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2019 in Fernandina Surf

Aside from the slow movement of the extremely powerful Hurricane Dorian, 2019 was a fairly typical North Florida year. The water never dipped below 50 F, there wasn’t a July hurricane, and there were slightly more days of North wind than South.

Disclaimer: This data is still subject to personal bias and small errors here and there. It’s become the story I tell myself about the year from the perspective of a surf instructor working with surfers of all ages and ability levels as opposed to an intermediate or advanced surf enthusiast.

Notable observations and surprises from 2019

  • During February there were no swell periods of 12 seconds or longer. Winter is usually a time where coastal storms in New England can move out from behind Cape Hatteras into the open Atlantic and produce swells of at least 15 seconds.
  • In 2018 there were 3 days with 17+ second swell periods. In 2019 there were none. The best days of surf from Dorian and Humberto featured swell periods of only 10 seconds. On a related note 2019 recorded 17 more days (93 total) of short period wind swell.
  • There were almost 40 (38) head high+ days in 2019. Of those 38 days, 15 of them had offshore winds. This year more than half of the head high+ days had strong onshore winds. Between Hurricanes Dorian and Humberto September accounted for 12 head high+ days, 5 offshore and 7 onshore.
  • Late August (8/21 – 8/25) featured a severe jellyfish outbreak. These have become a regular occurrence for us in late August or early September. The tides, direction of wind and waves, and location North or South along the beach all affect your likelihood of being stung. Murky water that has been flushed out of the marshes or intercoastal waterway seems to contain the highest densities of jellyfish this time of year.
  • 2019 was a year of extremes. There were more flat days, more waist high or below days, and more head high and over days.  As many head high+ days as 2019 produced there were none in May, June, or July.

Top 5 days of 2019 – in descending chronological order.

  • 12/23 – Low pressure developed right off the coast of Florida and after two days of onshore winds everything came together for a full day of sizable, clean surf. Two more days of sizable, windy surf followed.
  • 11/18 – Broad low pressure set-up far enough South and offshore to be fully positioned in Florida’s swell window. The waves were good across the entire state this day. At 15 seconds this was the longest period “Top 5 Day” of 2019.
  • 9/17 – The clean-up day of the Humberto swell. Hurricane Humberto combined with a long fetch of NE wind to give us nearly a full day of waves when the wind finally went offshore.
  • 9/5 – The clean-up from the passage of Hurricane Dorian. The swell dropped quickly this day but as far as form goes sunrise revealed some of the most classic waves of the year.
  • 3/21 – For 2 years in a row March has turned out a “Top 5 Day” of surf. A fun morning with a light crowd and a powerful 10 second swell. Every “Top 5 Day” except for 11/18 featured a 10 second swell period.

Honorable Mentions

  • 11/15 – Part of the run of surf leading up to 11/18.
  • 9/23 – The best day locally from the Hurricane Jerry swell.
  • 9/16 – The 2nd best day of the Humberto swell.
  • 9/4 – The day Hurricane Dorian made it’s closest pass to the Florida coast. The biggest surf of the year.
  • 4/19 – The wind went from strong South to Southwest by evening. At 8 seconds this was the shortest period excellent surf of 2019.
  • 2/20 – There was one standout day in February.
  • 1/24 – The second swell of 2019 but the first that really cooperated locally.
    Bailey Riggan (pictured below, Photo Credit: Jensen Bell) was ripping.

Data

1) Wave heights

Flat – Shin | Knee – Waist | Chest – Shoulder | Head +
Jan. 11 14 5 1
Feb. 5 17 4 2
Mar. 5 19 4 3
Apr. 4 19 4 3
May. 0 28 3 0
Jun. 5 25 0 0
Jul. 0 27 4 0
Aug. 2 23 5 1
Sep. 0 10 8 12
Oct. 3 11 12 5
Nov. 1 16 9 4
Dec. 7 11 6 7
2019 43 220 64 38
2018 35 188 116 26

