got some fun 'cane swells when I lived on the east coast. When I moved to L.A., I was surprised to find out even they get a few big honking hurricane swells per season.
It's relatively rare for hurricanes to travel so far west in the pacific to be within the swell windows of the south facing beaches north of L.A. We do get some leftovers every summer, but, at that point, it's usually from a waning tropical storm heading out to cold water - not epic.
The best hurricane swells I've ever ridden were in Cabo:
The best one, I got there just after it made landfall and the torrential rain had broken open all the river mouths. Multiple point break-like setups all down the beach. Absolutely perfect head high+ offshore barreling A-frames for 2 weeks...but, with that came floating palm trees, debris, dead animals and hepatitis in the water. Everybody was dead sick for 2 weeks after we got home.
2 years later, I went back and scored a double OH swell with the hurricane safely passing by just to the south. Waves weren't as clean and no broken river mouths, but there tons of spots to surf right in town...many of them all to yourself. Got one of the biggest waves of my life at zippers on that hurricane.
Last edited by waterbaby; Jul 27, 2013 at 03:30 AM.
I didn't even intend to paddle out on the Saturday during Hurricane Bill. I got intimidated from the buoy readings, and I went out the day before, Friday. If anyone remembers, we had a swell from a Tropical Storm which came before Bill which was still in the water Friday afternoon. Then the front runners from Bill came, combined with incoming tide and I got my ass handed to me a couple of times. The whole Friday session made me hesitant towards going out the next day when the Bill swell was scheduled to peak.
A buddy of mine called me early at dawn Saturday morning and we met up on the beach, I had a camera and a cup of coffee on hand because all I intended to do was watch and take pics. Although it looked large, there were long lulls, pristine conditions, shoulders, and everything looked makeable. We paddled out and I got out with my hair dry, even though we had to go so far out since the waves were of size, like how you always do when theres a big 'cane swell. I picked out maybe the medium sized waves, and only caught 4 during the first hour. Avoided the clean up sets which were probably 8ft+ only (I know I'm a puss). But we had a blast. The crowd thickened around 9-ish and we left. Went out again Sunday morning, same spot, and when the waves were smaller but more my speed (head high on the sets). The crowd stayed small all morning probably due to being so tired from the previous day. Then we got another swell the following weekend.
sandy devastated everyone so probably nobody surfed it.i was looking forward to Irene but my town was flooded in and they had the parkway closed off at exit 98.biggest day I surfed was hurricane bill at the inlet at 630 am on sunday as the storm peaked,solid 12ft closeouts.i remember it looked like a Hawaii,wasnt perfect at all,but big and mean.guys were paddlin out through the inlet,took a good 10minutes to make it past the shorebreak and the rip,as the waves were breaking out past the jetty(which hardly ever happens).most fun day was nor'ida I think it was Friday the 13th,which spooked us out a bit.went to a little spot out in long island.i paddled for a solid 8footer,and my boy tried to snake me and we both went down near the rocks.my leash hog tied me and when I came up I realize I was standing on my boy lol.that was a great day.hurricane earl came in,i went to the only spot I knew that could handle the size,and no its not the inlet.dont know if its a outer sandbar or an offshore reef,but only on bigdays when everywhere is a washing machine,this spot breaks about 500yards out past the jetty and its a crazy waimea kind of hunk of shyt,but the waves were atleast 15ft with 20ft faces(in nj!!!!!)I remember it was me,my buddy,and 2 other guys out.a big clean up set came in,i was the only one who paddled for the horizon,managed to dive through the first 2,but the last one,i stood up on my 7'3 and dived off.when it was over,i realized everyone got blasted to the beach and I was the only one out there,in the middle of the sea,pretty fiken scary.and I think that was the latest good hurricane swell worth talkin about.had a few little tropical storms since then,but nothing worth talkin bout lol.havnt missed a good hurricane swell since 2005
Andrew WK mentioned Hurricane Floyd in the Dorian thread and that got me thinking bout the Hurricanes over the years that stand out in mind for good surf, destruction, or ones where we hunkered down and got toasted. Obviously Sandy is still fresh in everyone's mind around here but it wasn't the first one where I saw the destruction first hand. Hugo back in 89 destroyed my Uncle's house in PR.
The first one I remember surfing was Gloria waaaay back in 1985. Head high plus on a 70s single fin. You could say I took a serious beating. It didn't occur to me to wait for winds to turn offshore.
The first one I really remember being in tune with was Hurricane Bob. Think it was 1991? We got that one good before it went up and clobbered New England.
Two storms before Floyd was Dennis. I remember massive drops at the Wooden Jetty on LBI. Saved two kids who got washed out that day. Think it was labor Day weekend. I think that one is still me favorite.
I'm sure the Florida guys have lots of stories. Let's hear em.
The Summer/Autumn of '95, when some of the groms on here were created perhaps, after their parents celebrated a day/week/summer of solid surf
Summer of 95 i believe the storm was Felix it did a circles off of rhode island. I believe we had over a month straight of overhead waves in NJ. Hurricane Gert in 99' the swell hit the day after floyd and manasquan inlet went bonkers. Recently i would have to say Eduardo and then Irene.
95 was my favorite. After that summer I started a surfing tour that lasted almost 5 years.
In 2011 I was in montauk for Katia (I think). I surfed 2 days at ditch that was just massive. The waves were way over head but ditch is a pretty forgiving wave so I was able to surf on a little quad egg. It was just a huge playful wave that went on forever
After surfing all morning I came out to my little boy running down the beach and my wive following with a cup of Joe
Pretty magical moment for me.
2007, last week of august, I forget the storm, but the entire outer banks was draining OH+ to DOH long right handers alllllll down the beach. High tide shore break looked like 60 miles of the wedge. Surf stuck around for like 4-5 days. I have since done a ton of surf travel but I still gauge "solid waves" from my memories of that swell, so much power unloading on the sandbars, but so perfect...
I can't remember which hurricane it was,I try to hit them all, but it was pre Isabel because my Jeep wasn't schmooshed yet. the wife and I drove to Oregon inlet with it off the coast. I was deflating the tires and locking the hubs when this guy drives off. Said he couldn't tell how big it was. we drove down, and there was a fog bank 29 yards or so off the beach. you could hear the his and boom as the waves peal down the beach. I paddle out into the bank and it was sweet. several feet over head, glassy rights, breaking on a shallow bar the wife said she stood there looking for me, heard me hooting yards to the north, then drove up. occasionally I'd get washed out of the bank and she could pin point my location.
Without a doubt, Gloria in the fall of 85 is my most lasting memory. Swell was short lived, but the late afternoon of the day it blew through was awesome. Strong off shores, and just massive walls. Was 16 and scared out of my mind. Got worked on my 2nd takeoff which was probably the best thing for me. After that, the fear lessened and I had the session of my life.
Bill and Irene were also a lot of fun and provided a few more days of waves, but Gloria is still my best day.