Long Island Surfing Subculture: An Inside Look

Long Island Surfing Subculture

Sundown Surf

After about 15 minutes of paddling, paddling, paddling, Stallone treads out of the water covered in dark green seaweed. Laughing, she brushes it off her board and picks it out of her hair. She glances back at the dark-blue water kissing the shore. She shrugs; it’s not the first time she’s had an unproductive surf outing.

The sun is down and the mosquitoes are now out. Stallone, stripped of her wetsuit and board, sits on the trunk of her dark green Pontiac Firebird in Lido’s parking lot. Even though it’s been days since she surfed, she’s still as happy and optimistic as ever.

She reminisces about Quiksilver Pro last year and the first and only time she saw Kelly Slater, one of her idols, in person. She recalls watching him tread out of the water, making eye contact with her, and her jaw dropping before they engaged in a decently long stare-off.

“I was shocked at how short he was,” she laughs.

Stallone is just one of the many, many Long Islanders who make up this unique surf culture defined by inconsistent waves and that hustling, bustling, New York attitude. Although it consists of people with varying personalities, occupations, ages, and mindsets, all of the surfers, including Stallone, can agree on one thing: how they feel when they’re out on their boards.

“There’s just, like, that feeling of happiness,” Stallone says.