Winter Storm Helena put a hurting on the East Coast this weekend: six people killed, nearly two feet of snow in some spots in New England, more than 1,200 car crashes in North Carolina and Virginia alone, icy road conditions from Mississippi to Massachusetts, single-digit highs as far south as Delmarva… Hell, The Weather Channel even said that Florida was the only state in the Union that didn’t have snow or ice on the ground this weekend (and yes, that includes Hawaii). But what about the waves, you ask? Well, you’ve probably been on social media once or twice since Friday — so you know what happened. Big barrels from Miami to the Maritimes, offshore winds and sunny skies (even when it was cold!), and uncrowded lineups all over the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast thanks to road closures, travel advisories, and those  aforementioned air temps. We didn’t have to wait long to put together this Winter Storm Helena Swell Gallery — a cool thousand submissions awaited us Monday morning, with more still pouring in as we speak (and Winter Storm Ira threatening to follow in Helena’s footsteps). So without further ado…

Winter Storm Helena Swell Gallery, John Gilman, New Jersey

New Jersey. Photo: John Gilman

Gilman sent this shot in with an appropriate caption: “East Coast J-Bay?” Minus a few degrees thanks to Winter Storm Helena and plus a few extra pound-feet thanks to those icy, unforgiving lips, of course.

Winter Storm Helena Swell Gallery, New Hampshire, John Adams

New Hampshire. Photo: John Adams

It only snowed a few inches in New Hampshire over the weekend, far below the foot or so many were predicting. And it actually hit 21º on Saturday, downright balmy ’round these parts for the aftermath of a winter storm. But that stunning sea smoke was still in full effect. Never gets old.

Winter Storm Helena Swell Gallery, Mike Cassella, Jude Clark

Jude Clark, New Jersey. Photo: Mike Cassella

We could stare at this photo of Jude in front of Manasquan’s famous jacks for eternity. Wake us up next swell, please…

Winter Storm Helena Swell Gallery, South Beach, Miami, South Florida, Christian Oehmke

South Florida. Photo: Christian Oehmke

“Since enrolling in school, my uncle Shea Lopez and I have been exploring  South Florida whenever we get a chance,” Oehmke says. “Since I don’t get time to travel it’s the next best thing for me to shoot outside of New Smyrna. This was the first time I’ve ever been to South Beach Miami, and if it wasn’t for my uncle and the knowledge he’s handed me, I wouldn’t have been there Sunday morning.”

Winter Storm Helena Swell Gallery, Maryland, Sam Deeley, Aidan Hopkins

Sam Deeley, Maryland. Photo: Aidan Hopkins

Twelve inches of snow fell near Ocean Pines, Maryland, this weekend — but Sam Deeley still opted for some shade once the sun finally came out.

Winter Storm Helena Swell Gallery, New Jersey, Matt Reitinger

New Jersey. Photo: Matt Reitinger

You know it’s going off when the filmer on the beach gets THIS pumped about an empty one.

Winter Storm Helena Swell Gallery, Maine, Tucker Grinnell

Maine. Photo: Tucker Grinnell

Get this far north in New England and it’s always hard to tell exactly how good it is. But we’re pretty sure this qualifies as the day of the year in Maine.

Winter Storm Helena Swell Gallery, Jake Krum, New Jersey, Cassidy McClain

Cassidy McClain, New Jersey. Photo: Jake Krum

“I knew there were going to be waves after the snowstorm,” Cassidy McClain says. “I just didn’t think it was going to be as big or as perfect as it was! I was super stoked on this last icy session before I head to Cali and Australia for QS events. Although it kind of bums me out that I’m going to miss more days like this at home.”

Winter Storm Helena Swell Gallery, David Nilsen, New Jersey

New Jersey. Photo: David Nilsen

The setup might look different, but the wave remains the same at this iconic Garden State spot.

Winter Storm Helena Swell Gallery, Massachusetts, Scott Crivellaro, Mike Welch

Mike Welch, Massachusetts. Photo: Scott Crivellaro

Ever wonder what an offshore snow squall looks like? Now you know.

