2018 in Fernandina Surf

In order improve our season planning and make better scheduling decisions Surf Asylum kept a wave log for the entirety of 2018. We thought we’d share some of our findings and data here. Disclaimer: This data is subject to personal bias and small errors here and there.

Notable observations and surprises from 2018

  • Our winter water got as cold is it gets, for 12 days in January the water temp was below 50 F. Nearshore water temps as low as 47 F were observed 1/19, and 1/20
  • July was extremely consistent. In addition to fairly steady mid-period ESE trade swell a decent North angled swell from Hurricane Chris peaked on 7/10. While there were 5 near flat days in June, July had something ridable everyday. The most challenging aspect of surfing in July was finding somewhere that broke at high tide, the swell was there.
  • In 2018, there were slightly more days of South short period wind swell than North short period wind swell. South wind may have been the story of 2018
  • More than half (14 out of 26) the head high + days of surf had offshore winds.
  • December had more near flat days than June.

Top 5 days of 2018 – in descending chronological order.

  • 11/24 – A lot of fetch and strong wind passed by from South to North just off the Coast of Florida and though the day started out a bit unruly it managed to clean up by mid morning.
  • 9/16 – Swells from Helene and Isaac started to pulse a few days after the original swell from Florence providing for nearly a full day of solid surf for beaches that could handle side-offshore South wind.
  • 9/13 – The peak of the Florence swell. This day was really mixed up but the largest surf of the year came through the morning. Visiting pros put on a show.
  • 4/24 – This day was a slightly smaller but cleaner and more organized version of 11/24 with a very similar source.
  • 3/5 – Strong swell from the North Atlantic hit the South Hatteras buoy (41002) the day before. The set waves this day were thick. Another day that was pretty unruly first thing in the morning.

Honorable Mentions

  • 10/11 – South “suck-up” windswell ahead of front with well timed morning offshores. Not huge but hollow.
  • 3/28 – A couple heavy ones before dark. The one that got away spit down the beach right before I paddled out.

Data

1) Wave heights

Flat – Shin | Knee – Waist | Chest – Shoulder | Head +
2018 35 188 116 26
Jan. 1 15 12 3
Feb. 0 12 15 0
Mar. 5 19 7 5
Apr. 3 12 12 3
May. 0 17 12 2
Jun. 5 25 0 0
Jul. 0 23 8 0
Aug. 6 22 3 0
Sep. 0 12 14 4
Oct. 2 13 13 3
Nov. 3 10 13 4
Dec. 10 13 6 2

2) Water Temperature

Below 50 F | Below 60 F | Below 70 F | Above 70 F | Above 80 F
2018 12 67 166 199 141
Jan. 12 31 31 0 0
Feb. 0 19 28 0 0
Mar. 0 2 31 0 0
Apr. 0 0 30 0 0
May. 0 0 1 30 0
Jun. 0 0 0 30 26
Jul. 0 0 0 31 31
Aug. 0 0 0 31 30
Sept. 0 0 0 30 30
Oct. 0 0 0 31 22
Nov. 0 0 15 15 0
Dec. 0 15 31 0 0

3) Wind: Onshore vs. Offshore (Choppy vs. Clean)

Onshore | Offshore/Light
2018 133 232
Jan. 19 12
Feb. 14 14
Mar. 7 24
Apr. 16 14
May. 22 9
Jun. 2 28
Jul. 10 21
Aug. 4 26
Sep. 13 17
Oct. 13 18
Nov. 9 21
Dec. 4 27

4) General Wind Direction

North | South | Neutral (Straight)
2018 119 167 80
Jan. 20 5 6
Feb. 8 8 12
Mar. 10 12 9
Apr. 12 12 6
May. 3 25 3
Jun. 2 21 8
Jul. 6 21 4
Aug. 4 26 1
Sep. 6 10 14
Oct. 13 11 7
Nov. 20 8 2
Dec. 15 8 8

5) Swell Period in Seconds

< 8 | 8 + | 12 + | 17 +
2018 76 288 76 3
Jan. 8 23 2 0
Feb. 3 25 4 0
Mar. 6 24 20 2
Apr. 8 22 1 0
May. 10 21 0 0
Jun. 3 27 2 0
Jul. 0 31 2 0
Aug. 11 20 9 0
Sep. 4 26 17 1
Oct. 8 23 14 0
Nov. 7 23 3 0
Dec. 8 23 2 0

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