" N, 94° 47' 51.71" W
South Texas Chapter26° 6' 3.28" N, 97° 17' 24.91" W
Texas Coastal Bend Chapter27° 48' 2.10" N, 97° 23' 46.97" W
Texas Upper Coast Chapter30° 3' 28.77" N, 94° 47' 43.72" W

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

The Central Texas Chapter was founded in the summer 2000 by environmentally conscious surfers in Austin, Texas. We welcome people of all ages who are interested in helping work toward our goals. The ability to surf is not a requirement. Check out their Website for information on their activities and issues. The Website also has a good description of the Texas Open Beaches Act.

You can contact the Central Texas Chapter via email at


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

The Galveston Chapter was formed in November 2010 and approved in February 2011. They focus on preserving beach access, enhancing beach facilities, and improving the quality of their beaches through public outreach and education.

Their Facebook page is

You can contact the Galveston Chapter via email at


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

The newest Surfrider Foundation chapter in Texas is the South Texas (Padre Island) chapter, established in August 2005. South Texas Chapter was chosen as the name to encompass not only the coast from the Port Mansfield Cut to the Rio Grande River, but to also include the Rio Grande valley surfers and the river watershed. We are in a unique position here in the valley to be not only an international chapter with members across the border and water quality testing along the Rio Grande and rivermouth at the Tex/Mex border, but our member base is nationwide since we have visitors from across the country. Join Surfrider Foundation South Texas Chapter , get involved and be a part of the future of South Padre Island. Surfrider is not a surf club, it is a worldwide grassroots organization of concerned beachgoers from all walks of life.
Also check out chapter activist Rob Nixon's Blog at

You can contact the South Texas Chapter via email at


<html><fieldset class="rcoptions"> <legend></html>Texas Coastal Bend Chapter<html></legend></html> Texas Coastal Bend Chapter Website

The Surfrider Coastal Bend Chapter is committed to free and unrestricted access for all people to all Texas beaches in accordance with the Texas Open Beaches Act. Surfrider maintains that vehicle access is the key to beaches remaining accessible and not becoming effectively private beaches. In certain cases the Surfrider Coastal Bend Chapter supports the creation of pedestrian areas as long as vehicle access and parking are maintained on the beach itself as it is the case in the IB Magee and Port Aransas Beach Parks.

You can contact the Texas Coastal Bend Chapter via email at


<html><fieldset class="rcoptions"> <legend></html>Texas Upper Coast Chapter<html></legend></html> Texas Upper Coast Chapter Website

The Texas Upper Coast Chapter of Surfrider Foundation is comprised of people who are deeply concerned about Texas beaches. We work for oil companies and engineering firms. We practice law and medicine. We build homes and businesses. We go to school. We count dollars and sense. We learn, we teach, and we raise families. We are all day, all season, all weather users of the public beach. We share a vast on-site experience and a passion for protecting this environment, the public's right to access, and the immense economic and cultural value the beach provides to the state of Texas. We try to help the various stakeholders -- state and local governments, private industry, property owners and concerned citizens -- make more informed decisions about coastal management and environmental protection issues. And we try to help Texans everywhere by remaining vigilant in our defense of the Texas Open Beaches Act.

Formed in January 1999, the Texas Upper Coast Chapter of the Surfrider Foundation has more than 1,000 active members, including members in every major metropolitan area. From 1999-2006 our members have:

  • Implemented a grass-roots water testing program, featured on the CBS Evening News with Dan Rather;
  • Organized seventeen (17) Texas beach clean-ups and removed tons of trash;
  • Erected fencing to stabilize and protect the fragile dune system at Surfside, Texas;
  • Testified at Texas legislative and administrative hearings;
  • Monitored and documented Texas coastal erosion from Galveston to Matagorda;
  • Organized mail, fax, phone, and email campaigns addressing coastal management issues;
  • Brought prominent scientists and government officials to monthly chapter meetings; and
  • Joined the Texas General Land Office as defendants in a lawsuit against the Texas Open Beaches Act.

You can contact the Texas Upper Coast Chapter via email at


Information Sources

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:


  1. Written correspondence from Sally S. Davenport, past TCMP Director, GLO. August 9, 2000.

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