Hurricane Florence formed out in the Atlantic and was making its assent across the ocean as we drove up from Florida to the Outer Banks of North Carolina to catch the forerunners of the incoming swell. It was a long 16 plus hour drive, but well worth the trip up! As soon we arrived the swell was already head high and only getting bigger. The winds solid offshore all day for most of the Island.
We surfed maybe two days before our rental property owner contacted us to let us know they needed us to evacuate so they could secure their property for the incoming hurricane. It was already pulsing at a whopping category 4, almost a category 5. People were making a run on gas, with stations running empty all across the banks. We were smart and filled up when ever we reached only 3 quarters tank empty, to ensure we never ran out during the emergency. Yes this is what you do when you put yourself into the path of the storm. You’re not at Disney world, even though it may feel like it after getting so many tubes!
Our last session could have literally been the last session for everyone living out there, in those eerie, yet magical outer banks of North Carolina… because potentially that storm could have ripped the outer banks to shreds! Everyone out there was super cool in the line up, and having a blast. A few of the locals told us they weren’t leaving, they were going to ride out the storm, and just surf as much as possible until D day. Or at least that’s how it felt, the vibes were kind of racy. Everyone around was in a hurry to get out, well at least for everyone except all the surfers and other lunatics staying behind.
We dipped out after our afternoon session and nap. In no hurry to race into a line of traffic that would normally take us 40 minutes, took us two and half hours just to leave the island. Most of the slow down was up in Nags head, there was some flooding onto the roads, and police had some areas taped off. So of course, because its one lane, and everyone slows down to take a look, that’s why it took so long to get off the islands.
Driving back we crashed out late in Fayetteville, NC, to resume our track back to Florida to catch the next round of swell Hurricane Florence was already sending down the coast. We were lucky enough to make it back for an evening session at Jacksonville Pier. Acquainted some chill locals and great vibes. Took A1A down for the rest of our evening ride home.
Was such a rad trip!
Video, photos, and blog by David Pritzker