Surf's Up

Sundae Horn
Pre-hurricane swell brings all the surfers to the beach.

"This is exactly what surfers wait for," said Bob Chestnut, owner of Ride the Wind Surf Shop. 

This photo of Julian Bennink taken by Jessica Fawcett was the inspiration for this article.
This photo of Julian Bennink taken by Jessica Fawcett was the inspiration for this article.

Local surfer Echo Bennink agreed. She's been out for three days in a row and excited about Monday's possibilities. "What's super cool about this summer is that there are so many breaks, and the surfing has been really good at the airport and lifeguard beach," she said. "It's usually best at South Point, but it's great when airport and lifeguard are good because it's more accessible if you don't have four-wheel drive."

As for the recent storm-influenced water conditions, Echo says lifeguard and airport had smaller, cleaner swells, and barrels, while at South Point "it's breaking way offshore. The waves are bigger, but you have to wait longer." She said it was also possible to surf the inshore break if you didn't want to paddle all the way out to the big stuff. "I didn't have the energy to go out that far," she told me Sunday night. "Because yesterday, I spent four hours surfing."

"All the usual suspects are out there," said Bob. "In what I call the 'Old Man Group' you've got Tony, Randall, Howard, Tim. The younger guys Robert, Nat, and Beach are out there. And Howard's kids, of course."

Howard is dad to Echo and our cover boy, Julian. His son, Dylan, provided a surf report for the Current: "Saturday morning before noon was waist high ground swell with glassy conditions. Sunday morning was slightly bigger waist-to-chest high. Long period ground swell with a strong long side shore current for both days." I think that's surfer talk for "Surf's Up!" 

Yesterday Bob was out in the village streets at 5am doing his morning run when he noticed the same truck with surfboards circling him several times. "He kept passing me. When I went out to the beach at 7am to do the surf report, I saw his truck there. I think he was just so excited about the surf he was just riding around the village until daylight," he said. 

Bob returned Saturday from Surf Expo in Orlando and said "the hurricane is what all those guys were talking about." Aside from the potential damage this monster storm could bring, Bob said the surfing will be better for Ocracoke if Florence goes "right up inside Bermuda, and stays far out to sea. That'll give us big swells and a longer fetch." 

"We never seem to really get that perfect window, or if we do it happens in the middle of the night," he said. The perfect window, as I understood him to mean, is big surf that's not crazy dangerous. "This is going to get nasty eventually, but hopefully we'll get a good day of surfing on Monday." He expects to be hanging ten (he didn't actually say that; I'm just trying to use some surfin' slang) for about two hours today before work duties at Ride the Wind call him ashore. 

"Sometimes we get really good surf after a storm," he said. "And then there won't be anything to do but surf. I guess that's the silver lining in all this."

Lost business, an evacuation, stress and anxiety, the possibility of losing everything we own.... we can't control any of it. Go catch a wave! 


Comments powered by Disqus