Epic Photos and Tales from Hurricane Sandy
Every once in a while, something will happen that is extra special. It could be a job promotion, a birthday surprise, or a hurricane named Sandy coming to your local beach. How fitting then, that the most prolific hurricane to ever hit the East Coast just happened to be named Sandy, that catastrophic swell that threw sand in all directions. I even saw a tarpon or mullet free diving off a huge Pumphouse monster in a photo by Mike Jones of Azhiaziam.
Leading up to this swell, I had been talking with good friend David Chambers about hurricane season possibly coming to a close. I guess my assumptions were very wrong. October 27th was a work day for me. I was shooting a Bar Mitvah, and all I was hearing were stories of the swell hitting at South Beach. When Monday came around I was out the door and headed south for Pumphouse. I walked up the boardwalk to see Slater out and waiting for a wave, but he never really managed to get into anything, so he jetted off south on the ski with Matt Kechele. We all packed up and headed to Reef Road. As I walked over the dune at The Road, the waves were reminiscent of Western Australia. Blue water, spitting tubes, and seemingly infinite lines marching in from the horizon. It was what every surfer dreams of.
I was like a kid in a candy store. Every second something was going on in the lineup: long tubes, empty spitters and rad wipeouts. After the session, we went back to a friend’s house to watch the footage from Super Sunday at Pumphouse. I was convinced that history was made for East Coast surfing.
The elements came together to make for an epic swell with all kinds of wild stories that we will be telling for years to come. All our prayers are with the families that were hit hard by this furious storm named Sandy. Like the old saying goes, the good comes with bad, and Sandy proved that beyond a doubt. Let’s just hope that everyone can try to get back to normal or at least a semblance of how things used to be.
Story by Trin Schloot
When I woke up Friday morning, a quick glance at the South Beach cam was all it took to get me down there. I ripped up all my bed sheets, packed a cooler, threw some pillows in the car and threw a 5’6 and 5’10 in my Saturn and headed for South Beach. Friday evening was fun 3-4 wedges and really crowded. I wasn’t too impressed. Saturday morning it was on, though. Really on. Lots of solid water moving and an incredibly strong current, but rifling lefts from hell. And it was only high tide. The first session was an eye opener to say the least. Mile long drift paddle outs and drifting five miles more, dodging floating debris and watching legit eight footers funnel across in front of me like it was Mundaka. The first wave looked like a big closeout way down the line, but the current was moving so fast and we were closing in on Boca Inlet. I just wanted to get my feet in the wax, drop in, and kick out before the wave closed out. Turns out the offshores held the lip up, and when I came off the bottom, I couldn’t believe my eyes. A perfect section cornered off in front of me, and all I had to do was stand there, give it a few check pumps, then doggie door it to make good on my escape. My friend Tyler snapped his board getting cleaned up by a big set, and the fiberglass lacerated his upper body. We had the buddy system going so that ended that session. Then low tide hit and things went from heavy to straight up disgusting. Waves barreling and spitting, barreling and spitting all the way down the entire beach. Paddling for them all, I could hear the heaving lip sections cracking into the flats, which is something I’ve never heard in my life. Some were only mind surf-able, while others had corners. The whole day felt like some kind of weird Twilight Zone. It was Mundaka in southern Florida. Meanwhile Nils, Liam, Kerr, Chad, Caleb and Tresher won’t answer their phones all day. I knew they wouldn’t believe the waves that were going down. They were in South Beach battling the crowds. Then Sunday happened. The crew showed up, and it was bigger, had longer periods, and way more energy. Nils got one he compared to Pipeline. Chad and Devon Tresher went out on 7’0s, and it was the real deal. On Sunday, Boca turned into 6-8ft lock-ins from hell. I’m lost for words. It was a day I’ll remember for the rest of my life.
Story by Kelly Virgulto, Director of Global Sales and Marketing at WaveJet
Being a West Coast company filled with East Coast natives, it was incredible to see the Atlantic Ocean come alive. This type of storm is a double edged sword. We were simultaneously stoked for the opportunity to get Cory, Shea, Chris Ward and others out on WaveJets in such incredible conditions, but concerned for our friends and family in the Northeast. But to be there on the ground to see the ocean come alive in Florida and the icons of Florida and the worldwide surf community get conditions this epic in their backyard was pretty amazing. Even better, our West Coast guys had the opportunity to surf Sandy’s swell. I’ve never seen anything like it, and feel so fortunate that we were able to be in South Florida last week. Now we just continue to send good thoughts to all of our friends up and down the East Coast who were harmed by Sandy’s wrath.
Story by Nick Crobaugh
Walking down the boardwalk of secret spot here in Boca, I had no idea what to expect. I’ve seen a decent swell march through here before and was visualizing, at most, a head-high wave. When we took our first couple of steps down to the sand, we heard the crash of a set smashing up the lower end of the boardwalk, bringing water right up to our feet. After a brief exchange of amazed looks, we ran down to the beach to witness something I have never seen. Solid eight foot faces screamed down the beach with 20 mph offshore winds holding up draining barrels. Standing in awe, I finally remembered I had a camera with me and began firing off shots left and right. Throughout the rest of the day, we checked a variety of spots from Delray to Pompano, and it was firing at every one. It was almost as though we had flown to Skeleton Bay with lefts endlessly peeling down the coast. I am truly stoked to have been able to see with my own eyes a swell that is sure to go down in history and I am even more blessed to have been able to capture it.
Story by David Chambers / New Smyrna Surfer
South Florida isn’t known for its consistency. This last week, however, told a different story. I left late Thursday morning to meet up with some of South Florida’s finest. Right when I pulled up to the beach, Wardo was getting spit on. South Beach went off for two days straight. Six to eight foot rights and lefts were breaking for as far as the eye could see. Sunday morning came, and we all went to the Pumphouse. Not many were out, but John Gossman and Charles Williams were trying to pack a few. Peter Mendia paddled out and scored a long driving tube which ignited Wardo’s fire. He went into surf mode and got on a ski and started putting on a rail to rail to tube surf clinic. Later on Shea, Evan, and Jesse Heilman took their crack at it and scored some amazing rides. Then Cory showed up and surfed for an hour, getting some of the best rides he has ever had on the East Coast. All in all, between Peter, Cory and Wardo, surfing history was written for the East Coast. They were the kings of the swell.