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!
© Mark Sain Wilson