The entire East Coast lived on pins and needles for a full week thanks to Hurricane Matthew, leading many of us to miss the formation of Hurricane Nicole to the northeast of Matthew. As that Categry 3/4 storm completed its meandering, coast-scraping path just off of Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina, Nicole got stuck in a dead zone, eventually building up to Category 2 strength. That marked the first time since 1964 that two Category 2 storms existed simultaneously in the Western Atlantic Ocean — but even more important for surfers was the fact that Nicole spent upwards of five days stalled out a few hundred miles south of Bermuda, distributing a wide swath of swell in all directions from its core. Once she finally started moving north again, Nicole delivered a direct hit to Bermuda. But the fortified and prepared island was spared extensive damage, and Nicole claimed the 2016 throne as the storm that delivered the most waves to the most surfers with the smallest amount of damage. (Yes, Hermine blessed the entire East Coast, but also wreaked havoc on the Florida Panhandle, even as a tropical storm.) Even better is that multiple wave-making blips and bloops complemented Nicole to turn October into hands down the best month since last winter — ask anyone anywhere from Puerto Rico to Canada what the last two weeks in particular have been like in the wave department and they’ll probably have A LOT to say. With the 2016 Atlantic Hurricane Season not officially over but likely to remain quiet for the next 6 weeks, we jumped at the chance to collect 40 more solid shots for your Hurricane Nicole swell gallery perusal. Now bring on winter!
Canada. Photo: Ryan Owen
From the Caribbean to Canada, from beachbreaks to pointbreaks, from novelty waves turning on for the first time in a decade to old standbys enjoying their best moment in years, Hurricane Nicole delivered in spades.
Ale Moreda, Puerto Rico. Photo: Rachel Tanner
The biggest beneficiary, especially in Hurricane Nicole’s early stages? Puerto Rico, which was as good as it gets for days on end, with locals and visitors from all over the globe flooding the island’s finest breaks.
Evan Geiselman, New Smyrna Beach, FL. Photo: Jason Obenauer
Evan honed his attack on one last R&R trip back home in New Smyrna Beach before making a final push at becoming the first East Coaster in 10 years to qualify for the CT big leagues.
Kai Potter, Massachusetts. Photo: Scott Crivellaro
Surfers the world over misuse the phrase “clean and green” nearly every day. Kai Potter provides a proper definition.
Brant Doyle, North Carolina. Photo: Jon Carter
The color palette was more muted on the Outer Banks, but the stoke level was probably higher — guys like Brant Doyle needed Hurricane Nicole’s swell energy something fierce after taking an unexpectedly heavy blow from Hurricane Matthew.
Will Skudin, New York. Photo: Mike Nelson
Before he jetted off to participate in the Titans of Mavericks opening ceremony in Northern California, Will Skudin soaked up every last second of joy at home in New York. We’re just glad to see Will back in the water after a tweaked back kept him sidelined in September.
Ché Allan, Barbados. Photo: Mark Harris
While Soup Bowl looked like a mutant at times during Hurricane Nicole, Barbados’ many nooks and crannies offered surfers like Ché Allan the chance to blow off some less consequential steam, too.
Alex Brooks, New Jersey. Photo: Bill Brooks
There was very little room for error at this notorious New Jersey spot, however. Alex Brooks and his comrades have been waiting all summer for the right swell angle and period to grace this manmade peak, and Hurricane Nicole delivered.
Luke Marks, North Carolina. Photo: Nathaniel Harrington
As for Luke, a roll of the dice on this trip was more than worth it.
Colin Herlihy, Delmarva. Photo: Coty Austin
Ask any surfer what their ideal day looks like and you’ll probably get a mental picture like this.
Gabe Kling, North Carolina. Photo: Jordan Nason
With two kids at home and a burgeoning real estate career in the making, former CT competitor Gabe Kling doesn’t get to chase swell as often as he used to. But when he does, he drops the hammer harder than nearly anyone on the East Coast.
Sam Hammer, New Jersey. Photo: Alex Fatenko
Ditto for Sam Hammer when it comes to navigating Garden State tunnels — there might be two or three guys in the entire state who can even compare. Photo: Alex Fatenko
Richie Bogart, New York. Photo: James Parascandola
The sun also rises on this beautiful Empire State peak.
Andrew Rouque, New England. Photo: Dave Sieczkiewicz
A few clicks north, Andrew and Dave figured out how to make time stand still.
Dominican Republic. Photo: Jorge Mijares
And every surfer in the Dominican Republic is probably wishing they could freeze frame this particular morning for eternity.
Artie Seaman, New England. Photo: Melanie Spearman
Artie’s trajectory as a third mate working in the maritime shipping industry means he spends more time on the water than all but the most hardcore surfers. Even wen he’s off, there’s very little that can keep him out of the ocean, especially when his favorite pointbreaks turn on.
Nohea Futrell, North Carolina. Photo: Matt Vaughan
When the sea calls, we answer — motivational poster material.
Chauncey Robinson, Central Florida. Photo: Nathaniel Harrington
This blustery boost may not appeal to many non-surfers, but every core waverider will appreciate the way Chauncey turned a windy, overcast session into a thing of beauty.
