I've always had a mixture of excitement and fear when they come in- the scale of the event is the attraction I guess. Luckily Irene wasn't too hard on my parents and sister who still live there. The ground wasn't soggy before the wind came so not many trees down. My sister did have one fall across her drive though. We spent the better part of Saturday cutting it up.
Lake Waccamaw is right off Hwy 74 between Whiteville and Wilmington. It is fairly round at 5 x 7 miles so a great spot for most directions. Friday folks at the Waccamaw Sailing Club let me launch at their site to catch the NE wind in front of Irene.
Wind history in Whiteville.
Late Saturday after wielding the ax and dragging limbs I headed up to Dales Seafood on the north end of the lake to catch the backside action. The first thing I rigged was a 5.8 to help slog out of the wind shadow. The 2nd thing I did was drag my carcase back in a rig my 4.7. The dry squalls coming through were still generating some insane gusts so it was pretty wild. Probably 5 - 35 at times! Somehow furry in the puffs just doesn't do it justice.
Jennifer and I hit Dales again Sunday afternoon. Irene was moving on north and the scene was beautiful. After the insanity that is hurricane generated gusty puffs a little light wind freestyle was just what we needed. Jennifer really started nailing her quicker tacks on the smaller board.
Jennifer on the Fly 9'6
Thursday and Sunday I surfed at OIB. I was on the 7'4 prone Thursday later in the day when the the onshore wind started picking up. The waves were closing out fast and hard so it was certainly a challenge. I was surfing near the inlet and met a local named Scott out there. Cool guy just getting back into surfing after raising his kids. There were 3 other short board surfers that moved through cycling with the current after Scott left but I was solo for a good while until dark. Nice sunset ahead of Irene.
Sunday morning at OIB was one of the best SUP seshes I've ever had. I got there around 9:30 and checked out the east end, the pier and finally settled on the water tower. In all that checking I only saw one surfer at the pier since the surf was flat. I didn't really care since I was happy just getting out and paddling in the super clean conditions. I probably paddled for an hour and a half running straight lines in front of the incoming swell while paddling furiously to stay ahead of them.
I guess the locals must have started getting there around 11 as the tide was going out. The sets started showing more promise as the bars got exposed and it did get better towards low tide. In fact as the tide dropped out the surf improved to steady knee to occasional thigh or waist high. It wasn't so much the clean calf to occasional thigh waves that put this one at the top of my list. The water tower is the locals spot and with around 20 or so folks on long boards and SUPs it was a like a party in the ocean. Really. Everyone was laughing, encouraging and picking fun. Even the guys on short boards were having a blast just catching the quick rides. Jace and B-rad were out and it was awesome seeing those guys again. B-rad was on his long board riding reverse while Jace was doing head stands on his SUP, cross stepping, nose riding and even riding doubles when Matt jumped off his long board onto Jace's SUP on some party waves! I met lots of folks last year and this day I met too many more to remember but what a great crew. I was having so much fun I didn't go get my camera out the car. It was wonderful and proof that surf culture is not only alive and well but also short boarders, long boarders and SUP surfers can share 1 break with fun had by all. I should have gotten the camera. I hope to see you all again soon.
These pics are from the weekend previous to Irene. As made famous by Tosh.O we had a double rainbow! And you can see both ends.