The Ivy Coast

Exploring New England’s Wave-Rich Shores

new england
New England. Photo: Bryan Nevins

While the East Coast remains a murky watered mystery to most outsiders, even more mysterious is the surf scene in New England. Apparently there is one, but concrete evidence is hard to come by. What we do know is that there are five surfable states in this affluent, outer region identified by most as "north of Balaram." Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Massachusetts and Connecticut. What we imagine of the place resembles a scene from some Wes Anderson film. We imagine copper-toned young men with the carefree grins of a Kennedy. They pose in pastel Ralph Lauren polos and khaki Dockers held tight by nautical flag belts.

They sit in the front seat of a sparkling golf cart and the driver's Sperry Topsider punches the gasless gas. Their two well-bred babes in the backseat -- with faces like Jackie Onassis -- shriek with delight. The four of them ramble down some prerevolutionary road on the island of Martha's Vineyard, or maybe Nantucket. The golf cart speakers blare Vampire Weekend and the four of them sing along, voices like a Catholic choir, Walcott, the bottle neck is a shit show/ Hyannis Port is a ghetto/ Out of Cape Cod tonight! Their boards are strapped to the roof -- two newborn DFRs, whiter than Brewster. The boards have matching Dartmouth stickers on them, or maybe Brown, or Harvard. OK, not Harvard, but maybe Harvard in two years for grad school. Next to the boards, also strapped to the roof, are four lacrosse sticks -- in the highly probable case that the waves don't cooperate and they need something else to do. And they are almost to the seashore, discussing which restaurants to devour clam chowder and lobster in after they've surfed themselves into a "wicked-bad hungah." They arrive. The driver turns his Red Sox cap backward and glares into the sunny Nantucket Sound. His buddy reaches for the hickory sticks. --Beau Flemister