Did Hurricane Maria Produce the Best Waves of this East Coast Dream Run?

Craig Murch

by on

Updated 22d ago

Atlantic Hurricane Season has been non-stop. Both unfortunately from a destructive point of view for almost everywhere in and on the fringes of the Caribbean Sea. And yet forunately for all surfers situated on the United State's East Coast.

"Almost overwhelming," has been a sentiment echoed by more than one of our East Coast comrades throughout the run. But even when you're on the very edge of being completely burnt out due to over three weeks of straight, pumping surf, when another hurricane comes kicking, (in this case Maria) there's no way you could sit and watch now is there? Especially when she may have been promising the best surf yet.

© 2017 - Trevor Murphy

That's why, now the run is seemingly done and dusted for the foreseable, we posed the very same question in our headline to those who dropped everything to be on the sand and/or in the water throughout...

“Maria was definitely the icing on the cake for this run of swell, which for such an incredible stretch, says a lot,” Shawn Casey tells MSW after days on the road in New England. “Most that were able to prepare and free the time looked to New England and Canadian venues for much more favorable winds during peak Maria swells. Maria definitely provided some of the best warm water swell I can personally remember so far this decade. And I think a lot of that claim has much to do with all the positive vibes while on the road and throughout lineups, there’s been so much swell that everyone’s been getting theirs.

© 2017 - Shawn Casey

© 2017 - Shawn Casey

“It also kept crowds heavily thinned once the big boy surf rolled through, I think most people had already maxed out their time for surf. We scored everyday of the journey throughout the North East. Nooks and crannies I’ve never seen break before were fully pelting given the glassy conditions. We were all over the place, checking places that hardly ever break — outer islands, the Canadian maritimes, tucked away beachbreaks etc. The swell shortened up for the last main day of swell, with crispy autumn offshore winds and every wave we checked/surfed was pumping. Couldn’t really go wrong.”

© 2017 - Shawn Casey

"Robbie put on one of the best displays of surfing/charging Ive seen from a grom his age (13) in all of my travels," recalls Shawn Casey, the man on the shoulder. "Very inspiring stuff, his peers should be taking notes! So well composed in waves of consequence."

© 2017 - Trevor Murphy

"This swell was incredible," Matt Paul tells MSW, who also ventured north. "So many locations lit up simultaneously it was like a playground for New England with the north winds. The spot we hit during the peak of the swell looked like Pascuales or Puerto, easy double overhead plus and heavy.

"I missed the best days of Jose due to work so I didn't get to experience it first hand but I'd say Maria was better overall (especially up north) because of how many days the conditions stayed good with solid swell. OBX would say otherwise as their best run was Jose I think."

© 2017 - Matt Paul

© 2017 - Matt Paul

© 2017 - Matt Paul

"I think the whole feeling on Long Island since the Gert swell in August was how could this hurricane season get any better," New York photographer Joe O'Connor recalls. "Then we followed that up with TC 10, then Hurricane Irma, Jose before ending the run with Maria. She was definitely faster moving and had more power, consistency and size than Jose through the course of the swell."

"The guys that were out during Maria wre definitely struggling with the current. It was an expert level day where the average local guy watched from shore. The lineup definitely was dominated by local legends and East Coast pros."

© 2017 - Joe O'Connor

"Maria did attract a much larger crowd than Jose, however. People came up to Long Island from New Jersey, North Carolina and I even heard Florida. You also can't beat sunshine and overhead waves which is rare on Long Island since almost all of our swell comes from Nor'Easters or close call hurricanes. Jose on the other hand was a much slower moving storm that stalled out and delivered at least two full days of very good surf.

"No need to compare them though, you won't find one surfer in New York right now with any complaints after this September..."

© 2017 - Joe O'Connor

© 2017 - Conor Barry

Jon Smyth in NY

Jon Smyth in NY

© 2017 - Conor Barry

"It wasn't as good as Jose but still consistent with overhead waves coming through on the sets. It didn't matter it wasn't as good as Jose because it was sunny and 70 degrees Fahrenheit without a cloud in the sky..."

© 2017 - Ben Wiener

"September sessions are the dream, and it's been a very long seemingly endless dream!" says Shawn Casey, (pictured).

© 2017 - Patrick Cain

Cover photo by Trevor Murphy


Craig Murch

MSW Content Editor