2) Water Temperature

Below 50 F | Below 60 F | Below 70 F | Above 70 F | Above 80 F
Jan. 0 21 31 0 0
Feb. 0 20 28 0 0
Mar. 0 2 31 0 0
Apr. 0 0 19 11 0
May. 0 0 0 31 11
Jun. 0 0 0 30 30
Jul. 0 0 0 31 31
Aug. 0 0 0 31 31
Sept. 0 0 0 30 30
Oct. 0 0 0 31 12
Nov. 0 0 18 12 0
Dec. 0 8 31 0 0
2019 0 51 158 207 145
2018 12 67 166 199 141

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

Onshore (All Day | Offshore/Light (At Some Point)
Jan. 14 17
Feb. 15 13
Mar. 14 17
Apr. 15 15
May. 11 20
Jun. 11 19
Jul. 7 24
Aug. 7 24
Sep. 16 14
Oct. 18 13
Nov. 14 16
Dec. 16 15
2019 158 207
2018 133 232

4) General Wind Wave Direction

North | South | Neutral (Straight)
Jan. 18 8 5
Feb. 10 7 11
Mar. 16 10 5
Apr. 10 16 4
May. 3 19 9
Jun. 5 18 7
Jul. 9 17 5
Aug. 10 16 5
Sep. 21 7 2
Oct. 15 12 4
Nov. 22 3 5
Dec. 18 8 5
2019 157 141 67
2018 119 167 80

5) Swell Period in Seconds

< 8 | 8 – 11 | 12 + | 17 +
Jan. 13 12 6 0
Feb. 7 21 0 0
Mar. 11 18 2 0
Apr. 10 17 3 0
May. 11 10 10 0
Jun. 8 20 2 0
Jul. 4 20 7 0
Aug. 5 15 11 0
Sep. 2 15 13 0
Oct. 7 9 15 0
Nov. 7 14 9 0
Dec. 8 21 2 0
2019 93 192 80 0
2018 76 212 76 3

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 +
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
2018 35 188 116 26

2) Water Temperature

Below 50 F | Below 60 F | Below 70 F | Above 70 F | Above 80 F
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
2018 12 67 166 199 141

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

Onshore (All Day) | Offshore/Light (At Some Point)
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
2018 133 232

4) General Wind Wave Direction

North | South | Neutral (Straight)
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
2018 119 167 80

5) Swell Period in Seconds

< 8 | 8 – 11 | 12 + | 17 +
2018 76 212 76 3
Jan. 8 21 2 0
Feb. 3 21 4 0
Mar. 6 4 20 2
Apr. 8 21 1 0
May. 10 21 0 0
Jun. 3 25 2 0
Jul. 0 29 2 0
Aug. 11 11 9 0
Sep. 4 9 17 1
Oct. 8 9 14 0
Nov. 7 20 3 0
Dec. 8 21 2 0
2018 76 212 76 3

International Surfing Day Celebration!

International Surfing Day  2015

We’re hosting an event to celebrate International Surfing Day and our local surfing community!

10:00 a.m. – Bring your board and meet at Main Beach for a casual event honoring the sport of surfing. Surf Asylum will have a beach canopy, snacks, a slackline, music and we’ll be filming everyone surfing to show later at the movie night.

7:00 p.m. – Community Potluck and Surf Movie night in the green space at Pirate Playground. Bring a dish and a blanket and join us for a community potluck at 7:00 p.m. Surf Movies will start around 8:30. If there were waves in the morning, we’ll start by showing that footage.

Facebook Event Page: https://www.facebook.com/events/1081676005180500/

Zack Sjuggerud

Zack Sjuggerud is a kid after our own heart. We recently got to spend a little time with him while we were down at ESA Southeast Regionals and if there was anything we walked away with, it was knowing that Zack LOVES surfing. Scratch that, Zack loves the ocean. From shortboarding to bodyboarding, with SUP and longboarding in between, he competed in every single division he could enter, earning him the Youth Iron Surfer Award. He also placed 3rd in Menehune Longboard and 2nd in Bodyboarding. We asked him for an interview to find out how he got started in surfing and what his competition strategies were.

