With only 96 hours left until Memorial Day, East Coasters can smell summer lurking right around the corner. But surfers look at June and July with a different type of trepidation. Those first two months are traditionally the worst for motion in the Atlantic Ocean — rare and often weak tropical systems, no more cold fronts, the rearrival of persistent onshore winds... When the allure of a two- to three-foot Bermuda high windswell is the biggest thrill around, you know things are bad.
May, on the other hand, is a more finicky but ultimately more rewarding beast. The weather can veer from hot to cold in a handful of hours, spawning tornados, freak snowstorms, and yes, periods of pumping, powerful waves. Nearly the entire East Coast savored such unpredictable moments last week and weekend: glassy ramps in the Southeast, fun keggers in the Mid-Atlantic, and barrels galore in the Northeast (we hear the Caribbean has gone a little looney too). Even more symbolic of the seasonal shift, some surfers were wearing boardshorts, some were still rocking hoods and booties. Mid-May isn't always so nice — but the way 2014's wave pattern has established itself, who knows what kind of freak goods June and July will deliver as well.