When I started the Wave Log I had an agenda to show myself and others that the waves are decent, even consistent around here. Starting this year I’ve made a change to the data section to make it a little more honest. Onshore vs. Offshore now has 3 sections: Onshore (all day), Mixed, and Offshore (all day). There were almost twice as many onshore days as offshore days in 2021.
Notable observations and surprises from 2021
- Slow start. On an honest, down note there were no head high + days and only 6 chest to shoulder high days in all of January and February combined.
- 17 second swell in June. On 6/22 if you were attending our 4th week of Summer Camp you experienced waves that originated off the coast of Brazil. A similar thing occurred during mid-June of 2017
- Active July. Including the surf from Tropical Storm Elsa there was a 4 day run of chest high surf from 7/12 – 7/15 and a 5 day run of chest high surf from 7/24 – 7/28. Many campers had personal best rides but just as many had to summon their courage in some pretty intense situations.
- Slow, windy August. There were no days in August with notable swell periods of 12 seconds or greater and every head high + day of waves had onshore wind for the entire day.
- Mild New Years Eve. 2021 ended with the warmest water temps since I’ve been recording. The mean water temperature on Dec. 31 was 65.5 F compared to 58.5 F in 2020, 59.5 F in 2019, and 61.5 F in 2018.
Top 5 days of 2021 – in chronological order.
- 6/28 – It was more of a late afternoon or evening than a “day” but Tropical Storm Danny produced a pulse of swell that kept improving all the way up to sunset. The wind and tide switched almost simultaneously and I can still remember the feeling of some of the bottom turns from that session, a rarity in June.
- 9/8 – Day 1 of the Larry swell. With patience I was able to put together 3 memorable tube rides. Hurricane Larry felt like the first proper long track, MDR (Main Development Region) fish storm we’ve had in years. If the local winds cooperate you can get multiple days of quality surf from these systems and we were blessed with 2.
- 9/9 – Day 2 of the Larry swell. There was a bit of morning sickness due to a moderate South wind but it didn’t take long for the wind to switch and the waves to shape up. My most memorable ride wasn’t a make, I got bounced off pretty deep in what felt like a stand-up tube. I was left wanting to study Gabriel Medina’s approach at his home beach break, Pauba, to be ready next time.
- 11/7 – The Right Whale Festival. The weather that canceled the first day of our local Right Whale Festival and Red Bull Night Riders Saturday slowly gave way to offshore winds and clear skies on Sunday. The morning high tide was high enough to affect the consistency of exceptional waves but at daybreak I saw one of those waves like you would draw in your school notebook when you were a kid.
- 11/22 – At just 8 seconds this was the shortest period of the “top 5” days but sometimes that just means more waves. There was a 10 AM high tide that never got too high and straight offshore wind all day. November ended up being a standout month for surf, if a bit cold.
- 3/3 – I always like to recognize the first standout day of the year. I was out of town but I watched the forecast develop, checked the buoy, and saw one video along with a couple photos that made me think this was it.
- 7/15 – I pulled into a closeout barrel during the Summer Camp snack break. Because of the popular conception of surfing we often struggle to convince parents that clean barreling conditions aren’t good for their first time surfers. It was a great summer for 3rd and 4th year surfers not so much for first year.
- 7/27 – This is where the waves started to feel comically consistent for Florida summer. I was reaching my Groundhog Day like wits end watching everyone else surf. Luckily some of our most experienced students were out and about for me to live vicariously through. This being the 2nd quality high pressure swell of the month they were starting to get really comfortable. When the swell from Larry would arrive in a month and a half they would be ready.
Peak Jellyfish encounters occurred between 8/22 – 9//3.
There were 12 head high + days with offshore wind out of a total of 37 head high + days.
1) Wave heights
|Flat – Shin||| Knee – Waist||| Chest – Shoulder||| Head +|
2) Water Temperature
|Below 50 F||| Below 60 F||| Below 70 F||| Above 70 F||| Above 80 F|
3) Wind: Onshore vs. Offshore (Choppy vs. Clean)
|Onshore (All Day)||| Mixed||| Offshore (All Day)|
4) General Wind Wave Direction
|North||| South||| Neutral (Straight)|
5) Swell Period in Seconds
|< 8||| 8 – 11||| 12 +||| 17 +|