Hailing surfing's summer holiday takes five days in Hatteras
Paddling out to protest "LNG" in NYC. Fighting water pollution on the Florida panhandle. Rallying with one-woman eco-group Margo Pellegrino in New Jersey. Road trips from Atlanta to the Gulf. BBQs and potlucks from Puerto Rico to Portland. East Coast surfers found all sorts of ways to celebrate ISD 2009. But the biggest party of all likely went down on the Outer Banks, as a pulsing wind swell drew folks from across the seaboard, quickly pushing festivities from the specified 24 hours to more than five days.Of course, that's the way holidays used to be. The Romans stretched Saturnalia — their celebration of winter — to a full week of alcohol-soaked pranks and lots of sacrifices. (They even got their own catchphrase: "Lo [or 'hail' ] Saturnalia!" Even better: "Lo" was actually pronounced 'yo' – take that, Russell Simmons.) Outer Bankers took a similar approach to the summer solstice by slowly executing a flat spell — and several million collective brain cells — starting as early as last Wednesday, when the first trickle of travelers showed at a few town sandbars.
"It's been dead flat at home for three weeks." So explained Volcom's Daniel Terry last Wednesday as he paddled out. Daniel was merely taking a two-hour surfbreak from his road trip between Florida and a Philly, but the rumor mill was already grinding with word of an impending descent of rippers from both sides of the Cape. Within an hour, Wrightsville Boys Ben Bourgeois and Ross Stephens were in the water with locals Noah Snyder, Jeff Myers, Barry Price, Junior and Chris McDonald— to name a few. By evening, NSB's Nils Schweizer had joined the club, while photog Patrick Ruddy was on the beach.
At first, 12 hours in a car seemed a little overzealous while washing about in the sloppy, chest-high chunks. But, over time their commitment would prove perfect timing, paying off in a mix of clean peaks and lots of partying, beginning when Matt Biolos, Ryan Divel and Tim Garrett put a few hundred "mexicali brewz" on the …Lost gold card beginning another week-long tradition of pros closing the bars. And while the best waves went down on ISD-eve — a push of chest-high, glass, surprisingly empty lineups and fluctuating water temps that alternated between fully skinning and fully shivering twice over four sessions— the peak of the holiday was still ISD itself, as scattered sandbars kept the island grinning in small packs all day long.
While VB regulars Raven Lundy and Lucas Rogers punted across Pea Island, Jesse Hines gave street-cred to the Christian lifestyle by being the only local pro out down south before 2pm. Florida announcer Travis Ajay strolled over the dunes around 1:30pm, ice coffee in one hand, his brain in the other. Another hour and Team Brew Pub finally left the previous night's hangovers behind and begun working on the next one, slugging beers from beach chairs to board-rides all by themselves. Shortly before sundown they swung by the Outer Banks Surfrider Beach BBQ for Boar's Head dogs, body womps and bumper stickers — Benny even signed the anti-drilling petition and a few summer mag covers — then waved goodbye claiming, "We're taking International Surfing Day all the way through…" And within hours, they and a crew of loc-dogs like Nigel Haynes, Ronnie Brooks and photog Matt Lusk were fist-pumping farewell from the pit at a hardrocking ASG show.
Today, the waves are gone and Benny's on his way to surf Brazil. But more than a few guys are sticking tight. At least for another day or two. As P-Ruddy said, "Me and Nils are gonna see what this next swell brings. We're fully flowing so why stop now?" With that attitude, Maybe next year we'll a whole week to do the holiday justice. We may just need all summer. "Yo, ISD!" indeed.
It ain't all party time on the Outer Banks these days as the Park Service has huge stretches of Hatteras Island closed to "nesting behavior" — including some of the more popular ramps — in some cases for species that aren't even endangered. And not just to cars, but pedestrian access as well. Go to PreserveBeachAccess.org to find out how you can help keep Hatteras open for all species to share and enjoy — including humans. And stay tuned to IslandFreePress.org for updates.