I was discussing this the other day with a small group and the general consensus is that the worst paddle outs, either at home or traveling are often beachies, mostly during hurricanes or when the sideshore currents get cranking. Obviously points, wedges, etc. can provide a predictable rip or another way of getting outside, but as a couple guys pointed out, it's not always the difficulty, but the sketchiness (aka if you're up against a jetty or on the inside with rocks behind you and nowhere to go, as in http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HoM3TSzE72I. One claimed a big day at blacks was by far the worst he ever had it, and that's after 20 years of surf travel. Another guy claimed it was right at home in NE during Hurricane Bill. I'm just curious where you guys have had it bad, specifically the worst paddle outs you can remember.
Worst Paddle outs for me are New England/ NH winters during Hurricane/nor' easter swells. Usually always on a beach break. For the most part the harshest part is the water temp. It can literally make you feel like your head is going to implode. After taking 6 or 7 of those babies on the head and having your hood blasted off, you really start to rethink your priorities. Am I going to make it out? Is it worth this pain? But yes, it is.
I can paddle in place or get pushed back and handle that for a while, even whole sessions. But mix in some freezing ass water and an old wet suit at 6a.m., and things start to change. I had a broken collar bone during hurricane Bill, which was in august of 2010 I think, but saw lots of friends paddle out through the beachies. So, I cant say that was one of my worst paddles because i didnt try. It was huge though. Hard paddles only make you tougher, and let you realize how crazy of surf you can handle. Bring it
worst one for me so far, obx thanksgiving a couple years ago. the bars were really far out that day, the water was cold as hell, and the sideshore was insanity. i had to wait forever for a decent set and by the time you waited, you were literally a half mile down the beach. i walked more than surfed that day.
About 12 years ago, OBX. We stayed thru the mandatory evac of I forget which hurricane. Next day was clear blue skies, no wind. Ocean was ferocious. I tried and tried, never made it out. My buddy made it, he was this little speck - looked a mile away. Caught one wave, it reformed 4x and he rode it all the way to the beach. Was up and riding for about 2 minutes. Was something to see.
I remember just trying to exit the water, right at the edge, kept getting dragged back in. Kicked my butt.
It seems that the heavy, strong current beach breaks are a definite theme here. This would back my buddy's claim that blacks is the worst, esp since the offshore canyon can let in serious swell and brutal deepwater currents. I've been down to Rodanthe a handful of times, and the shifting sandbars can make for a long paddle. I've never experienced a hurricane there, but add in some hurricane swell and I'm sure you've got yourself a hell of a challenge, esp if you're headed to some offshore sandbar. Some of the meanest waters I've ever seen were at Hatteras.
I can sympathize with the cold water paddle outs and the wall experiences since I've enjoyed the majority of good fall swells in nh (also since right now is that time of yr when it goes from chilly to head-explodingly cold). Add in how physically heavy the water feels at that temp, and after a few on the head you don't care about getting beat up - just the fact that your head hurts so much it actually makes you angry every time you have to dive under. I think I let myself belive if I continue to surf cold water, my body will somehow adapt and it won't be so bad next winter.. but I'm still waiting
Quad over head at mavericks 2 winters ago. It was late January and the water was in the low fiftys. There were about ten of us. Everyone was too scared to go out. We paddled out, the sets were about 10-15 min apart so it was easy to get there, but first set came in and I paddled for my life (literally for my life) and I started down the face, I'm only about 15 feet down when I turn to look at the lip and bam I flying. I hit a chop in the face and flew forward. I finally hit the water and it felt like concrete and got thrown around by that monster for like fifteen seconds I come up and bam down again, I just kept paddling for shore getting pounded each time. Scariest thing thats ever happened but makes a good story. Kidding. But good stories so far
Back in the mid 80's, early in my surfing career at Duck Pier in OBX. Still the biggest waves I've ever surfed. It was the morning after a big nor'easter and hadn't quite cleaned up but was well on its way. The "shore break" 40-50 yards or so outside of the end of the pier was about half way out. And, if I remember correctly the pier is about a 1/4 mile long. The combo of being young, dumb and stoked was the only thing that kept us paddling for at least 45 min. into line after line of whitewater until we finally got out. The violence of how fast my board was ripped from my hands during a few duck dives was incredible.
Caught about 4 waves over a 2 hour period and decided to go in. Rode one until it closed out and I started to paddle for the beach. Well, on the way out I hadn't thought about what it would be like to get blasted shoreward by 3x overhead lines of white water for a couple hundred yards to the beach. No waves to catch...just let the whitewater hit ya and hold on. It was a very vivid realization of how small and insignificant I really was to the world.
very big days in rockaway can be tough next to the big 90th st jetty. you had to time it right, otherwise you were getting worked in some weird inside area right next to the jetty. a lot of ppl walk out but that's just not for me. not sure how it is post-sandy
Last edited by mOtion732; Nov 27, 2012 at 11:29 PM.