My wife and I are from Hawaii and we're freezing our butts off up here on the Banks (water temps are in the low 40's already!). So we are thinking about heading south to the Stuart, FL area next week for a few days. We'd go further south, but hotel rates look to be a lot more than we can afford (eh, we're surfers not dot com execs). Any locals here on the forums with some advice? The web says that water temps are in the 70's still, is that right? I'm hoping this unusually cold air temps will go up for our visit. Any "rules" we should know about? Any places we should put on our must see list?
water temps are NOT in the 70's, it Sat bch area its hitting 56^, Stuart is about 60^. air temps are below freezing at night and reach about 60^ during the day. tthis weather pattern is projected through the next several days, possibly even the next week. but when it warms up, it will warm up nicely, except the water temps will take much longer to warm up, if they even do until spring.
Stuart rocks is one of my favorite places to surf, pretty mellow crowd overall. just use common sense, show respect of the locals and you should be good.
just N of stuart is Walton rocks, which can hold a bigger swell, but its ALL shallow rock bottom and at low tides the rocks are usually above the surface.
further N than that is Ft Pierce inlet, which is an awesome sand bottom break with 3 sections on the right swell, an outside, middle and inside, that all can work at any given tide, or all can work at the same time if its big enough.
S of Stuart Im not as familiar with until you get to reef road. locals can be jerks on occasion, but if you show due respect they dont really hassle. but parking is pretty much nil unless you know someone who lives in the area.
you would be better (hotel rate depending) on looking a little further N, Satellite bch, melbourne bch, cocoa bch. more consistent surf and usually a couple feet bigger.
I've lived in both, and yeah, the rocks is a great spot & all, but if I were you I'd go to Cocoa / Satellite Beach area. Better surf & there's more stuff to do. Plus you'll save yourself a few hours of driving if you're coming from the north.
there is plenty of parking in stuart, a lot of beach access points as well as several parks. Walton rocks is also a beach park so plenty of parking there, not to mention its almost always emtpy except in the summer.
forgot to mention about walton, due to the rocky bottom and the form of such, its also got a decent shark population. and there are caves in the rocks, some of them big enough to get sucked into if your not careful. its not a place to surf for the faint hearted
I will only surf there if its shutting down everywhere else and its mid-high tide, and with at least 4-5 of us, Id never surf it solo.