OBX lighthouse on a bigger day...sweep down the beach can be brutal. Denied 4 times.
They say OB SF is the worst of the worst, but I've never been there.
I've never had a problem at any reef breaks, Hawaii, Indo, Puerto Rico, etc.
But anytime the water is really really cold, like NE water 40 and below, the paddle outs are always worse, even if the conditions aren't as bad. I'd rather take a beating in warm water than 35 degree water with a 5 mil w/ hood, boots, and gloves, any day of the week.
I've lived on the east coast, hawaii, and cali, and I think the worst consistently difficult paddle out for "regular guy" surfers like myself is Ocean Beach SF. It is such a pain that most of the reports include a paddle-out time ("took me 45 min to get out").
eh, I've made plenty of walks of shame, no biggie on the east coast breaks. It's nice actually, the ocean self regulates here. If you can make it out, go for it. No channel to stumble out into and then get raped on a wave you shouldn't be surfing in the first place. I did paddle out on the wrong side of a pier once, realized this about 1/2 way out when the first set came though. That was interesting. Broke the board and shredded the wetsuit on the barnacles
i've surfed blacks when it was around head high, but never bigger. i can imagine surfing there during a big swell is a recipe for some rough beatings. one of the worst paddle outs i've experienced happened a few years ago at overhead marias in pr, ona board that was way too short on a day with a ridiculous current. i ended up finally making it out there and caught a wave at dogmans, broke my leash duck diving a clean up set on the way back out and ended up swimming/getting pummeled all the way to the inside where my board was floating. A friend of mine also lost his board to the clean up set and had to swim in with me. He definitely helped keep me from panicking on the swim in, as I had never experienced anything that heavy before. Im pretty sure he ended up paddling back out, but after the initial paddle out and the subsuquent swim in, I was done. Besides this experience,any winter swell at home (NY) has the potential to leave you stuck on the inside, paddling till you're exhausted, without having caught a wave.
Hey Gaff that link's not connecting, not sure if it's just my computer though. Roughest paddle out for me was at a R.I. beachie during a 'cane swell in '03, the storm before Isabel. Oddly enough, one of the easier paddle outs I've had was on the day I rode the biggest wave of my life, the Luis swell in '95, at an undislosed point. Made the decision to paddle up the point after getting my ass handed to me on the sand bar, had no clue how big it was till I actually got out there.
Last edited by seldom seen; Nov 29, 2012 at 10:32 PM.
My toughest paddle out/most memorable, would have to be down in Rodanthe a few years back. There was a huge south swell, with a good 8 mph south to north current. I didn't want to paddle out, but I let my two crazy friends talk me into it. We paddle out just north of the pier and by the time I made it out, I was just passing S Turns (around 2 miles down the beach). The waves were just freight training rights, a couple feet overhead and more rectangles than round, just throwing out thiiiick barrels. I kept missing waves, half because they were impossible, half because I couldn't bring my self to jump over the ledge. Finally I realized that I couldn't see Rodanthe anymore and that I was going to have to make it to shore at some point. I paddle as far in as a I could and caught a medium sized one, and it was by far the fastest wave I've ever caught.
I was so stoked I paddled out for one more and in the process, took the heaviest lip to the head during a duckdive that I saw stars. My head almost got smashed into my board and I was immediately sucked back over the falls upside down and throughly thrashed, but I didn't let go of my board, even though it was way oversized for me/conditions (6'2 Santa Cruz fish, I only weighed in around 145).
Anyways, I finally made it to hwy 12 and started the 5 mile walk back to Rodanthe with my thumb out, trying to hitch a ride. I must have seen 20 empty pickup trucks drive by (fishermen hate surfers I guess) before a chick in a tacoma with only room on the tailgate to sit, gave me a ride back to town. It took me a couple nervous hours to find my other to buddies by driving down HWY 12 and running across the dunes looking for them up and down the beach.
Ocean Beach--It just gets insane
Moss Landing---Can be almost as bad as O beach
Puerto---Can really be rough when it gets well overhead but then it just lets you out sometimes
Any descent sized beach break when the h20 is low 50s or below----ugh
Strictly for length of paddle, Santa Catalina is a journey there and back--like half an hour
I was also on a boat trip to a no name break breaking half a mile off land in Nica one time and a dude and I drifted down the break a bit and it was IMPOSSIBLE to get back out after catching a couple waves --- and of course we had to to get to the boat so we had to get back out. I managed to punch through after about 10 minutes but the other guy was ducking diving waves for 45 minutes about 15 feet away from me...it was crzy