Hurricane Earl Surf Report- by Joe Walsh

Hurricane season can mean excellent surf along the eastern coast of the US, but you have to be ready to move at the drop of a hat if you want to score. According to the National Hurricane Center, hurricane season in the Atlantic begins June 1st and ends November 30th. When a hurricane strengthens and is on the move, waves can get big, and it happens quickly. Staying on top of the weather news is crucial, so thankfully we have the ever-improving Internet to help us out with this. I’ve found a couple of iPhone apps that help make last-minute travel to good surf a reality.

Last Wednesday morning I woke up in San Diego, checked the iMapStorm hurricane forecast app on my iPhone, and realized that Hurricane Earl was about to pelt the US East Coast starting the next day (September 2, 2010). Knowing that there was going to be surf, I needed to decide where the waves would be best.
#2 SwellInfo app, $2.99

This app is great for digesting surf forecasts quickly. You can save up to any five surf breaks and then scroll between them to see what surf break should be biggest and which ones will have the best wind. Its a great way to compare multiple spots and make the best decision on where to surf. I use this app all of the time while I’m in Costa Rica, Panama, and both US coasts.
My friends Patrick McNulty and David Levy (of LSD Surfboards) live in Narragansett, and since Rhode Island was supposed to get the swell the best I bought a $200 ticket to Providence. By Thursday morning I was surfing the increasing head-high swell that was caused by Hurricane Earl. Thank you iPhone apps! (yes I may be a nerd but I’m a surfing nerd)
A few weeks earlier David Levy had helped me shape my first board, a retro 6’4 single fin. I wanted a board for when the waves got bigger, something that held when it was really hollow or just plain big. Check out the early 80’s template-
By Friday September 3rd the swell had filled in completely and Point Judith, Rhode Island was breaking a solid double overhead on the sets. It was my birthday, and as my present I got to wax up the single fin and paddle out and into some bombs. It had been a while since I had felt those “elevator drops” associated with dropping into a wave and watching the top of it jump up over your head and out of your peripheral vision. Even on my single fin I was a bit undergunned, but I had a handful of great waves with huge drops and fast sections that made my session.
Here’s a video clip showing an average set. It got bigger than this later in the morning.


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