Winter Storm Helena Swell Gallery, Tim Torchia, Pat PArenty, New Jersey

Pat Parenty, New Jersey. Photo: Tim Torchia

“Pat was going HAM yesterday,” Torchia says. “This session lasted close to four hours in the freezing temps and he seemed to pick off every good left that rolled in.”

Winter Storm Helena Swell Gallery, Tim Leopold, Ben McBrien, New Jersey

Ben McBrien, New Jersey. Photo: Tim Leopold

Remember, kids — it’s not ALWAYS perfect in the Garden State in the winter. Ben McBrien showcases a more challenging side of the post-Winter Storm Helena landscape.

Winter Storm Helena Swell Gallery, Tucker McGrath, New Jersey

Tucker McGrath, New Jersey. Photo: John Gilman

Whether you think it’s staged or simply a snapshot of one euphoric post-session moment, you have to agree — Tucker McGrath’s snow angel is pretty damn cool.

Winter Storm Helena Swell Gallery, South Florida, Miami, South Beach, Logan Suarez-Penrod

South Florida. Photo: Logan Suarez-Penrod

Meanwhile, the color palette in Miami was a little more inviting — especially for those of us who are happy to admit that we can’t handle the snow.

Winter Storm Helena Swell Gallery, Bill Brooks, New Jersey

New Jersey. Photo: Bill Brooks

Like Bill Brooks, for instance: “Without my son Alex  in the water, it was hard to get motivated to stay out for very long,” Brooks said. “It was damn cold, and I’ve come to the conclusion that I like shooting in Central America more than the ‘Frozen Tundra.’ Might have something to do with running a ski patrol in Vermont for 20+ years.”

Winter Storm Helena Swell Gallery, New Jersey, Kevin O'Connor, Alex Fatenko

Kevin O’Connor, New Jersey. Photo: Alex Fatenko

Sure, it was frigid out for O’Connor and Fatenko. But how fun does THAT look?

Delaware. Photo: Ryan West

Don’t forget what the walk to the beach looks like after a winter storm, however. Here’s the Slower Lower pace of life after 13.5″ of snow fell in Ocean View — Bethany Beach saw nearly two inches in 30 minutes alone.

Winter Storm Helena Swell Gallery, New Jersey, Shawn Casey

Matty Guarino, New Jersey. Photo: Shawn Casey

The walk back, however, is never as much fun, as Matty Guarino can attest.

Winter Storm Helena Swell Gallery, New Jersey, Kyle Gronostajski, Rob Kelly

Rob Kelly, New Jersey. Photo: Kyle Gronostajski

Rob Kelly and Kyle Gronostajski would tell you that the snowbound mission was completely worth it, however.

Winter Storm Helena Swell Gallery, North Carolina, Outer Banks, Taylor Moore, Woody Harris

Taylor Moore, North Carolina. Photo: Woody Harris

In typically understated Tar Heel fashion, Woody Harris kept this one simple: “It never really cleaned up enough this weekend, but there were still a couple.”

Winter Storm Helena Swell Gallery, New Jersey, Jake Krum,

New Jersey. Photo: Jake Krum

The biggest benefit of a huge winter storm like Helena? Completely empty lineups (except for the birds, of course).

Winter Storm Helena Swell Gallery, Maryland, Ocean City, Nick Tribuno

Maryland. Photo: Nick Tribuno

Nick Tribuno just returned home to the Old Line State after one hell of a trip across the United States — “and it sure felt nice to shoot a real deal swell,” he says.

Winter Storm Helena Swell Gallery, Zack Vincent, New Jersey

New Jersey. Photo: Zach Vincent

Fire, water, earth, air — what more do you need?

Winter Storm Helena Swell Gallery, Matt Rooney, Ben Currie, New Jersey

Matt Rooney, New Jersey. Photo: Ben Currie

One more from one of the most beautiful Garden State sights of the weekend — why the heck not?

Winter Storm Helena Swell Gallery, Michael Guccione, New Jersey

New Jersey. Photo: Michael Guccione

Warm those hands and feet up, friends, and get that wetsuit dry — Winter Storm Ira promises to bring another dose of winter wonderland joy later this week.


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