Photos, story and captions by Tom Dugan:
When Hurricane Florence started hitting the news, it was the first big “hurry up and wait” event of the 2018 Hurricane season as she meandered across the Atlantic Ocean and, eventually, started producing waves in my hometown area in Central Florida.
It turned away from Florida fortunately and then, most regrettably, barreled straight into the Carolinas. She hit with a heavy hand and on a slow moving west and south arc causing way more damage than coastal and inland locals would care to deal with replete with repercussions that they will be dealing with for years to come. After getting pummeled back-to-back with Frances and Jeanne a little over a decade ago the scars are still visible to both the mind and eye here in Brevard county and elsewhere and we totally empathize with all our friends and the citizens of the areas affected with wind and extreme water damage.
Throughout Hurricane Florence’s swell window in Central Florida morning high tides made for some spectacular shore pound wipeouts and a few really cool looking waves too. Photo: Dugan
For surfers along the east coast who were lucky ( this time ) it was a 10 day wave maker. From the islands of the Caribbean to Nova Scotia up north, everyone saw days of good surf. Photos hit the web with daily posts of people surfing and beautiful empty lineups. Going on Facebook or Instagram, you could not help but see your friends having fun and those living in heart wrenching pain or despair tamping down some of the stoke and enthusiasm and, hopefully encouraging the east coast surfing community to rise up and donate and assist in any way you can.
Fortunately for Florida the only impacts for us were early mornings surf checks acompanied by beautiful sunrise’s. This time… Photo: Dugan
Living in Central Florida meant looking for spots that break and can handle more sizable, long period north biased ground swells that can be channeled into long rideable sections and perfect right / left peaks and take-off’s. For some of those traveling to escape the destruction – like Chris Campbell from Folly Beach, S.C. and fellow Palmetto state refugees and longtime ESM senior photogs, Jim and Megan Whitney – and for the locals here in Central Florida, Florence produced some really nice rideable waves with excellent conditions with morning offshores.
With the tides running high the whole time so it was a gamble finding the right spot but winds were light and crowds changed day to day. I counted just four surfers out one morning and eighty-two the next. You just had to be on it until your place in the sun was found, and, thankfully, Florence gave us plenty of that and waves to boot. – Tom Dugan –
With Hurricane Florence bearing down on the Carolinas and mandatory evacuation called, Chris Campbell from Folly Beach S.C. rolled the dice and headed south to Florida and was very happy he did. Photo: Dugan
It’s not a swell without local shaper / board builder Sam Barker getting a few turns in during work hours. But then again, you do NEED to do your R&D. Photo: Dugan
Blake Speir …. heel to toe. Photo: Dugan
It’s not a real swell without a few sacrifices. Sorry to see this one go, looks like a nice board. Photo: Dugan
Nice little nugget for local Fergus Kelly who lives a few short blocks away from this particular wave and a great way to fine tune his competition chops for the 2018 Eastern Surfing Associations Championship where he won Junior Mens U18 with a dominating run through the most hotly contested division there is in the ESA. Photo: Dugan
Pick your weapon, draw your line. Three men take to the waves with three very different plan shapes to ride and enjoy the same waves in thier own way and style. Photo: Dugan
Beautiful conditions were the call for over a week. No wind, glassy conditions, and 4 to 6 foot waves kept big smiles on everyone’s faces. Jason Ochipa getting some for himself. Photo: Dugan
There was no shortage of women out surfing with warm water, temperature’s in the 90’s and where everyone was out to up their game. Coral Schuster certainly upped her’s as she slice’s and dice’s this beautiful, gouging power carve. Photo: Dugan
Don’t knock protecting every sqaure inch of your body from cancer causing ray’s of the harsh summer sun and give it up for the pretty ingenious floatie for your hat. And dig that classic Claudie Codgen fish! Photo: Dugan
At only 9 years old and very petite in stature, Kora Passarelli was out every day during Florences copious and surfed like crazy. Keep an eye on this young and fast budding talent ladies and gents! Photo: Dugan
Da boy’s where in full force all over Brevard. One day in Satellite, the next session at Sebastian or snooping around more esoteric possibilities and everywhere there was surf. It was such a long stretch of surf it gave them all days to surf every spot and then some. Tommy Coleman tail slide. Photo: Dugan
Currently rated number 6 on the WSL QS North American rankins, Chauncey Robinson takes to the air showing just why he’s one of the east coast’s top pro hopefuls. This kid really does have the tools to make a serious charge to break through to the next level. Photo: Dugan
Central Florida wildlife beach cruiser. Photo: Dugan
Morning high tide shore break. Looks kinda fun, No? Photo: Dugan
Chris Tucker stopped home for a few waves during Florence. Chris and his brother both work on a 225 foot yacht in the Mediterranean so they’re not home very often. They were both stoked to get a few waves with thier homeboys before heading back to work. Photo: Dugan
Great weather and waves always brings out beach lovers of all shapes, sizes and oceanic pursuits along Brevards sun washed shores . Photo: Dugan
Beautiful, glassy mornings and perfectly chiseled waves before the crowds show up is always the dream scenario. Jack Anderson dreaming out loud and taking full advantage of every un-crowded wave that he could. Photo: Dugan
Plenty of fun sized waves kept everyone surfed out and yet still wanting more. The welcomed run of swell from Florence helped finally alleviate the prolonged, flat spell summer time blues and got everybody tuned up for the next swell albeit a bit sore and sunburned. Dean McManus heading back out for more. Photo: Dugan
Outer Banks transpalt Dean McManus obviously tuned up while finishing off his wave with a this mean snap and a bucket of spray aimed at the shore pound. Photo: Dugan