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by Ed Temperley on Friday 14th September, 2012 162766 Views
17 of 24
MARK Sain Wilson, joint winner of our 2011 Hurricane Katia Shootout brings you an intimate focus on the 'First Coast' area of Northern Florida during the recent Hurricane Leslie swell.
Words and images, Mark Sain Wilson
The "First Coast" name was given to the beaches of North Florida in order to attract tourist as the first stop for beaches south of the Georgia state line. Peculiarly (or not, perhaps) It entered the public vernacular via a 1980's marketing campaign.
Jacksonville Beach sits in the middle of the First Coast, and thanks to Hurricane Leslie, Jax Beach, as it's known, was alive with five days of good surf with offshore winds. The main break is the Jax Beach Pier, and a few of the other premier breaks are in city and state parks with miles and miles of beachbreak in-between. Surf culture is big here, from boys to girls, men and women, longboarders to shortboarders, we've a deep pool here producing tons of talent.
I think everyone surfing and living here has adapted to the the ever-changing conditions, having to deal with small quirky swells makes us good, adaptable, surfers. The swells do come in, but certainly not as big and as consistently as one would like. With minimal swell generated for the summer months our sights were set on the hurricane season, hoping for warm solid surf before the onset of winter. Hello Leslie! © 2013 Mark Sain Wilson
I started Thursday morning at The Poles, a spot where a military base and a city park come together. Some nice breaks are here, and if you stay by the water's edge you can even access the waves on government property.
But, just to let you know, there are soldiers watching you surf with those high powered rifles by their sides. The waves this morning were head high+ and fun, happily the swell seemed to be helping our sandbars get back to normal. © 2013 Mark Sain Wilson
The south side of the pier has its own personality, it seems to get a bit more hollow, and is usually where all the rippers are sitting. Here a local sets-up for a nice bowl to start the day. © 2013 Mark Sain Wilson
This is the newer concrete pier, which was moved about 12 blocks north from the old wooden pier. The pier has trapped enough sand to groom the waves into nice bowls and is usually a bit bigger than the beach breaks. Here a local works his way through the low tide sand bank. © 2013 Mark Sain Wilson
The north side of the pier is also known to serve up some hollow sections. © 2013 Mark Sain Wilson
In the past couple of years our sandbars have really changed. What used to be a high tide break, the Jax Beach Pier, has morphed into a low tide spot. Adam King carves his way through a solid outside bowl as the tide starts to fill in. © 2013 Mark Sain Wilson
When a hurricane swell hits, some surfers tend to stay close to home as the entire coast lights up with swell. Here a Poles' local takes advantage of the lack of crowds. © 2013 Mark Sain Wilson
Back at the pier, Adam King breaks the fins loose while putting it on rail on a chunky north side bowl. © 2013 Mark Sain Wilson
There is some real female talent in these parts, as one is showing her backside talents (misogynistic joke alert) as she works her way into the pier's inside section. © 2013 Mark Sain Wilson
The main challenge shooting here is that you are shooting east into the sun in the morning, and by the time the light gets good, the wind has usually switched onshore. The storm was far enough away that it didn't affect the local wind, so it was a "beating the wind" type of situation. Adam King slashes another early morning bowl. © 2013 Mark Sain Wilson
Taking advantage of another hollow section on the pier's north side. © 2013 Mark Sain Wilson
Another great beach is a city park where you can still drive on the actual beach. In my opinion, this is one of the best breaks around. This place is big with longboarder, but that doesn't keep the shortboarders away. You just need to give respect and everyone can get along. Locals Adam Fix, Shawn Greham, and John Renfrow keep an eye on things. © 2013 Mark Sain Wilson
Friday was a bit smaller at the park, but with some nice waves coming through for some solid performance surfing. © 2013 Mark Sain Wilson
Brent Lamprecht was blowing up and surfing with authority hucking airs like this under the midday sun. © 2013 Mark Sain Wilson
You can tell Brent Lamprecht was amping to launch some big airs after such a slow summer, and here he blast a big no hander. © 2013 Mark Sain Wilson
When Brent Lamprecht wasn't airing it out, he was laying down some impressive rail work as he gouges another right bowl. © 2013 Mark Sain Wilson
Also laying down some sweet lines was Tucker Norton. This was picture number 2 of a 7 shot sequence. In shot number 3, there was spray covering everything. I chose 2 because you can actually see Tucker…and yes, he pulled it. © 2013 Mark Sain Wilson
Saturday morning started out with another pulse in swell, but was accompanied by a slight wobble from the south. It was time to head to south and check a different spot. © 2013 Mark Sain Wilson
As the morning progressed, the swell cleaned up and offered sections like this. The good thing about this break south of town is that there is very limited parking, which is a great way to control the crowds. © 2013 Mark Sain Wilson
This was first light on Sunday at a little secret spot. This would be our last chance to get the goods, before another front came through with strong onshore winds. © 2013 Mark Sain Wilson
The wind was really howling out of the southwest causing some funky wobbles at times. Here Richard Arrendale negotiates a wobbly left. © 2013 Mark Sain Wilson
There were some freight train tubes coming in, and not that many people to take advantage of them. © 2013 Mark Sain Wilson
Being in the right place at the right time is key to surfing a lot of Florida beach breaks. Here's the sweet spot. © 2013 Mark Sain Wilson
With five days of solid surf, and a 6 hour morning session, tired and satisfied, we said bye to Leslie as a looming weather front approached from the west.
Who is Mark Sain Wilson?
"I'm 51 years old and have been surfing for about 40 years. I've been photographing for 30 years and just started shooting surfing last year (my love for surfing outweighed my love to photograph).
"Now I'm just as excited to do both, especially when i'm shooting from the water. I see a lot of beautiful moments while out surfing and wanted to capture that, to give the viewer a sense of place. It's also a challenge for me personally, with outstanding rewards to my well being."
Mark is both a photogrpher and a fine artist, you can see his work here: marksainwilson.com © 2013 Mark Sain Wilson
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