How long have you been surfing? When did you get your first board?

I started getting interested in surfing when I was in Australia when I was about 4 or 5 years old, with my dad pushing me on flat water on his longboard. I had a great time even without waves. When we got back from Australia, we bought a 4’2″ Liquid Shredder at Surf Station. I loved it.

Who has had the biggest influence in your surfing?

This is a tough one. I do really enjoy watching all types of surfing, but I like watching older logging single fin movies like The Endless Summer. I have no doubt I have seen that movie more than 50 times. I also really enjoy watching people like Craig Anderson and sometimes try to mimic his smooth tuck knee style, haha.

Favorite post surf meal?

Any meal after surfing is amazing. The after surf munchies are awful, haha. I definitely have a craving for Barberitos more than anything after a nice long surf.

Shortboard, longboard or SUP?

I have no preference. Any time in the water is a good time, and it really depends on the conditions. I have been really into bodysurfing recently too.

Where have you traveled to surf?

Southern California, Costa Rica quite a few times, Spain, and Hawaii.

Tell us about your favorite trip.

First time in Costa Rica, we had a guy take us to a secret right point. I was only ten, so I did end up standing on the shallow reef, jumping over walls of whitewater. That got the message through that reef doesn’t feel good on your feet. I cut my foot pretty bad, but the waves were amazing so I had no choice but to keep surfing, hahaha. Definitely scored some great waves that week.

What do you consider to be the most challenging part of Regionals?

No doubt confidence and keeping cool under pressure. I know you have to surf your game, try not to fall on maneuvers and try not to surf above your abilities.

Do you find it helpful to know who your competition is before going into Regionals? How do you keep up with them?

I would say that there are advantages and disadvantages to knowing your competitor’s abilities. Pros are knowing that you are going to surf smart and catch the better waves and surf as a better contest surfer than the opponent. Cons are like I said above, nerves are a big deal. I’ve seen friends try too hard, thinking that their opponents were better surfers than they really are. I prefer to know who my competitors are to know what contest tactics you would want to use.

Do you cross-train to improve your surfing?

I don’t. I just surf to become a better surfer. I think that when you are younger, (maybe below 19 or 20) training and eating well for surfing is less important for your surfing. What’s more important is learning how to judge waves and knowing which waves to catch. As you get a bit older, fitness becomes a bigger factor in your surfing.

Shout-outs?

Where do I start? Thanks to my family for supporting my surfing and taking me other places to surf. Thanks to Sean Poynter for so much help, advice, and positive stoke over many years. Thanks to David and Betsy at Surf Asylum for your contest advice during Regionals this year. Thanks to Mike Nichols and Pedro for everything over the years. Thank you to Starboard for including me in your world. Thanks to Driftwood Surf Shop and Pipeline Surf Shop. Thanks to Barberitos… to SurfSkate… and Dummy Mount. Also thanks to all the Fernandina locals who’ve supported me and looked out for me over the years.

I’ll be proud to represent Fernandina at the Eastern Surfing Championships in Cape Hatteras, if I get to go. I hope to bring home a 1st Place trophy in longboarding back to Fernandina! Yewww!

Here we go, again!

After a lay day yesterday that took us over to San Sebastian for the Gonzalandia Waterfalls, the forecast is calling for increasing swell and favorable winds this afternoon, with another BIG day on tap for tomorrow (not to mention what’s currently lined up for next Tuesday!). Full report and pics to follow…

http://www.swellinfo.com/surf-forecast/rincon-south-puerto-rico

http://www.surfline.com/surf-forecasts/puerto-rico/northwest-puerto-rico_2162/

Come Surf With Us

In the community section of the Surf Asylum website we’ll be telling the overtold stories of traditional surf media through the lens of NE Florida surfing and the undertold stories of the characters and culture that make up the NE Florida surf scene. This will include everything from our take on the Triple Crown of Surfing to interviews with local surf heroes. We also invite you to join us as we work to achieve our surfing goals and share accounts of the realities of being a Florida surfer.

See you in the water,

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