Dawn Patrol in the Lowcountry

Zach Dischner
Made Possible by
Curated by

It's been a long summer in the lowcountry. For those readers that have been in Charleston for the entirety of the season, you've seen your fair share of tourists, hot rainy days, and thermometers bursting due to the heat. Now it is starting to cool off, and daylight savings has robbed us of our afternoon surf sessions — those sacred few hours of post-work decompression when you're able to forget about everything else except the thrill of the next wave.

But don't worry; all hope is not lost yet. The dawn is your saving grace.

The sun may be setting at 5 o'clock, but this period of time before the winter solstice allows the sun to come up earlier than it has all year. With a little maneuvering of your schedule, you can get your surf fix in every morning before clocking in to your 9 to 5.

If you haven't established your own morning surf routine, don't miss out any longer. Your routine gets you up early in the morning, it stokes your passion for catching just one more wave, and it gives you something to look forward to during the colder seasons.

Zach Dischner

To quote a local surfer,"It's all about the ritual. Throwing my board in the car, waking up with some coffee on the ride to the beach, and watching the sun rise above the water gives a fresh perspective to my love for surfing. Being the first one out on the water is incredible, watching your crew slowly arrive one by one, seeing their faces as they hit the ice cold water, and having our fill of a spacious line-up and beautifully empty beach is incredible. All before heading off to work, what a trip."

Don't be discouraged by the season's change. All that stands between you and your swell is a little cold water, and an earlier alarm — nothing a wet suit and a strong cup of coffee can't fix.

Not to mention, rising with the break of day will allow you to have free reign over the beach. Whereas surfing in Charleston for five months out of the year typically consists of dodging fellow surfers, swimmers, and waiting your turn in the lineup, during early winter mornings, you and a tight-knit band of other brave souls have the waves all to yourselves.

Zach Dischner

The secret isn't out yet, and a deserted beach is ripe for the taking. Winter shouldn't be the time to stop surfing. On the contrary, it should be the time to rediscover your passion for catching waves. As with all things, change in a routine provides a fresh outlook life. So rather than sitting around this winter daydreaming about those summer swells that seem so far away, why not skip out on the snooze button and hit the beach?

Not to mention, going about the rest of your day knowing that you've already seen the sunrise, fit in a workout, and had a truly life-giving experience on the waves, will leave you feeling fresh and energized late into the evening. Make this winter one that's dedicated to dawn patrol.

Last Updated:

Next Up


3 Backcountry Lines Best in the Early Season