Love and destruction on the Outer Banks. Photo: Matt Lusk
Hurricane season is here and what does that mean? Hopefully waves. But it might means crowds, confusion, craziness and crossbows (if you’re into shooting arrows into tropical storm force winds/are from Florida). Let’s focus on confusion for a moment. Or more specifically, how to beat it. Here’s a definitive list of hurricane season dos and don’ts. You’re welcome. —Brendan Buckley
DO: Live by the maps
Hurricane season gives you carte blanche to put on your I definitely know what I’m talking about hat and act like a meteorologist. So consult some satellite imagery. Check a barometric pressure map. Make bold, uneducated yet fully confident claims. There’s an archaic form of glory in predicting surf on your own terms. It’s the same kind of glory you feel when reading a newspaper or actually stopping and asking for directions instead of asking Siri like a dickhead. Be brave, darling.
A gift of Hurricane Marie in Newport Beach, CA last year. Photo: Peter Taras
I’ve never considered myself a very straight-laced man, but even I have a handful of rules that I live by. Never wear black during dandruff season. Always tip, even when the service was sub-par. Ask before anal. But one of my most important rules is to never hype a hurricane swell. I’ve seen hype ruin so many good storms. Know that every time you type a “Hey Dolores let’s hang out later;)” post on social media, the water surrounding the storm drops by .1 degree centigrade. You want that on your conscience?
DO: Be ready to audible
‘Canes are fickle beasts. They are Charlie Sheen in 2011. They are your emotionally tattered fringe friend after 27 beers. When they zig, you gotta be ready to zag and when they zag, you better be ready to say fuck this shit I’m driving eight hours through the night to get to where it’s actually going to be good.
Where Dane Reynolds meets Canada meets hurricane swell. Photo: DJ Struntz
DON’T: Surf an average beachbreak
Unless the waves you drew on your noteboook as a kid were actually the Great Wall of China, in which case you’re wrong and stupid and you can feel free to continue your idiocy by surfing a closed out beachbreak during a hurricane swell while Buck is out there at some good wave, doing a couple foam climbs and speaking in the third person. [Note: not all beachbreaks suck.]
DO: Check the waves with a borderline pathetic amount of consistency
Every swell is hard to predict, but hurricanes work in mysterious ways. They can show up early. They can show up late. They can show up unexpectedly or not show up at all. Whenever potential exits, check the waves obsessively. If nothing else, it’ll give you an excuse to take your shirt off.
DON’T: Use a step up
You know the guy who pulls out his 6’8″ every time the waves get faintly overhead? Don’t see his face when you look in the mirror.
Balaram Stack, North Carolina. Photo: Patrick Ruddy
DO: Jim Cantore
He is the most electrifying meteorologist in the history of weather. Anytime you see a bit with him on the Weather Channel, you drop everything and watch. This is non-negotiable.
DON’T: Pay attention to blackball
Hurricane season offers a very special opportunity to swindle authoritative members of the public workforce out of properly doing their jobs. When a hurricane swell is in the water, you can very easily convince lifeguards that it is OK for you to go surfing at any strip of sand reigned by that hatable blackball flag. Just be confident.
DO: Actually prepare
Listen hardass, you’re not Poseidon. If a serious storm is lining up to make landfall where you live, take every precaution to keep yourself, your family and your friends safe. Consider going above and beyond standard preparation and put yourself in a position where you could help others if need be. You might become a hero and wind up on the local news, then could can brag about it to a potential mate when you’re blacked out at 1:55 AM and then have absolutely nothing become of the interaction because your eyes are halfway in the back of your head and there’s drool on your shirt.
Unknown surfer, skipping the family reunion for the day of the decade in Newport last year. Photo: Corey Wilson
DON’T: Go to the barbecue
I don’t care if you committed to it months in advance. I don’t care if your significant other won’t have sex with you for ten days as punishment. I don’t care about any repercussion — do not miss a hurricane swell for a social obligation. Those things have a remarkable way of coinciding with memorable days of surf, and hurricane swells can easily become the most memorable surf days of your life. So remember: It’s OK to be an asshole during hurricane season. You have my permission.