Brett Barley, Jesse Hines and blow-in friends score on the Outer Banks during hurricane Jose
Video: Jeffrey O’Neil
Video and edit: Bryce Frees
Let’s face it—the Pacific was a dud this summer! West coast surfers were faced with two choices, sit at home and complain (or even worse, work!), or hit the road in search of something, anything! We were starting to lose it. Days of small surf turned into weeks of flatness. Surf atrophy was kicking in and we were in need of a fix.
Then the hurricanes started to line up across the Atlantic like bowling balls. First it was Harvey that wrecked havoc in Texas, then Irma blasted our friends in the Caribbean. Following Irma was a fella by the name of Jose, who took a much more ideal path and sauntered up and off the Eastern Seaboard at a leisurely pace despite maximum wind speeds of 155mph.
Jose surely looked like a swell maker, but hurricanes are extremely unpredictable and we weren’t quite sure if we should pull the trigger and head East for the first ‘Super Strike’ mission of the season. A quick call to longtime Superbrand rider Brett Barley was all it took. “Boys you gotta get out here! And bring those two Pig Dogs of mine that are ready!” He may have had ulterior motives, but when someone who studies weather maps and swell charts as intensely as Brett says “Go!” you don’t hesitate.
Flights were promptly booked, boards and baggies (i.e. boardshorts for you West Coasters) were packed, and we were off! After landing in Norfolk, Virginia we made the hour and half drive south to Jesse Hines house in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. Despite the clock hitting midnight Jesse was wide awake. “Welcome ya’ll! Can’t sleep, looks like it’s gonna be epic tomorrow,” he forecasted. “This wind should die down and go offshore. Blue bird conditions tomorrow, boys!” We woke well before the sun came up and caravanned further south to the very eastern edge of the Outer Banks where we were to meet up with Brett Barley and crew.
Splashing through puddles of seawater and plowing through sand you could tell the surf had been up the night before and we got word that the road had just been reopened. After an hour of driving we pulled off to the side of the road in Buxton and walked over the sea oats covered dunes.
Our jaws collectively hit the sand as we saw what looked like a shorter version of Skeleton Bay lefts rifling up and down the beach. Every single wave spat its guts out, sometimes more than once. We screwed fins in and got into boardshorts as fast as possible before jumping into the warm Atlantic Ocean.
Barrels were made, boards were broken, guys were high-fiving total strangers in glee, and we surfed until well past dark.
Epic in every sense of the word.
For surfers hurricanes are a great paradox; while we indulge and play in the water, lives are lost, property destroyed, and people displaced. And while this is a banner year for hurricanes, take a minute to think of two surfers, members of our tribe, 16- year old Zander Venezia from Barbados and a 66-year old who passed away on the Outer Banks the day after the video above. We extend our sincere condolences to family and friends of both.