(Sept. 25, 2020) As of this writing, Labor Day is a memory, well behind us in the rearview mirror.
Fall has started with cool mornings and evenings. Weather and water remain warm enough to make things attractive to those astute ones who know that the fall is what it is – lower humidity, more reasonable crowds and traffic, and hopefully consistent surf.
There is so much tropical storm/hurricane activity in the Atlantic that we are bound to have good to excellent conditions at some point.
Though the swell should show itself, there are a few factors that can work against it – direction, swell period and local winds all come into play.
If the direction of the swell is too straight (onto the beach), the wave or waves can close out and break all at once leaving the surfer nowhere to go but straight.
So too with the period. If it’s too long the wave can again close out and break all at once.
When the period gets well into the teens this can readily happen.
Local winds are also a big factor. We can tolerate an onshore or side shore wind as long as it’s light enough. But the more desirable direction will come from the land either straight westerly or even a slight SW or NW direction.
Another factor is lifted restrictions – No more before 10 a.m. or after 5:30 p.m.
One can surf anywhere in town and with that said, it’s a good idea to keep an eye out for the swimmer or board rider who get into trouble.
Lifeguard personnel is greatly reduced with Sept. 27 being the last day of duty for the Beach Patrol.
Most of us think of sports as having a season.
Basically, baseball is played in the summer, football in the fall, and basketball in the winter.
I think of surfing as being a more year-round activity although if one is pressed to name a season it would more than likely be the fall.
The colder months in general have more potential due to harsher weather conditions, despite the cold, although we’re subject to waves in any month on the calendar.
Hopefully the potential wave rider has spent enough time in the water to be conditioned to take advantage of the better scenario. Surfing is great exercise and one of the best ways to get in shape for surfing is to go surfing!
So here it is, the season we all wait for. Despite the covid, despite the civil problems, despite the political unrest, the waves keep coming.
It’s always changing, it’s always different, especially with our beach break conditions.
Hopefully we’ll all get the chance to take advantage of what should be a consistent run of surf. The weather maps are certainly calling for it.
By the time this is read you will have had a few good sessions. We’re looking for a good fall!
– Dave Dalkiewicz is the owner of Ocean Atlantic Surf Shop in Ocean City.