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Ponquogue Beach & Hurricane Ernesto, Labor Day 2006

On Wednesday evening, August 30th 2006, the NOAA Wave Model predicted the waves would be 5m on Saturday morning. I called Chris and said I'd be at Ponquogue Beach Saturday morning.
Labor Day 2006 - Hurricane Ernesto's remains.

By Saturday morning, Ernesto had moved inland, but, the surf was huge and the wind was intense. The NY Times said the surf was 8-13 feet, I am not the best judge of wave heights, but, they seemed more like the 5m when we were out there.

It took a few minutes to get psyched to go out. There was never an issue of going or not going, but, still, it is not done lightly. Chris is a former life guard and knows the Ponquogue Beach crew, so, they were cool about us going out.

We walked way down the beach to the East, the wind and the "drag" or sideways rip were from the East. The wind was sandblasting our legs and hitting us all the way up and into our eyes. Luckily, there was a deep water pocket next to shore that we could swim out a ways. There was a school of Blue fish trapped in the pocket. I got a few bumps, but, they really liked Chris :-). Once out to the far side of the pocket we were dragged down to the target point. The waves were HUGE! The wind was so strong the the waves were being blown down sideways and I found them very hard to catch. I got one small one on the first run and nothing on the second. Chris caught a couple each run. Although I had not caught more than a smallish wave, just being out in the thick of things was exhilarating and gave me confidence that my recent spurt of training had paid off. That was it for Saturday. NOAA wave model image

Sunday morning was GLORIOUS!!!. The storm had gone, the wind was dying down, but, the waves had stayed. Chris and I went for three runs in the morning. It was beyond words. The first run I caught a very nice left down and fast, then up again and then a second rush down the face. The last wave I caught in the morning was HUGE. I was way, way out having just fought back thru the surf from the previous wave and Chris motioned to go out again. Sure, I thought, is this not what life is all about! Anyway, I kept paddling out because I wanted to catch my breathe. When I finally slow down and look at the next wave, it is a monster and I am in perfect position! Not the cleanest ride of the day, but, it was at least mega huge. Some nice clean cuts. Forrester swam out with us for the 1st & 3rd run.

In the afternoon it was different. The high tide brought the waves in to break on a shelf. I got one large wave and zoomed down to the bottom where the curl caught up with me. I paddled in and watched Chris wait for a good wave, which was fun to watch, big cut to the right, then it reforms and he was cutting to the left.

Monday morning, Labor Day was calmer and when we first got there, there was no wind. Nice clean cuts. Long and easy to catch. A good work out and awesome fun! The, after a quick camera phone photo with Chris, back to my little life in Sudbury.

Above right: NOAA Wave Model. The center of the light green inner circle is right at Ponquogue Beach in the Town of Southampton, Long Island, New York. I encourage any bodysurfers insane enough and especially trained and in great shape to check it out.

I plan to go the Pipeline Body Surfing Classic this January! (note, it was cancelled but I went anyway)



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