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This was one of the most fun days of the winter so far: relatively warm water in the upper 50s, 3- to 5-foot barrels and light offshore winds. Here's one of me taking it all in. Photo: Daniel Brittain.

This was one of the most fun days of the winter so far: relatively warm water in the upper 50s, 3- to 5-foot barrels and light offshore winds. Here’s one of me taking it all in. Photo: Daniel Brittain.


The Inertia

Over the years, I’ve received more skeptical/negative comments about winter surfing than I care to rememberI don’t understand why you would do that to yourself. You must be crazy. Do you actually enjoy being cold?

Most of the commentary comes from non-surfers. Some of it doesn’t. I’m most definitely not here to get on a high horse about surfing in the cold. I’ve come to learn that surfing means many different things to those who do it. Some like it only when it’s warm outside. Some hate it when it’s choppy. Some are weekend warriors and others are hardcore lifers. Some brave the coldest temperatures our latitude throws at them. Some don’t.

And you know what? It’s all good. Heck, that’s what makes our sport and lifestyle so great: No one can tell you there’s a right or wrong way to do it, and that’s true from everything from the kind of board you ride to what weather suits you best.

But for those of us willing to don all-too-many millimeters of neoprene, winter hasn’t disappointed here in the Mid-Atlantic. With as many bends in the coast as anywhere south of New York, if there’s a swell in the water, it’s bound to be fun somewhere within a few hours’ drive. It seems that we have settled into a favorable pattern of low pressure systems and/or frontal boundaries providing new, distinct swells almost weekly. From Delmarva down to the southside of Hatteras Island, the momentum from a solid run of fall swells has continued into the early stages of winter.

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Sure beats the hell out of last summer, which turned out to be one of the most placid we’ve seen in some time.

You see, if you want to score the best surf the East Coast has to offer, you’d better get used to the 5mm shuffle on some frigid roadside. The ice cream headaches. The bone-chilling flushes.

It’s a trade-off that’s too much for some.

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Sounds pretty good, if you ask me.

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