I used to spend a lot of time on the Gulf Coast, I actually lived with my grand parents for a little while in Bradenton before my grandfather passed away in the early 2000’s. And normally the gulf coast doesn’t get good. It might get some wind chop, or side band swell from a hurricane, because most Hurricane swells do not generate from the west and head east, they usually come up through the Caribbean and bring swells from the south that hit the Panhandle, but miss the West Coast of Florida. Again giving us some weak surf… but not this time. This time was different. This time we had a swell coming with a low pressure cold/front that moved across the southwestern US through Texas into the Gulf, and eventually tracked across to Florida bringing waves and strong winds up and down the coastline.
It was almost 3 days of surfing, well I’m an East Coast guy, so I skipped Friday because it was still blown out and there were 3 footers running clean at the inlets on the East side. So I came in late and visited with my Grandmother, waiting until Saturday am to paddle out instead. Don’t get me wrong, it was definitely fun and ride-able Thursday evening, getting to be about chest high before dark! Winds only started to pick up on Friday to a strong gale, having to close the St. Pete sky way bridge to be safe. But I just wanted to see my grandmother, it had been a while since I had last visited, and what a better time to come before Christmas. The surf was about to go off!!!
We ended up surfing in Manatee County mostly, but it was fun in Sarasota and Indian River Counties alike. Ran into Cory and Matty Lopez out there! We captured a sequence of our team rider Kyle Jacobus getting shacked as well! Guys from all over the place were shredding! And evening session winds calmed down even more. Couldn’t believe how hollow and perfect the waves got all day. It seemed like a dream and literally was the best I’ve ever caught it on the left coast of Florida! Better than any Hurricane swell I can remember. So many tubes out there it was insane! Definitely Santa hooked it up for a Christmas present surf treat!
I’m grateful for this holiday season swell. It made the trip over to visit my grandmother that much more special. Homemade meals and desserts topped off with great surf! Spending time with the local boys as well. Went to Sean’s family companies Christmas party when the winds were too choppy. Ate good and hung out with the good ol boy workers and family at their office. So much food, but hey its Christmas time. And the waves were up. Had to prepare and stay nourished for the incoming swell!
Merry Christmas and happy holidays from Raw Surf!
Blog and photos by David Pritzker