After a disappointingly flat August, it looks like hope is quite literally on the horizon, with Hurricane Florence defying forecast model intensity after a ferocious jump to Category 4 strength. No surprise...the big question on every East Coast surfer’s mind right now is, “how will Hurricane Florence's strengthening impact the surf forecast for the East Coast?” We understand that it can be challenging to decide where to go and what to bring in the stream of media and conflicting forecasts, so we’d like to provide some insight to help you prepare your quivers and dominate this hurricane season.
At the moment, the two biggest hurricane models, the GFS and ECMWF (Euro), are showing some disagreement on the exact track. The GFS model is currently showing Florence moving west past Bermuda, making a northward turn directly off the shores of the Outer Banks, and then slowing strengthening before moving towards the Long Island and RI coasts (around Sept. 13-15). This path would certainly produce long period ground swell for Rhode Island’s points and beaches, however local winds would likely become an issue in this setting. The Euro model shows Florence moving west of Bermuda as well, but rather than turning north, it continues west towards NC/VA, making landfall sometime around the 13th. It is important to remember that we are still a bit too far out to hold confidence in either track, however we remain confident that the system will make a westward advance, and it will be imperative to keep an eye on the system as the models become more in agreement.
With these hypothetical tracks in mind, here’s what we’re thinking for boards. In the buildup to Florence, we suggest a groveler that can handle some punch for the stomach-to-head high waves forecasted for the weekend. Popular options in this category include the Roberts “Bro-Fish” or “Fun One,” the Firewire “Chumlee,” “Addvance,” or “Sci-Fi,” Pyzel’s “Gremlin” or “Sure Thing,” or the Sharpeye “Modern 2.” As the swell increases to the chest and head high range, a more high performance shortboard will dominate. Our choices for this size range include the Roberts “Meatcleaver” or “White Diamond 2,” the Firewire “Dominator,” the Pyzel “Stubby Bastard” or “Phantom”, or the Sharpeye “Disco Cheater.” Should the East Coast be graced with some head-to-over-head waves into early next week, as most models are predicting, we suggest that you find yourself riding a true step-up with a rounded pin tail, like the Pyzel “Ghost.” If you have any questions about the specifics of each model listed or need any help preparing for the swell in general, please don’t hesitate to call us or stop by at the shop.