The largest city in the southern gulf states, Houston might not be thought of as a surf destination. But with great Stand Up Paddle spots on Trinity Bay and the nearby beachbreaks of Galveston for surfing, this city of 2.3 million people with a rich oil history and growing art scene, can make a unique surf destination. While waiting for sports betting to go live in Canada with PointsBet sportsbook and more, why not take a short vacation?
Air temps average in the 60s Fahrenheit during the winter climbing the 80s during summer (and even hotter). Water temps in the Gulf of Mexico are fairly warm throughout the winter and transition seasons (70s) to downright hot, at 85 degrees in the peak summer months. A light wetsuit is needed in winter to keep the wind chill off, while bikini and board shorts are de facto attire in summer.
The long continental shelf saps much of the surf energy, but passing tropical depressions and hurricanes can kick up excellent surf in nearby Gavelston. But most of the surf is forecast to arrive through wind swells.
61st Street, the Pier and the surrounding beaches of Gavelston provide the main surf in closest proximity to Houston. A surf forecast calling for north, northwest winds (which blow offshore) and groundswell from a disturbance near Mexico, will produce the best conditions.
But even on a flat day, you can try your hand at tanker surfing. Each day the world’s largest oil tankers speed in and out of Gavelston bay near Houston, kicking up long, slow peeling waves.
Houston surfing lessons and city tours
For Stand Up Paddle try SurfSUP Texas, a local affair based out of Sugar Land. For CA$45 you can book a tour of Oyster Creek and explore the natural settings surrounding Houston. It’s a nice respite from the urban traffic fo the city.
An hour from Houston is Gavelston Texas, one of the most surf-stoked beach communities on the Gulf. C Sick Surfing Lessons offers private and group lessons by appointment and on-the-beach drop in. For CA$65 visitors get a hands-on two-hour lesson.
Ohana Surf and Skate offers surf and skateboarding lessons along with summer surf camps. Private lessons are CA$60 for one hour and CA$80 for two hours. They also throw group“surfing party” lessons starting at CA$70 per person for two hours.
Hotels and hostels for surfers in Houston
Centrally located in Houston with pool and all amenities, the hip, funky Morty Rich Hostel has rooms starting at CA$130. It’s an old colonial styled mansion turned into a nine-room hostel with varying degrees of rooms and privacy. It’s a 4-star-rated hotel, so it’s not your typical hostel stay. Standard amenities, modern furnishings in a regal setting and a 24-hour desk make this a great choice for surfers visiting Houston.
Close to Houston’s best Stand Up Paddling is the Mandolin Pier stay. They offer basic rooms as well as suites and backbay cottages. In fact, they have almost every type of accommodation you might need for your surf stay in Houston, cabanas, bungalows and something called the Sailor Suite. The location is a great central location as it’s just a stone’s throw to the waves of nearby Galveston.
The houses on Houston’s Jamaica Bay are colorful affairs. The Jamaica Bay Inn is a lux stay with amazing views of the Gulf of Mexico. The hotel has a unique Miami Beach-meets-the-old-South vibe with sprawling grounds and cottage architecture. It’s a nice change from the corporate hotel franchises that cluster around Houston. Rooms start at CA$320 depending on season.
Houston and Galveston is a great vacation place for water sports activities and it is easy to get to from Toronto Persons as well as Vancouver Airport.
Houston surfing guide and tips prepared by Bryan Dickerson (wavepoolmag.com) for Dailystoke.com’s travel destination guides.
Photo by Vlad Busuioc