Monday, August 29, 2005
Katrina in South Padre
I started out wanting to talk about how crazy surfers were, since they always seem to want gigantic waves so they can do their artsy suicidal thing. I still think they’re slightly off their bonkers, but have a new-found respect for them. See, the lower US Gulf of Mexico is not like the Atlantic or Pacific because there is no clean “long period swell.” Instead, the whole area, maybe half a mile out to sea if not half the Gulf, turns into a foam washing machine. There are three, hour, and yes, five sandbars and getting out to the “mack” waves is so brutal. So, bless their hearts, they surf around and inside jetties when the hurricane waves come. And the locals seem real safe and have crash boats because they know surfers can get rolled bad in 20-foot stand-up waves.
Hurricanes Cindy, Dennis, and Katrina sent some nice waves down here but being a body and boogie surfer, I wait until it has cooled down a little, like below six feet on the beach break without all the riptide and blown white/brown foam. Right when the surfers bemoan having no waves and the fun is over is when I head down to the beach, knowing I’ll get some rides over 80 feet long. Some of these waves are so powerful that I literally eat sand when I stopped on the dry beach! Just don’t tell the surfers that, because they’re more into “art” than distance.
Using a digital camera and not really knowing how to use it resulted in a poor picture, which is why I shot more beach than surf. But suffice it to say the water was up to the dunes and there were some interesting gully-washers and riptides – those waves on the horizon are probably over 15 feet tall. Pretty awesome.
P.S. those little waves in front of the camera were from the riptide coming off the beach and are not related to the waves crashing on the shore ... about 300 feet out where it looks all calm in between. Your humble photographer was standing in three feet of water and almost got swept off his feet with the undercurrent.