WTF is a Folly?

Discussion in 'Mid Atlantic' started by zach619, Apr 3, 2011.

  1. zach619

    zach619 Well-Known Member

    Jan 21, 2009
    I keep running into the term "Folly" when looking at spots in the south carolina area... I have googled this term every way I can think of, and it retuns no results with regards to the ocean at all...

    Folly, by definition is a Foolish Act.

    As far as structures go, Follies are defined as structured that are built for looks, that have zero function....

    So, when they are discussing "Follies" in SC, are they refering to old broken piers or jetties that no longer function???

    For example... This beach says. "Paddle out next to the folly"... Watch out for rocks... etc. etc...

    Everything down there is called "FOlly Beach road... " Or Folly this and that,....

    So, with regards to surfing and nautical terms, WHAT THE *&^$ IS A FOLLY?

    A pier? A jetty? A rivermouth? None of the above?

    Im lost here... someone on here has to know!
  2. GnarActually

    GnarActually Well-Known Member

    Sep 30, 2007
    dude, its a name of a beach. it was probably someones last name that lived in the area that first inhabited the area......

  3. zach619

    zach619 Well-Known Member

    Jan 21, 2009
    That was my first logical thought, but that is not the case. I am not refering to "Folly Beach" in charleston....

    A Folly, or The Folly, or The Folly Opening is references at dozens of spots in South Carolina,...

    Here is an example, taken from's Burke's Beach description on Hilton Head:

    "this can get good<br />u go to the beach and find the folly opening, paddle out, and there is a sand bar<br />90 degrees to the beach, surf it but watch for currents and dont get pulled to the rocks<br />or into the folly, many people die here, or u can surf the beach break at any public<br />beach."

    So, this is just one example... But they are not referencing a name or a person. They are referencing an actual "Folly" and "Folly Opening"....

    So, that is why I am wondering, wtf an actual folly is? It makes no sense????

    A rivermouth? The above description makes me think that its a Jetty.... they say, dont get sucked into the folly... Is a folly an old broken Jetty that no longer functions? A broken peir? A rivermouth current?

    Still don't know... I will post this in the SE section of the site, but this area is much more heavily trafficed.
  4. Spongegnar

    Spongegnar Well-Known Member

    Feb 19, 2009
    Much of what we know concerning the history of Folly Beach comes from its close geographic and cultural connections to the city of Charleston, South Carolina. The name "folly" is thought to have come from the Old English translation of the word, which means a clump of trees or a thicket. This name appears historically appropriate for the island.

    found this on google
  5. Spongegnar

    Spongegnar Well-Known Member

    Feb 19, 2009
    it said the coastline was covered in dense trees
  6. zach619

    zach619 Well-Known Member

    Jan 21, 2009
    So, im thinking that a "Folly" by that regard is a bunch of tree stumps/debris that is under the ocean. So, when they say that the waves break very well because of "The Folly", it must almost act as s tree like reef on the seafloor, very close to shore...

    So, a folly is exposed tree limbs/trunks underwater... is that safe to assume now?
  7. ECboarder

    ECboarder Well-Known Member

    Feb 11, 2009
    in folly beach and all through sc, there are wooden/rock "jetties". this is what they are refferring to. the currents can get kinda nasty by them at times so thats why theyre saying watch out. the "folly's" are not very organized but unorganized lines of wood and rocks that run out into the water about 30 yd. plus.
  8. zach619

    zach619 Well-Known Member

    Jan 21, 2009
    Sweet. Sounds like a semi-reef setup (potentially)... I assume these are mostly natural? from old trees that collect rocks etc and build up. Not usually old broken piers etc?
  9. burdturd

    burdturd Well-Known Member

    Aug 18, 2009
    Folly - The best band to ever come out of jersey.
  10. surfnut1018

    surfnut1018 Well-Known Member

    Mar 20, 2007

    This makes sense. Not to nerd it out, but I used to work in a research center transcribing colonial court records. A lot of early land patents (the first deeds to a piece of property entering the english legal system) where named ____'s Folly. I'm sure they were refering to the Old English translation rather than our modern. I'm sure it's just a tie over from an earlier historical period.
  11. kidrock

    kidrock Well-Known Member

    Aug 1, 2010

    FWIW, I lived on Folly for about 6 months for a Fall and Winter some years back. The U.S. Government footed the bill for my residence, a house situated right on the beach about a stone's throw from the best break on the island (Washout).

    I think the waves tend to funnel in at that spot a bit better than the rest of the island because of a big hurricane that touched down right on that spot, creating a big trench (hence, "washout"). Maybe Hurricane Andrew? Sometime around 1992 I think.

    I guess if I could compare Washout to any other break, it might be comparable to OCMD. Maybe even a little like IB, but not quite as long or strong. But it breaks top-to-bottom and will snap a few boards.