March 6, 2008

Winter surfing is a love-hate relationship .…WITH SLIDE SHOW


Do you like to immerse yourself in 40- to 50-degree water when it is 40 degrees outside and the wind is howling at 20 mph? My guess is no. Neither do I, unless the surf is really good.

Winter surfing is a love-hate relationship. Each year, we look forward to winter when nor'easters usually produce excellent surf. As the systems first approach the island, they produce very large and stormy surf, then towards the end of the storms, the surf begins to get organized and fun.

If you are like me, you love that it is not as crowded in the winter as it is in the summer and fall, but you hate putting on a wetsuit, boots, gloves, and hood.

The predominant wind in the winter is out of the north, which helps build surf, but it also brings colder water -- as if it wasn't already cold enough! The surf is good and you are excited, but after you go underwater you emerge with the worst "brain freeze" of your life.

The brain freeze brings us to the evolution of surfing. To combat the elements, wetsuit technology has improved winter surfing in recent years. The rubber is lighter. It stretches more, and it is a lot warmer. And if that isn't enough, you can even buy a wetsuit with a heater in it.  And to dispel the rumors, yes, surfers do pee in their wetsuits when necessary. It is a great way to stay warm, although a little gross.

Oh, to be a surfer in the winter on Hatteras Island. 


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