Yeah, it seems like that Nor'easter messed up the AI bars. I remember a couple of fun days at the start of the gov shutdown at AI state, and now it is closeout city. I went straight to town yesterday in the PM and had a blast.
Went out for an hour in OC, definitely seems to be more peaks compared to Assateague, especially near a jetty. I hope the sandbars get back to where they were pretty soon, I love the way Assateague breaks farther out, but if its just going to do nothing but dump it doesn't matter.
I paddled out at Assateague around mid afternoon for about maybe at hour and thought it was awful. The light onshores and new sand bars with the deep inshore trough were causing nearly constant rips that were scuffing up every wave coming in. Drove into town in a wet wetsuit and was rewarded with better waves and half the crowd.
Seriously? Crowded lineup for waist high Assateague in November. I read a good quote in the local paper. "Surfing is currently in a groovy phase"
34th on Saturday was Closeout City. AI was the same. Never made it down to where you ended up catching it clean. Nice going. Today was fun on some pitchy small stuff between the mini jetties as the high tide ran out.
And you state it perfectly re: the crowds at AI...it was only a couple of seasons ago that the AI lots seemed nearly empty on days like today. I always viewed Ai as the region's jewel, unknown & unvisited by most humans. Man, has that changed.
I guess the most obvious sign was the electronic gate with automated vehicle counter the NPS installed at the wild side. The lines to get in this summer were half a mile long & people were sitting there for 3 or 4 hours waiting on a vehicle to leave the park.