HOW TO: A Beginner’s Guide to Surfing in New York City
Whether she’s surfing in Rockaway, skating the streets of NYC, or bustling around the city as a freelance stylist, Alpha Vomero is always on the move. A fashion stylist and editor based in New York City, Alpha has worked with Apple, Samsung, Uniqlo, Campari and more; and you can find her editorial work in publications such as Teen Vogue, Nylon, Numero Tokyo, and Kinfolk. As a regular city surfer, Alpha encourages women to get after all the beautiful waves NYC has to offer. Check out her story about beginning to surf and learn some tips on how to start riding the waves of Rockaway Beach.
Tell us about what you do in New York City.
I’m a fashion stylist! I work in advertising and also fashion magazines. I’m basically shopping or picking out clothes for humans, and putting outfits together and on to said humans. I travel a lot for work, and it’s my dream job. I’m very lucky!
How long have you lived here, and how did it all begin?
I’ve been in NY for 10 years. I went to school in Seattle (where I’m from) for apparel design, and when I finished that, it was either NY or LA. And I had family and friends in NY, so it was an easy choice.
What’s your favorite thing about New York?
I love the energy here and the people. New York feels alive and spontaneous and like anything could happen on any random day. I do believe that life is what you make it though. If you’re open to all that New York has to offer it will treat you well.
When and why did you start surfing?
I grew up skateboarding, and I lived in Southern Cali in my early-20s, so I definitely fucked around on a surfboard in my youth. But I never really felt in control or got that feeling that people get that hooks you. And I was good at skating and didn’t care to spend my time sucking at surfing.
But last spring my two buddies Anita and Lorna got super into surfing, and they’ve really motivated me to get out there. We started with full winter suits, hoods, booties, and gloves... It was fucking freezing and BRUTAL. We surfed all summer, and now I’m addicted.
Does surfing ever translate into your work?
Personally, I love to bring surf/skate vibes into my styling whenever I can. I think this is something that comes natural for me. I also work on lifestyle advertising shoots, and often there’ll be a skateboard on set, and the fact that I can skate is always a fun party trick. Clients love it ;)
Where do you like to surf in New York?
Rockaway all the way.
What’s your favorite and least favorite part about surfing?
Favorite part is hanging out with my buddies in the water, having an adventure and making each other laugh.
And of course, actually catching a wave – standing up and that indescribable feeling to be riding a wave. It’s magic.
My least favorite part is swallowing water and getting earaches. Oh, also that irrational fear that these waves might kill you, (tbh that’s probably one of my favorite parts too).
Any words of encouragement for someone who’s never tried surfing before?
Don’t take yourself too seriously. You won’t be great when you start, but the payoff is worth the pain :)
What are your top 5 Pointers for surfing Rockaway as a beginner?
Pointer 1: Get Your Crew
Get a good surf crew. This will motivate you to keep going even after a shitty day.
Pointer 2: Take Lessons
My boy Chris is an amazing coach, super patient and has great vibes. Find him on IG @tubularchris
Pointer 3: Rent a Board
Make your life easier and don’t carry your board on the train. It’s too hard. Rent at Breakwater Surf Co., or find a place to store your board out there.
Pointer 4: Go on Weekdays
Try to go out during the week if you can. It’s so much more chill than the weekend.
Pointer 5: Start Warm
Start in the summertime. Frozen limbs make surfing harder.
Learn more about Alpha and her work at alphavomero.com