Surfing – Tropical Storm Arlene

Texas surfers are keeping a close eye on the Gulf of Mexico this season. The first named storm has already produced some ground-swell for the coast, and it’s only mid-June! It could be a good season, it could go flat…no one really knows. It’s all part of the mystery behind weather. However, when it comes to the preferred break to catch these storm swells, there’s no mystery to it. Even if the weather shows offshore winds in Corpus (Hurricane Ivan), everyone heads south.

CJ Bradshaw on a mid-morning grinder.
CJ Bradshaw on a mid-morning grinder.

Arlene sent the first pulse late Saturday afternoon. Slowly, the surf climbed from waist high to chest. Strong onshore winds took away any chance of good conditions, but the lines were visible. Sunday was the forecasted day anyway, this was just a warm up session.

The next morning, early light revealed solid 6′ ground-swell marching towards the beach. Out by the jetty spoil a few waves were nearing the 7 foot mark, but morning sickness was affecting the quality. Even the second bar straight out front was suffering some double-up and general mushy conditions, but nobody thought twice about it…they charged it. Arlene was a fast moving storm that made landfall Saturday. The swell had peaked during the night and would be nearly flat before Sunday was over. Any able body paddled out…the rest jumped the jetty.

Sometime around mid-morning, the crumbly conditions lifted and good form started showing. It started getting pretty hollow straight out front during the heat of the day. The sun was out full force, the air was hot and the winds weren’t too bad. It was definetely the time to be on it. Even if it was siesta time, the waves were calling.

Britt Turkington finds a nugget just as the morning sickness begins to lift.
Britt Turkington finds a nugget just as the morning sickness begins to lift.

By late afternoon the size was gone. Still fun, but the juice had stopped flowing. People were milking every bit of the swell though. No one would let go, and rightfully so. Even at a small waist high, the lines were much more groomed than a windswell. As the sun set, ending this fine day, a handful of surfers were slashing the waves like they still had all the energy in the world. Surfers that had started their day dropping into head high mini bombs, ended it with enthusiasm on the waist high left-overs. It takes a lot more than a little bit of wind chop to stop the stoke of a Texas surfer. If there’s waves, they are on it!