if your surfing the shoals, the point is that its way bigger out there, but its near impossible to get lined up for a wave becaause you have no point of referance to know where you are or how fast your drifting, which believe me is REALLY fast.
It's not automatically bigger just because it's breaking offshore. It depends upon the swell, the wind, the direction of the swell, and especially the bottom. As for a point of reference, a lineup is a lineup is a lineup. Triangulation works near shore and offshore. Plus I would assume you have an anchored boat nearby, so you have yet another reference point, albeit one that wanders a bit at the end of its anchor line.
What has made the shoals a bit uneven is the way the ''Currituck'' dredge kept dumping it's load out there. While it didn't unload in the same spot every time, it did frequent that general area, thereby adding considerable quantities of sand from the inlet. A friend and I took my jetboat out there last summer to see if we could snag some uncrowded waves. The inlet was decent size (waist high) so we thought we'd find it bigger out there. Not so. In fact, in the hour it took us to get the boat and cruise out the inlet, the size was only knee high and the tide and southerly wind had done their damage. We charted the bottom contour over a succession of breaking areas and found it to be 3' deep on average with a VERY wide succession of re-forming breaks, and all of them at some really odd angles.
We rode a couple of waves with the boat because it wasn't really board ridable, and called it a day. Evidently dumping sand screws up a break as much as pumping sand does. Oh for the seventies when moving sand was left up to nature. Ya Reeeeaaallllllly missed it.
good point mdsurfer.....i know its not "automatically bigger" .... im thinking about like a really south or southwest swell that tends to not get into the beach as much... you know those days when you can see the swell chugging along outside along the beach (or on the shoals) but its only like knee high on the beach?
And as for the lineup thing... im just saying that its harder to stay on a specific peak, even with reference points like buoys, nothing compares to having a beach and a jetty and buildings to "triangulate" yourself. I guess im thinking too much about paddle surfing though, I can see how it would be much easier just cruising around with a ski. But remember were also talking about two different shoals.... i cant speak for the ocean city shoals.... ive only been out to hens and chickens and a few other little sand bars in the mouth of the delaware.... and when the tide is comming in/out there is a massive amount of water moving through the area.