New York. Photo: Neal Campbell
Speaking of things of beauty… New York, doing its best to impress these two skeptics.
Matt Beacham, North Carolina. Photo: Mickey McCarthy
Matt Beacham may call Hawaii home these days. But he sure picked a good time to spend a few weeks back on the Outer Banks, both by helping with Hurricane Matthew cleanup and enjoying the fruits of that labor when Hurricane Nicole’s energy finally arrived.
Cody Thompson, Jacksonville Beach, FL. Photo: Logan Bowles
The Jacksonville Beach Pier suffered significant damage from Hurricane Matthew. What didn’t change is the inside right bowl setup that’s been a favorite of locals like Cody for years.
New England. Photo: Joe O’Connor
This New York native took a trip north at the tail end of Hurricane Nicole’s swell window, and he found plenty of waves with no one out for miles around. We call that pretty damn lucky.
Dylan Graves, Puerto Rico. Photo: Jorgito Rivera
Speaking of lucky, not only did Dylan Graves get to celebrate his marriage to Carly Rabjones in mid-October with 100 or so of his closest friends and family — the festivities were also bookended by the best waves of the fall. Here’s to you and yours, Dylan.
Chris Curry, North Carolina. Photo: Dave Sieczkiewicz
We got at least 10 different excellent shots of Chris Curry from this particular session last week — but we liked this one the most since it perfectly highlights his grit and tenacity. Even among an all-star crew, Chris more than held his weight.
Justin Parr, Southern North Carolina. Photo: Jake Zlotnick
After getting inundated by floodwaters from Hurricane Matthew, surfers like Justin Parr were more than ready to kick those tough memories to the curb.
Ben Graeff, New Jersey. Photo: Matt Ciancaglini
As for Nub TV’s Ben Graeff, well, the guy was all over the map in the last month — and he still enjoyed one of his best moments right at home in Atlantic City.
Logan Landry, Canada. Photo: Tom Terrell
Logan Landry led good friends Kevin Schulz and Anthony Callahan on a surgical strike that resulted in quite a stunning find.
Evan Micele, North Carolina. Photo: Callaway Ramsey
As for this early morning North Carolina session, it isn’t very often we get to use the phrase oil glass perfection to describe East Coast waves. Evan Micele, pure reverie.
Kyle Busey, South Carolina. Photo: Derf
Charleston, SC, lucked out during Hurricane Matthew, enduring moderate flooding while escaping some of the broader damage that many meteorologists predicted. So Nicole was one big party for dedicated locals like Kyle Busey.
New England. Photo: Vic Brazen
Remember what we said in the intro about novelty waves? Here’s one breaking for the first time in years.
Balaram Stack, Puerto Rico. Photo: Kenny Krowel
It’s easy when we get 1,000 epic barrel shots to start picking apart the finer points of lip lines, foam balls, and body positioning. What gets lost in those discussions is how damn difficult it is to get into many of those barrels in the first place. So here’s Balaram Stack setting up for a PR screamer while toeing the line between majesty and catastrophe. (Same goes for photographer Kenny Krowel bravely placing himself in the line of fire, too.)
Mikey DeTemple, New York. Photo: Cory Ransom
One of the best side effects of weeks upon weeks of waves: experimental-minded surfers like Mikey DeTemple get to try out every board in their multi-faceted quiver.
Steve Torrisi, New England. Photo: Morgan Galipeau
Steve Torrisi + New England + Hurricane Nicole = raw beauty. Not much left to say.
New Jersey. Photo: Shawn Casey
Here’s the flip side of that coin in New Jersey, as photographer Shawn Casey and his crew waited for the wind to switch as Nicole’s swell rolled in.
Markey Jowett, New Hampshire. Photo: Ralph Fatello
For some surfers, hand jive and trim lines are far more important than air time and foam climbs. And although this is the first photo we’ve ever seen of him, we’re thinking Markey Jowett falls squarely into the former category.
Pete Viele, North Carolina. Photo: Jordan Nason
Pete Viele has worn many professional hats over the years: seasoned competitor, sales rep, writer, corporate manager, publishing executive… But stone cold ripper is still his preferred job description.
Kanoa Wong, North Carolina. Photo: Woody Harris
At the other end of that spectrum is this Virginia Beach grom, who’s rising steadily through the surfing ranks while focusing on just one thing: riding waves as well as he can.
Mike Gleason, New Jersey. Photo: Carter McCoy
Do winter warriors like Mr. Gleason have more fun charging huge coldwater barrels or fun fall peaks? When things look this good, do such philosophical inquiries really matter?
North Carolina. Photo: Mickey McCarthy
We’re gonna wrap this gallery up with a choose-your-own-adventure decision: would you rather have this absolutely flawless day on the Outer Banks…
Marley Puglielli, Puerto Rico. Photo: Jordan Montgomery
…Or this awe-inspiring, true grit ride along the knife’s edge in Puerto Rico? All depends on your perspective — but we’re thinking Marley is going to revisit this one for years to come.
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