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  1. Cape Fear and the associating sandbars

    hi boys and girls, i'm sure everyone up and down the coast has been getting some action these past few days and i'm stoked for ya. i generally check swellinfo out anytime i need solid information/a good laugh/or to kill boredom, and i really feel that this is the #1 site i've found for all of those things in one. just decided to join today as a matter of fact.<br /><br />i did want to point out one thing to the administration and any traveling surfers regarding Southern North Carolina's south facing beaches and our infamous Cape Fear shoals. today, Sunday the 10th your Holden Beach icon was showing potentially chest high waves on the sets. i felt pretty confident that at best we were only going to be seeing waves in the waist high range depending on the local winds. the reason i say that is due to Cape Fear and the miles and miles of shoals that just take a major bite out of any swell that has the word \"east\" in it. E/ESE/SE swells whether they be ground or wind, just get all the potential energy sucked out of them when they have to cross those shoals. that i've been aware of, only storms that are pushing from a S to N course can eek in some of that swell for our area and that's with the swell coming from a more favorable S/to SSE/to by the time it's true SE you can feel the swell dropping out quickly (including Hurricane Sandy). for me and knowing what little bit i know about these things, i would take a 2 to 3 foot SW windswell any day of the week at my beach over a 6 to 8 foot ground/windswell out of the SE. i hear the word east in it, and i think i better be going to Wilmington if i really feel like surfing. in fact to show the true dynamic of it, i was at Bald Head one day earlier in 2012 and the east facing beach was probably chest high and just punchy shorebreak, while you strolled around the Cape to the south beach and it was slick as a lake... you could have went waterskiing that particular day. if i'm remembering correctly, HB was forecast to have decent rideable waves all day long, and it was just completely flat.<br /><br />so in theory the waves should have been close to chest high today, but taking into account those shoals, it just can't ever happen. i sat at the beach (Ocean Isle) from 9am until 10am and i was seeing maybe thigh high one wave sets every 10 minutes this morning. for a longboard, it \"might\" have been fun. might. <br /><br />so anyways, i'm new to this and just wanted to share a little information. i've seen on here where you like to be able to adjust your forecasts when needed so we're all able to be better informed on those rare days the waves get good. i'll shut up now and i really enjoy the site.

  2. haha, also i tried to space out what i wrote into 4 paragraphs, but from the preview page to the submit page it got all jumbled up into one dragged out heap of mumbo jumbo. sorry about that. oh well....

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
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    nope, thoroughly enjoyed your post. (but i live here in SE NC, so it might more interesting to me than others).

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
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    North Carolina
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    You learn something new everyday.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
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    Stayin' Classy in San Diego
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    Best first post ever. We can always use more ocean minded round here.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Wilmington
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    2,340
    Johnny, you're mostly correct.

    Except: There is no such thing as "Cape Fear Shoals." They are actually called "Frying Pan Shoals" and extend about 50 miles out to the 'Stream, where the infamous Frying Pan Tower is.

  7. yeah Erock, in the past few years i've started to realize the potential that Bald Head holds and what it must be like on the right day out there... when we were teenagers i remember hearing stories about Ben Bourgeois and some of his older friends that would take boats way out into the ocean to surf some mysto break that they would rave about, never disclosing the location. i always assumed it was some anomaly way out off of Wrightsville. but now that i'm older i realize they must have been talking about heading out along the Eastern edge of the Frying Pan shoals and just finding some ridiculously good waves from time to time. i don't think my nerves would let me sit way out in the open ocean like that. i'd have to be with a good crew, that's for sure.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
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    Wilmington
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    Quote Originally Posted by johnnydon'tsurf View Post
    yeah Erock, in the past few years i've started to realize the potential that Bald Head holds and what it must be like on the right day out there... when we were teenagers i remember hearing stories about Ben Bourgeois and some of his older friends that would take boats way out into the ocean to surf some mysto break that they would rave about, never disclosing the location. i always assumed it was some anomaly way out off of Wrightsville. but now that i'm older i realize they must have been talking about heading out along the Eastern edge of the Frying Pan shoals and just finding some ridiculously good waves from time to time. i don't think my nerves would let me sit way out in the open ocean like that. i'd have to be with a good crew, that's for sure.
    Yeah, that was probably Mark Hunt and Fish(RIP) he was going with. The Shoals can break pretty good but they shift so much it's hard to pinpoint where they will. I've seen waves breaking about 15 or so miles out on a couple occasions out fishing for Kings and Cobia around what is known as "The Fairway," a deep trench about half way out the Shoals that is marked as a channel and what the big boats use to cross from either side of the Shoals without having to go almost all the way to the Tower. I'm sure it can get epic on the right swell.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Wilmington NC
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    Under the right swell, wind and tide conditions, the shoals turn into one of the best waves in the region. Usually the only crowd is a substantial population of large sharks, which you will see if you make it out there. High pucker factor but can be worth it.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Wilmington
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    And yes, lots and lots of Sandbar, Spinner, Black Tip, Bull, Mako (yes, they come that close in on the West side of the shoals), Genie, Mary Lee, Lydia and all their friends to happily share waves with you.

    There is a fishing spot a little more West of the Shoals called the Shark Hole.... for good reason. You can OCCASIONALLY catch a King or Mahi there though.