Out of Office Reply: Pre-Swell Facebook Updates

Out of Office Reply is Associate Editor Taylor Paul’s column on surf travel, big waves, and other manly bits.


Below this Facebook post there were 20 “Likes” and 15 comments such as, "Aleutian Juice!! On its way Daddy O" and, "The storm is so big they're running out of colors."

So many waves to get excited about! So many exclamation points!!!

While I tend to fault surf forecasting websites for over-hyping swells and contributing to ballooning crowds, Facebook and the big-wave surfers who use it are as much to blame. They post their thoughts, fears, concerns, and clever wordplay for all of their "friends" to see (each of these guys has thousands of friends). It's a hype generator like no other, but it's also entertaining. Here are a few posts from some of the world's best big-wave surfers about the swell that will arrive…now.

Best Comment: Rusty Long "Damn that's some serious business. Haha. Don't go grey."

A lot of people probably are turning a bit grey with this swell. Buoys are reading 32 feet at 21 seconds. The sun is out and the wind is calm. No excuses. Which is why people like Maverick's local Travis Payne wonder…

Best Comments: "You need the sac or the actual balls?" (To which Travis replied, "Whatever [Shawn] Dollar was using last year.")

Travis is heading to Oregon to compete in the Nelscott Reef Big Wave Classic, to be held today (Tuesday). Mark Healey is also invited to the contest, but with waves predicted to be firing everywhere, he’s had to decide if surfing a contest in potentially out-of-control Oregon is his best option, which is why he says…

Best comment: "But always good, well most of the time good, depends how deep you take off I guess."

Mark always takes off deep, sometimes with brutal consequences. He's a self-aware man, and admits…

Best comment: "Indeed. I’m headed to the Bay. Should be fun. Pat says 40-50 faces. Loving it!!!"

Forty- to 50-foot faces is no exaggeration, and could easily go bigger. Despite his claim to not be answering anymore phone calls until after the swell, I pestered Greg Long enough to get him on the phone during his drive north from San Clemente. North where? "We're heading to [cell static] for the day Tuesday," Greg said. "And between you and me, we're going to [damn iPhone!] on Wednesday. This could very well be the swell of the decade."

He'll tell 4,000 people that the swell is coming, but just a handful where he'll be when it hits. Technology be damned – secrets still exist. —Taylor Paul

Lucky for us, Taylor isn't so elusive. He'll be at Maverick's, and will report back with the goods on Thursday.