Last weekend we went chasing Hurricane Hanna and waves that would surely come along with her up the East coast. We got down Friday night pretty late and passed out. I brought my fish and my longboard, Johan his fish and a semi-gun.
Saturday was mixed bag. Foggy, which burned away in afternoon, with mixed swell direction and sets in the AM. We surfed the Wall. No serious swell yet (3-4 feet on the sets) but the directly offshore wind keep it fairly clean and help hold up some of the waves. It was a longboard day (75% of the people out had longboards) and Johan suffered a bit but had fun and got some fun rides.
By 5pm we were up at Jennes sitting out at the storm pipe. Couple other people out – including a stoked dad and his two young kids. He couldn’t surf but was out there supporting his boys and hooting everyone into waves — excellent.
As the rain started to pour down the sets started to grow. Couple good waves rolled through at stomach to shoulder height but bumpy and a bit all over the place. We all marveled as the rain would pick up; beat down on the ocean flattening everything out, so you could see the wild sets rolling towards you, and creating a dark mist over the ocean. One of those strange scenes you really can’t imagine unless you’ve sat out in the midst of it.
Caught one wave which started off a bit meek but allowed me to catch the reform where I got both feet way up in front on my board with my hand on the wave face just cooking into an eventual closeout. Probably surfed a bit too hard considering we all knew the day of days would be Sunday. Stoked is stoked — hard to back it off when you’re having fun.
Rained cats and dogs on Saturday night. The hurricane passed by the coast quickly. The rain was so loud that you could no longer hear the individual raindrops; just the roar of water hitting the tarp above us (thank god for ear-plugs and having a huge tarp that covers the whole tent plus some more space).
Sunday we woke up to clearing skies (that was fast ?!) and straight lined for the wall. No breakfast – no coffee – nothing! Pulled up to witness solid 5-7+ foot peaky swell pumping into the beach. Lots of spots breaking with the swell direction.
Johan and I paddled out while Eric and Linda decided to head up to Jennes to find some less imposing and less crowded conditions. The wind was howling offshore. On my fish I found catching any wave really tough. It was a question of the wind holding me off the critical part of the drop, and not wanting to sit to far inside. I kinda blew it – not catching anything in an hour session. Bummed. Thankfully Johan caught a couple on his newly waxed fun gun board. I watched a long boarder take off on the biggest wave (well OH) I’ve ever seen right beside me. He had that early paddle in to slo-mo ultra drop that you could just tell was a pro-level ride as he rode down / disappeared behind the lip towards shore. Also saw the most number of barreled rides I’d ever seen while out in the lineup.
By 10am we made our way up to Jennes to meet up with Eric and Linda. Paddled out at Jennes on my longboard and spent a solid 2+ hours catching some bombs. Had a first with a backside ride to front side cutback (!) and some solid shoulder to head high front side rides.
The swell quality just kept getting better and better – backing off in size by a foot or so but making up for it in general cleanness and quality of each wave. We made our way back down the wall, after some needed food and coffee, and surfed a new spot (called Ahoo) at the South end of a beach. A solid 5+ foot wave right breaking wave with only 5-6 other guys out. One of those spots that only light up with a solid swell. Caught my very first overhead wave, my first frontside to backside cutback and had a ton of quality rides. Also some of the most beautiful waves I’ve ever surfed — clear, green and minimal texture.
Lots of our crew where either unable to make it or traveling and, don’t tell them but, they really missed out. Vinnie and Ryo had found there way even further south to Rockaway and other parts of NYC to score what they said as some of the best waves from the past 3 years.
Thanks Hanna for one of the best sessions of my life. Here’s hoping that this is only the beginning of a great fall.