Two Words... Blowing Sand!

Cover your face from that stinging sand! - click to enlargeThe north winds ramped up to gale force today and blasted the OBX with gusts over 50 mph! The build was steady though mid-morning, and by early afternoon it was all stinging/blinding sand. I left Nags Head for the trek to Hatteras at around 10:30am. Keith called and reported chest high and building conditions at Old Lighthouse Beach in Buxton. Winds at that time were solid in the upper 20 to mid 30 mph range. I arrived at Old Lighthouse Beach at around 11:30am and was rigged and on the water by noon. Conditions were chest high with strong winds in the 4.2m range. Skies were gray, yet sun peaked though at times. Water temperature hovered in the mid 60s range, while air was in the lower 60s. All in all, it was fun for the first half hour while slightly overpowered riding with my 4.2m. Lots of big jumps, some aerial spins, but no "intentional" forward loops. rigging up the 3.5m - click to enlargeBy 1:00pm, the sun began to fully break out and the wind ratcheted up. I came off the water at around 1:15pm due to extreme overpowered conditions! Gusts by that time were over 45 and probably hitting 50 mph. It was time to rig down, and a few of the crew saddled up with rigs in the 3.0m range. The surf continued to build and by mid afternoon, waves were breaking overhead high with a fetch sweeping sideshore and lining up with the wind direction.

driving north in blowing sand is great from your paint job! - click to enlargeWinds all along Hatteras Island were gusting over 50 mph by 2:00pm. I decided to drive north and attempt a sound side session at Jockey's Ridge since the wind meter there was reading the lowest of all OBX meters, yet still 3.7m wind speeds. The drive north was a strain on my 4runner's four cylinder engine, and I could not surpass 50 mph due to the strong head wind. Blinding sand was blowing across the roadway at all spots where Rt 12 hugs the beach. For travelers driving north, it was a sand blasting experience for your vehicle's paint job!

I arrived at Jockey's Ridge and sailed solo in overpowered 3.7m conditions. The wind was side offshore, therefore it was a hike out to sound-side deep water since the shoreline was extended due to the shallow sandbars. Wind chop galore, but the gusts were intense and I had to sail often out of the harness with the sail completely sheeted out. All in all, not too much fun. Risk of injury was high, so I did not stay out too long in those conditions.

Today, definitely required a 2.8m sail with a 60 liter board, to sail in control. Wild conditions out there, and more expected tomorrow. The current call will be for Tuesday, when winds subside to "sailable" range and blow from the east. If this sets up as forecast, it may be epic at The Cove! We shall see...stay tuned!

More photos from today:

Spectators watching the action in the haze of blowing sand!

Keith and Martine rigging up the 3.5m

Dan going old school with the 3.1m!

Keith inside on the 3.5m at Old Lighthouse Beach

Dan on the 3.1m at Old Lighthouse Beach

Dan finishing up with the walk back to the truck in 40 mph gusts

Keith with help from Jim after surviving a wash in the soup and a near mile walk up from Lifeguard to Old Lighthouse beach.