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As Typhoon Soulik intensified in the Pacific Ocean from a tropical storm into a Category 4 typhoon many Taiwanese readied themselves for it to make landfall. Surfers however also waited anxiously, watching the ever-growing swell and favourable winds. As the storm track settled we made the call to chase the swell of Typhoon Soulik down the East Coast of Taiwan.© 2014 Joel Agostino / SurfingTaiwan.com
Surfers make the best weather forecasters. We study charts; swell maps and all have our own secrets that help us predict when and where a swell will hit. Taiwan’s sunrises are one such secret, indicating a typhoon's position.© 2014 Joel Agostino / SurfingTaiwan.com
It can be hard controlling your excitement when you see a typhoon swell headed your way. Luckily there are lots of ways to relax on Taiwan’s East Coast.© 2014 Joel Agostino / SurfingTaiwan.com
Waking up to a building swell is always fun. With a light cross-shore wind blowing on the wave in front of our house we walked around the point to surf some clean, overhead lefts which where rolling through.© 2014 Joel Agostino / SurfingTaiwan.com
Taiwan’s coastline is spectacular and under the water is equally impressive. Deep sea trenches, reefs and a constant flow of cobblestones and sand from numerous rivers combine to create incredible setups.© 2014 Joel Agostino / SurfingTaiwan.com
On any given swell there is usually a wave we have in mind that we want to surf. Traveling down the East Coast en route to our final surf destination was proving more time consuming than anticipated. With most spots firing it was just too hard driving by without paddling out for a few.© 2014 Joel Agostino / SurfingTaiwan.com
With plenty of headlands and bays, you can usually find some fun, less intimidating surf on offer when it gets too big on the open beaches.© 2014 Joel Agostino SurfingTaiwan.com
The large swells generated by Typhoon Soulik broke through many closed river-mouths, pumping freshwater into the ocean and creating some awesome shades of blue.© 2014 Joel Agostino SurfingTaiwan.com
Fun waves wrap around a picturesque point with only a handful of guys out. When you have been spoilt for too long a group of 5 or 6 surfers seems crowded.© 2014 Joel Agostino / SurfingTaiwan.com
Two Taiwanese girls enjoy the chance to take pictures with a Transformer. How this came to rest in a sleepy fishing/farming village on the coast of Taiwan still makes me smile.© 2014 Joel Agostino / SurfingTaiwan.com
Taiwan has the largest number and density of high mountains in the world. Driving into the mountains is often needed just to get around to the next bay or stretch of coast.© 2014 Joel Agostino / SurfingTaiwan.com
Friday 12th of July saw Typhoon Soulik swell hitting the North East of Taiwan. Sadly it went on to claim numerous lives (mainly in China) and our thoughts go out to all those affected.
I always usually surf alone since arriving in Taiwan over 10-years-ago and I can honestly say I have never felt lonely... few surfers would.© 2014 Joel Agostino / SurfingTaiwan.com
Being surfed out after a full day is still no excuse for not paddling out for one last session when there is no-one out and the waves are this fun.© 2014 Joel Agostino / SurfingTaiwan.com
With the swell direction and size generated from Typhoon Soulik this gem was always going to fire, it just needed a bit more time....© 2014 Joel Agostino / SurfingTaiwan.com
A seafood breakfast at the local harbour allows you the best of both worlds; great food and you can still keep an eye on the swell. Here an outer reef indicates that the swell has arrived.© 2014 Joel Agostino / SurfingTaiwan.com
Waves begin to run down the line at this quality reef.© 2014 Joel Agostino / SurfingTaiwan.com
In life we often have to make difficult decisions. This decision was a lot easier: an empty line-up, it's firing, paddle out.© 2014 Joel Agostino / SurfingTaiwan.com
All surfers love watching their friend’s stroke into a wave. Whether they make it, or kook it, there is always entertainment. Here's a good friend, on a good wave. Nothing better apart from surfing it yourself.© 2014 Joel Agostino / SurfingTaiwan.com
It’s hard looking at this wave and to not mind surf it. Enjoy the ride.© 2014 Joel Agostino / SurfingTaiwan.com
With only a handful of surfers paddling out on this day, the majority of waves went through unridden. Just the way it should be.© 2014 Joel Agostino / SurfingTaiwan.com
A friendly Coastguard reminds me of the dangers of paddling out. Fortunately his reminder came at the end of an epic day of surf, but not before a few boards were snapped.© 2014 Joel Agostino / SurfingTaiwan.com
SurfingTaiwan.com making sure we are always the first at a spot when it turns on and the last to leave the water. It is what we love doing.© 2014 Joel Agostino / SurfingTaiwan.com
JOEL Agostino chased the swell from Typhoon Soulik down the East Coast of Taiwan on July 10 to 12th - attempting to slot himself into the Goldilocks Zone of maximum swell and minimum wind in the lee of this destructive Category 4 storm.
It’s a battle with your conscience when you watch a storm like this bring so much sorrow and destruction to people, but at the same time bring us as surfers so much joy. I guess all we can do is try to find the best in every situation and go along for the ride.
Photos/captions/adventure: Joel Agostino of surfingtaiwan.com
Soulik in numbers:
- Highest wind speed: 230 kmh / 145 mph
- Taiwan saw 4 deaths and 123 injured
- At least 295 people have been confirmed dead or missing in China
- Some 300,000 people have evacuated from Eastern China
- Torrential rains toppled more than 1,000 houses in Guangdong, China
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