S is for Surf

Surf: n. a swell at sea that breaks on shore; v. to ride a wave toward the shore on a board.

You can also surf (search) the internet but that doesn’t apply to this post.

How many of you love to watch the waves at the beach or on a coastline? I do, it is pretty relaxing regardless of the size of the waves. A rough weather day can cause some great swells at the beach and for me it is just as fun to watch the angry waves crash as it is to engage my vie on the small cresting of a swell over sandbar.

I don’t surf. I think my dad did. And his brother, my late uncle, surfed. He’s in the Ocean City MD Surfing Hall of Fame. Yay, Uncle Chuck.  My husband has taken surfing instruction. He did really well and got to ride a super wave in Hawaii before diving off the board. It was so fun to watch him.hawaii-e-041

While in Hawaii, my husband and I had the great opportunity to watch a surfing competition. We just came upon it one day as we were just touring around Oahu. It was Van’s World Cup of Surfing November 2012. The perspective of being there to see it live is so different from watching it on TV or on a Facebook video post. The waves were so immense and my adrenaline was in a rush as I watched the surfers tackling their Goliath. It was just amazing and I’ll always remember the experience of viewing a surfing competition in Hawaii in person.

Back to the Lower 48, since I was a kid I’ve experienced watching surfers tackling waves, but much smaller ones. I marvel at the people that have the strength to battle rough swells to catch a wave before the beach is closed due to the storm.  Surfing requires a lot of muscle, balance and stamina.  It takes practice.

If you have a surfing story to share  please comment below.

S is for surf.

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Hurricane Gustav

We’ve had some rainy moments here on Siesta Key but that’s about it, thank God.  Let’s pray for all those in Cuba and the northern Gulf coast that Hurricane Gustav has and will tragically effect.

After a bit of rain this morning, I headed to Lido Key with my husband.  I just figured with Siesta Key’s sandbar, the waves (if any) wouldn’t be that exciting.  Just north of the public beach parking lot, at the northern most lifeguard stand, we parked and headed out.  There were about 2 dozen surfers in one spot waiting for the best wave to ride in on.  The waves were large but were crashing close to shore.  Farther north you could see them crashing out away from the coastline.

My husband was body surfing and had a great time.  I stood by beachcombing.  The waves were coming in so fast one after another that when I’d spot a cool shell it was swept out faster than I could reach for it.  Nonetheless, I did get a few little specimens and an awesome chunk of coral that looks like someones arthritic hand.  The wind picked up and the loose sand started blasting the backs of my legs.   I had to stand firmly bracing myself in the wind.  Lesson learned: even if its not sunny, wear sunglasses on the beach during high wind or don’t wear your contacts.  We stayed about an hour.

Later in the day we had a big gust of wind from the south with torrential rain.  The power went out around 5pm but was restored before 6pm.  Yeah Florida Power & Light!  I called FPL to report the outtage.  What an awesome automated system.  They knew who I was from my phone I called on (its good to have a fully charged cell phone when there’s a hurricane nearby), they estimated when power would be restored and even called me back to say what exactly had caused the outtage.  Cool!

I’m a coastal person.  I’ve lived on the Atlantic coast (Surfside Beach SC), Baltimore MD (hung out in Ocean City and Annapolis in my youth), and the Gulf coast (Mobile AL, Houston TX and now Siesta Key).  I’ve evacuated for many many hurricanes and tropical storms.  No matter what anyone says about it, I still enjoy this over being inland.  With a hurricane, you know what’s coming, and you can leave.  You can take responsibility for your self and your property by properly insuring and protecting it otherwise.  Our inland life (though brief) brings back memories of ice storms, blizzards, hiding in closets during tornado warnings, and stressing over whether the next earthquake would be in your community.  For me, the coast is where I want to be, whatever the weather.

Here comes another band of heavy rain.  Gotta go.