Warm Windy Wednesday SW Gale in Hatteras!

Iconic Cape Hatteras Lighthouse and the walk.  photographer Andy MYesterday, we experienced a warm SW gale force day on the OBX! From dawn until well after midnight, the SW winds blew extremely hard across the islands! There was one period of lull where it dropped into the mid-20 mph range, but other than that, it hung in the mid to upper 30s/40s for nearly 20 hrs! Air temps ranged in the upper 60s to near 70 degrees. Removing the wetsuit on the beach was not too bad! Heck, I did it twice!

I had two sessions yesterday in Hatteras. The first was at Canadian Hole where strong 3.7m conditions frothed the sound into lots of white choppy ramps. About 5 of us were on the water enjoying wetsuits only conditions in the warm air and patchy warm water. Lots of big air and loops over the Hole!

Soundside at Canadian Hole

On the water action. The middle explosion is Andy landing a FWD. I snapped the photo just a little too late!

As a squall approached around 1:30pm, we began the derigging process. Andy and I were the final two remaining when it hit, and luckily I was behind my truck holding my boomless rig just as it struck. Winds whipped up to tropical storm force, and rain blew horizontally. I kept my sail flat on the parking lot, though my board was bagged but precariously out in the wind line. It was well positioned to not take off, but a visiting non-windsurfing spectator pulled up and parked right in the downwind path of my gear. I had to wave at them to move the vehicle or risk my board potentially flying through their windshield! Luckily, nothing took flight, but heed that you should never park your vehicle directly downwind of windsurfing gear, especially during a storm squall. Canadian Hole is notorious for flying gear when these systems roll across the parking lot!

As the squall winds subsided to 30mph, I was able to finish derigging and load my gear. Clearing skies were seen to the west, so the day was not over. I checked the IWS radar and we had a nice window of clearing approaching. Being that I drove to Avon to sail, I had to catch a session in the Atlantic. Ego Beach did not look too enticing with river-like current on the inside, and peaky waves outside. Andy was game, so we decided to drive down to Lifeguard beach since the ocean swell would be cleaner down there for perhaps a better lineup. Sure enough, we arrived to nice peeling chest to head high set waves and surprisingly smooth side-off conditions. Minimal current and space between the sets. Skies cleared and the wind dropped into the mid 20 mph range so we rigged bigger. Andy 5.0m, me 4.7m. The surf was fun with a nice takeoff just south of the Ramp 46 marker. On the bigger waves, 4 to 5 bottom turns was the norm, though this would get you inside where the "wall" was challenging to break though. There was not much of a "lounge" yesterday, so it was a constant battle with the whitewater if you got too far inside. I was denied three times on one trip into the inside after a multi-turn wave ride, but skirted out in a break in the wall.

The wave lineup at Lifeguard beach following our session.

That's me getting ready to throw it over the shore pound at Lifeguard Beach

Andy on a nice one at Lifeguard Beach. This shot is up on his report as well, but I circled him in the photo. Nice peak!

One of the bigger waves at the "Wall." Note the spray coming off the top of that wave!

Andy and I wrapping up for the day. We had Lifeguard Beach all to ourselves!

All in all, it was a killer session with both sound side 3.7m mayhem at Canadian Hole, and smooth 4.7m wavesailing at Lifeguard Beach. Reminded me of Day Two Hanna last Sept, except we needed wetsuits yesterday, and the waves were smaller.

Upon returning to Nags Head, the wind continued to blow hard. Throughout the night, the gale force winds whipped the pine trees at my place similar to what is experienced during a tropical system. Tree branches were falling, and the sounds outside were like a freight train rolling over the tree tops! Pretty amazing!

photographers: Bill Bell, Keith McCulloch