Jul 09 2014

Hurricane Season Kicks Off

Hurricane season just kicked off in the lowcountry, and already we’ve had a Tropical Storm find its way past our shorelines.  Hurricane Arthur, the first named storm of the year, formed off the Florida coast and drifted north toward the Carolina coasts.  Fourth of July plans were tentative at best, as the Tropical Storm began building in strength as it traveled towards South Carolina.  Luckily, the storm skimmed our beaches, and the worst we got were riptides and choppy waves.  As it passed by, Arthur increased in power and became a fairly strong hurricane with a Category 2 status packing 100 MPH winds that finally landed in Shackleford Banks, North Carolina.

Folly Beach was paying close attention to the hurricane as it passed, as several interested parties wondered how the passing storm would affect island culture.  Politicians and activists wondered along with homeowners if the strong winds and increased rip currents would leave lasting damaging effects to the long embattled $30 million renourishment project.  The Army Corps of Engineers is planning on reviewing the project to see how the beaches held up during the storm, but Mayor Goodwin believes that the damage could have been much worse.  Plans to increase vegetation and implement fencing along the area in attempt to rebuild dunes are in place in an effort to provide more stability to the beach.  

Surfers were also interested in the passing storm.  5-8 foot swells gave surfers their first opportunity to catch some great waves for the first time this year.  As the storm was passing, the rip currents were strong and pulling surfers blocks down the beach.  Nevertheless, hundreds of people came out to find their spot all the way from the Washout to 9th Station.  Surfers were also clustered around the pier and front beach and thrilled with the excitement of the churning ocean.  

Kai Dilling, owner of Sol Surfers, joined many of his trainers in the action and said, “This is great!  Unfortunately, we had to cancel surf camp for the day, but we’ll start back tomorrow.”  The sentiment was felt everywhere, as even the most skilled swimmer endured the strong pull of the tide, fighting to get their board out into the swells.  Young surfers would have found simply wading out into the water difficult and challenging, and it was impossible to organize training for beginning surfers.  Short boarders found the most excitement in the close curls, while long boarders had to wait a bit longer for the deeper arcs to form.

As the day wore on, the water became less choppy and more glassy, and the waves reduced to about 3-5 feet.  Surfers stayed out throughout the day until it eventually died down to normal.  Tired yet exhilarated by the end, the dedicated water sports fans gathered their boards and headed off to ready for the next storm to pass.  Local camps were happy to get back to their students the next day where a new class of surf fanatics are born.  

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