|ESPN.com: Surfing||[Print without images]|
2:45 came early on Tuesday morning of May 25th. I'd only slept for a couple hours, as I was frothing on the overhead surf this rogue system known as Invest 90 had produced. And I knew it was going to be a long, adventurous day ahead. I anxiously jumped out of bed, drank six cups of coffee, jammed to Led Zeppelin, and gathered my gear to be ready when Jesse Hines picked me up at 3 am. We had a four hour drive and a fifteen minute jetski ride ahead of us to get to this fickle south-facing spot in Southern Outer Banks. But everyone knows if you don't pony up, you're not winning the hand.
Before making the trek south, we met up with fellow Outer Banks shredders Drew and Mike Meredith, Jesse Fernandez, and Jeff Myers at 7-11. Drew and Mike gassed up their two skis and Fernandes and Myers were picking up a ski on the way. After donuts and a few more cups of coffee, we began caravanning south.
|East Coast ledgendary shaper/surfer, Jesse Fernandez, prepping the gear.|
Driving three hours on country roads in the dark is usually a bit nerve-racking, but if you're heading to a beautiful island that offers perfect barrels yards from the beach, your nerves will understand. The East Coast had been a placid pool for about a month and the water was finally warming up. Hines and I had both been to this spot before and knew how epic it could be.
After a few pit stops we all made it to the boat ramp and quickly launched the skis. The sun was out, but rain and wind were quickly approaching. We packed our food, water, camera gear, and clothes in a dry bag, strapped the boards to a sled on the back of a ski, and took off for the island. Adrenalin was pumping.
|Drew Meredith's hand looking better after a tide change.|
We arrived around 9 a.m. -- soaked and stoked. We anchored the skis and hiked across the island. Even rain from a spring squall couldn't douse our expectations. Our first glance at the surf was a bit of a heartbreaker. With an extremely low tide around noon, the surf was already pretty drained out. The outer bars were shredding the overhead swells to pieces. We surfed for a few hours anyway because we hadn't surfed in weeks. Everyone got a couple fun ones, but hoped the best was yet to come.
At 1 p.m., the surf still looked hideous. It was half the size it was when we got there and it was raining sideways. The wind was up to 15-25 mph. Everyone else on the island started leaving. They were over the weather and the surf didn't seem to be coming together. We waited. We knew it was going to turn on and at this point, with all ouf our collective chips sitting in the pot.
Someone hit a switch an hour later. The tide got high enough that the swells were bypassing the outer bars, coming all the way inside and opening wide for everyone with patience to enjoy. With four hours of light left and a handful of people out, Hines, Jesse Fernandez, Joey Crum, and the Merediths paddled out for a marathon session for the memory bank.
|Hours of travel and downtime were well worth the pay out. Jesse Hines, shack of the day on the Southern Outer Banks|
Hines got the waves of the day, including two standup barrels. Myers got countless frontside and backside tubes. Drew and Mike were getting spat out of perfect drainers. Jesse Fernandez and Joey Crum actually managed to do some turns amid their shacks. The rain stopped and the sun even popped out. They were the only people out with an hour of light left. Patience is a virtue, especially as East Coast surfers.
|Joey Crum managed a turn amongst all the shacks.|
The sun started to set so we called it a day. We packed up, hopped on the skis, and headed back to the boat ramp. Everyone was exhausted, but it was worth every minute for that afternoon session. With summer doldrums right around the corner, we knew we had to make the best of it. Aces all around.