Surfing has been a mainstay in Newport culture for many years. Consistently decent surfing conditions and quality gear have made it possible to surf 12 months of the year. The really spectacular waves come from tropical storms and hurricanes in the late summer and early fall. Even if the storms don't make landfall in the eastern United States, they are capable of bringing 10-15 foot swells from hundreds of miles offshore.
If you're new to either the ocean or surfing, your best bet is to take lessons from local experts. They have the equipment and training you'll need to get up on your board on Newport's coastline. These classes run all summer at various oceanfront locations, so it's really easy to get started.
Surfer's End- 2nd Beach, Middletown - Most of this beach is closed to surfing except for a small section- this area lies at the beginning of the beach and continues until the large rock that separates it from the rest of the beach. Waves are relatively small and consistent. There are no rocks in the water and is a good place to learn.
1st Beach, Newport - Beach is usually closed to surfers but after regular beach hours and in the off-season there's a few surfers out, especially before/after tropical storms skirt the coast. Generally smaller waves and a good place to get started.
Average Newport, RI Temperatures