Worst paddle out

Discussion in 'Global Surf Talk' started by MHS222, Nov 27, 2012.

  1. MHS222

    MHS222 Active Member

    Sep 9, 2011
    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.
  2. MrMacdugal

    MrMacdugal Well-Known Member

    Aug 19, 2011
    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

  3. RID

    RID Well-Known Member

    Feb 1, 2011
    Hurricane Bill at the Wall was a tough paddleout.
  4. 252surfer

    252surfer Well-Known Member

    Dec 1, 2010
    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.
  5. surfislife

    surfislife Well-Known Member

    Nov 17, 2011
    I never paddle out at the Wall if it's over head high its too much work.i rather hit up the point breaks..
  6. Gfootr

    Gfootr Well-Known Member

    Dec 26, 2009
    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.
  7. MHS222

    MHS222 Active Member

    Sep 9, 2011
    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
  8. Zman9398

    Zman9398 Well-Known Member

    May 16, 2012
    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
  9. goosemagoo

    goosemagoo Well-Known Member

    May 20, 2011
    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.
  10. mOtion732

    mOtion732 Well-Known Member

    Sep 18, 2008
    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: Nov 27, 2012
  11. vtsurfer

    vtsurfer Member

    Dec 3, 2011
    Last October, at The Wall. Cant remember if it was a hurricane or not, but it was head high. It was my 3rd time ever surfing. I was on a 7'10" Funshape, so no duck diving, just getting pounded over and over. Total kook. I did not think I was going to get out. After about 30-40 min I got out, then proceeded to wipe out and get stuck in the impact zone over and over all day. I learned a lot that day.
  12. cackedinri

    cackedinri Well-Known Member

    May 21, 2012
    ^^gnar essay. too much passive voice i reckon though.
  13. MHS222

    MHS222 Active Member

    Sep 9, 2011
    Flea? Is that you?

    I love the Cali stories - wish my continental shelf wasn't so large.... hmmm anyhow... for waves to be breaking over the end of that pier is insane. That pier must be close to 25/30 feet off the water in that shot. craziness. For someone to be surfing for 25+ years and one day to stand out like that it must have been critical. Duck diving guns is obviously possible since the big wave guys make it through crazy breaks but there's no way you can push all that volume and surface area through a truly thick face... just scratch as hard as you can to get over the top.
    Anyone ever have a super long paddle out? ive heard stories of offshore reefs in Indo being a solid 3/4 mile paddle, and guys with no boat, decent swell and purportedly large carnivorous fish making the paddle to have a go.
  14. Stranded in Smithfield

    Stranded in Smithfield Well-Known Member

    Jan 15, 2010
    ^ Not heavy but a long Indo paddle story. I started at HH Sanur which is already 1/3 off a mile out caught some waves pealing nicely down the reef...thought 'grass is greener' it looks better further up the reef...paddled up their caught some more waves talked to some Aussies... 'grass is greener' got the better of me again paddled up the reef caught more waves talked to some Aussies... repeat the process a couple more times till I'm like a mile out not quite to Hyatt but scary far when you realize your all by yourself at a unfamiliar spot and no one knows where you are in the midst of tiger shark country...the tide dropped quickly causing the waves to closeout in knee deep water over reef. Could I take the direct route in? Sure but off the reef the water gets deeper and I'm in no mood for a 3/4 mile paddle with the jaws theme playing in my head. So I take beatings on closeouts the mile or so back down the reef to sanur by the time I got back the tide was so low I could walk most of the 1/3 of a mile straight in to the beach. Luckily by then a few years of Micronesia had turned my feet into virtual reef booties. Not the longest paddle ever but longest in a strange place. A lot of the spots in Micronesia were 1/2 to 3/4 mile+ paddles but reefs and passes not continuous whitewater.
    Heaviest paddle out? Beachies OBX at OH-DOH for sure. Florida super storm Sandy was still playful at that size. OBX gets heavy at that size...one of two times I've almost drown.
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2012
  15. nynj

    nynj Well-Known Member

    Jul 27, 2012
    I have never seen anyone successfully duck dive a decent wave on a longboard... So I googled it like you said and almost everything says it's next to impossible to do. How do you do it?
  16. LBCrew

    LBCrew Well-Known Member

    Aug 12, 2009
    For me, it was out on Parramore Island, VA, before the Nature Conservancy took it over. We used to go out there over spring break and camp for a week at a time. We'd kayak out with food and water and tents... surfboards strapped to our boats or towing behind... because it was pretty much uninhabited and had no water. You had to time the trips out and back with the tide because it can be a tough paddle against the current through the back bays and creeks. One trip we knew we'd be getting huge surf, because a storm was bearing down, and taking the ferry from Cape May to Lewis was a rough one, with the boat rolling side to side so hard that looking out the window it was... water... sky... water... sky. When we finally parked the truck in Wachapreague, loaded up, and hit the water, we knew we'd be cutting it close with daylight. We just got there at dark, got set up and tried to sleep. But we couldn't... the muffled roar of storm surf filtering through the trees from the other side of the island all night was too scary and exciting to let our minds go to rest.

    The next day we suited up at first light and walked through the woods to the beach. It was big and breaking way out... I don't even know how many sets of sandbars you had to paddle over to get to the outside, but it was breaking so far out you couldn't really see where the outside was setting up. The current was running like a river, so we walked waaaaay up the beach and jumped in. There was no timing it... it was just non stop pounding surf. We never made it to the outside. We ended up drifting for MILES struggling to make it out, and just never did. Finally we started to see we were coming to the south end of the island, so we just came in and walked back, exhausted and defeated.

    The next day was perfect, overhead barrels (mostly lefts) and offshore. From hell to heaven in 24 hours.
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2012
  17. brewengineer

    brewengineer Well-Known Member

    Jun 22, 2011

    Actually, I surf with a couple very seasoned surfers (20+ years experience), and they now ride longboards until it gets well overhead. They cannot duck dive their boards. They usually roll them to get through bigger waves.

    Actually, I found this on google: http://howtobuyasurfboard.net/techniques/duck-diving-your-longboard-in-big-water/

    That is what I do, and I do not call it a duck dive. When it is higher than 4 ft, I use the second method of diving while holding on to the back where the lease fastens. Not the best methods, but it works.
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2012
  18. ClemsonSurf

    ClemsonSurf Well-Known Member

    Dec 10, 2007
    trying to duck dive through a wall of white wash is pretty hard but you can perform a duck dive type manuver a couple times without too much trouble if you can go through the face. Basically, push down on the nose on one side so the board slices through. Then once the water starts coming over you level the board back out it should pull you through.

    Definitely not the same as duck diving a shortboard but similar.
  19. jgrif22

    jgrif22 Member

    Apr 27, 2007
    Playa Hermosa, CR. First time on a new twin fin. It was pretty heavy and mostly closing out. I paddled for a solid 45 minutes. It was the only time I haven't made it out as an experienced surfer. The only guy catching anything was getting towed in with a ski. It was real sketchy getting back to the beach, as I had been pushed down near the rocks.
  20. stinkbug

    stinkbug Well-Known Member

    Dec 21, 2010
    OBX lighthouse on a bigger day...sweep down the beach can be brutal. Denied 4 times.
    They say OB SF is the worst of the worst, but I've never been there.
    I've never had a problem at any reef breaks, Hawaii, Indo, Puerto Rico, etc.
    But anytime the water is really really cold, like NE water 40 and below, the paddle outs are always worse, even if the conditions aren't as bad. I'd rather take a beating in warm water than 35 degree water with a 5 mil w/ hood, boots, and gloves, any day of the week.