Hurricane season is officially underway here in Florida, and with that comes the annual September Surf Expo in Orlando. Now there are three things you can bet on when the Expo comes around: rain, girls, and waves. 1) It always rains when you’re moving your wares into the Expo on set-up day. 2) There are more pretty girls at the Surf Expo than any other show all year at the Orlando Convention Center. And 3) The waves always come up, and this year was by far one of the best years during the Expo on record.
The problem is you’re stuck at the Expo selling your goods, lining up advertisers for the next year, and talking with everyone about how good the waves are right now. But we’re all landlocked an hour away from the ocean. Come Saturday morning, the last day of the show, all of the ESM crew chose to bail and head home to surf and get some photo evidence of the waves. As soon as I hit the coast on Saturday, I went up to the top of a local high-rise to see how the swell looked and check out the conditions. From there, I headed north to one of the better spots that holds a larger swell. The waves were good, clean, and crowded, and I shot for about an hour before deciding to head south to Sebastian Inlet to look for talent to shoot.
On the way, I did a drive-by along the ocean to see how the swell was hitting — it looked really good, so I just kept moving. Getting down to the Inlet, I was surprised by the talent and Surf Expo attendees that were already out. The usual locals were in the water with a smattering of surfers that I saw in Orlando; I guess all the talk of Hurricane Leslie made them decide to bail for the coast too. I shot a bit off the jetty and then went for a swim, which is always so much more fun. I’d much rather be out in the surf mixing it up with the pros and being part of the energy set after set, wave after wave, while hearing everyone’s comments to each other after a good wave — or, even more fun, a good wipeout. There’s nothing like documenting it all from the water.
We ended up getting three good days of surf with offshore winds all day long and a few broken boards along the way. Hurricane Leslie finally jumpstarted the waves here in Central Florida and I for one can’t wait for the next swell to hit. Hopefully when it does I won’t be landlocked in Orlando.