The Halloween swell of 2021 deals with the often deceived


The best part of trick-or-treating is going through that big bag of loot afterward. Throw everything on the ground and separate it into a heap. All the apples, oranges, and creepy homemade crap go straight in the trash (as per mom’s orders). All the crude generic stuff like candy corn and black licorice goes to your little brother who knows no better. Then cut out the guards: branded chocolates over here. Fancy bittersweet stuff out there. Gourmet jellies and gummies and goos on top. And the upcoming monster – a king-sized, chocolate-coated, peanut butter, caramel, and cookie-coated nougat bar maybe, or maybe a fully loaded four-foot-tall Pez dispenser – goes right in. center. Then sit down and examine the spell, all triumphant and smug because you have a little bit of everything.

“On the evening of the 30th, the swell swelled more from the north, the current came in and the lighting was foolish,”Says Buxton photographer Daniel Pullen. “It’s not better from a lighting point of view.” Photo: Daniel Pullen

That’s what October was for East Coast surfers – the month that offered a bit of everything.

It started with a hurricane swell and ended in a northeast with everything from troughs to fronts to combined winds sprinkled in between. And that latest wave maker – the Halloween swell of 2021 – while not necessarily the craziest, could have been the sweetest of all. Because everyone has their share: Yankees, Floridians, Puerto Ricans … Everybody.

“Watching a potential three-day event is always exciting here,” says Outer Banks pro Brett Barley. “But the wind forecast for Friday and Saturday was a bit worrying – potentially good, but also potentially on land. Expectations remained low because of this, but everything went well and the swell pulsed longer than expected, which made for exciting surfing throughout Sunday! Photo: Cody Hammer

“October started with Hurricane Sam and ended with Subtropical Storm Wanda,” says Kurt Korte, Surfline director for Atlantic Forecasting. “These two tropical cyclones came from very different origins, further illustrating the seasonal transition. Sam formed off the coast of Africa like a traditional long-trajectory hurricane. Wanda started out as a strong northeast just off the east coast.

“Not much to say from my side,” says New Hampshire photographer Brian Nevins. “Honestly, I only shot for about an hour in the last two days. I just wanted to surf all the time. Photo: Brian Nevins

“When it was still northeast over New England, the storm had lower central pressure and stronger winds,” Korte adds, “compared to when the National Hurricane Center called it a subtropical storm this weekend. Regardless of the nomenclature, the low pressure system produced the goods out of New England and slipped under the Canadian Maritimes, eventually settling in the central Atlantic. Winds 40 to 45 The storm’s knots sent a 12-14 second swell mid-period back to the east coast and the Caribbean. ”

“We thought it would be a bigger version of surfing than we had last week – just big perfect A-frames with offshore,” continues Daniel Pullen. “It wasn’t quite the case. But man, there have been times. If you could dodge the fences and be in position for a maid, you would be rewarded. Photo: Daniel Pullen

“But Wanda wasn’t the only game in town,” Korte continued. “Behind the former Northeast lies a large, slow frontal system that touched the east coast over Halloween weekend. First, it provided solid waves for the Gulf of Mexico. Coastal buoys off the west coast of Florida recorded a respectable 10-foot straight W swell, which was another rarity: windy days from sunrise to sunset for the east coast of Florida. , which helped prepare for the NE / ENE swell, while finding turns on the long swell lines was difficult.

“Epic moments in Hatteras last weekend, delighted Justin Quintal and I drove the trip!” says Florida pro Oliver Kurtz. “The late night session before ‘the day’ was the most fun, for sure. Big, windy, and raw – the kind of session you come to town for and really remember. Photo: Catherine Harms

“Closures were not as much of a problem further north, as the swell generated by the frontal system provided enough energy to cross longer period swell lines,” Korte said. “Which meant sharp A frames for great areas like the Outer Banks, and ultimately the Northeast after the surf was cleaned up.”

“October is a month of transition, blurring the decline of tropical swells with the rise of frontal and northeastern systems,” says Kurt Korte of Surfline. “And it often takes the best of both worlds to produce some of the East Coast and the Caribbean’s most memorable surfs.” Carlos Cabrero, memorizing his lines in Puerto Rico. Photo credit: Jorge Figueroa

Eva Woodland makes a mess of a perfectly glassy wall at RC. Photo: Mez / ESM

Eva Woodland. Photo: Mez / ESM

Balaram Stack also made the trip to the Outer Banks – and felt right at home. Video: Daniel Hughes

Like a raisin in a Chunky… Dana Knowles, enjoying a square, dark treat in Maine. Photo: Brian Landergan

View: Maine Forecast

Amari Moore, 10, shot in Puerto Rico. Photo: Micah Weaver

“I can’t remember the last time everyone here was so surfed,” Hatteras photographer Cody Hammer says. “It’s a good feeling. Hopefully the Atlantic will continue to produce during the winter months. Photo: Cody Hammer

“Sunburned, tired and still ripping sand out of my head from last week’s marathon,” says Ryan Leopold, VB’s road warrior. “It was like a home surf trip.” Photo: Cody Hammer

Ten-year-old Luke Lopez captured by proud pop pop Cory Lopez near his home in Florida.

Nico Epps, breathing through a Twizzler in Puerto Rico. Photo: Babby Quinones

“Happy Holloween!” says Massachusetts-based photographer Trevor Murphy. “After what seemed like a flat period of several months, New England finally came back to life and with enough energy to frighten even the bravest of souls.” Photo: Trevor Murphy

“It was so good chasing a legitimate swell again,” said Brett Barley. “In the end, I don’t think anyone came home unsatisfied. Photo: Catherine Harms

“It was great to see a real swell in the water again on Friday night,” said Outer Banks photographer Callaway Ramsey. “The winds went out in the late afternoon and the surf didn’t have time to completely clean up, but there were some crazy waves to be had. It was the kind of day you didn’t catch a wave or get one of the best hits you’ve had in months. Erik Paulson backdoored this one perfectly in style. Photo: Callaway Ramsey

“Zero people here this morning,” continues Brian Nevins. ” I could not believe it ! This beachbreak was completely empty and really good. But things around my area have finally turned on. Seems like everywhere else it was fine except us during this whole swell period, and we finally had a window for the last 48 hours. Photo: Brian Nevins

Ryan Leopold, Tootsie rides for days in Cape Hatteras. Photo: Cody Hammer

“It was just good swimming there in silence and enjoying it,” reports Kathryn Harms, a low-key (and underrated) female surf photographer, who spent her Halloween staring monsters in the eye. Rodanthe Pier. Photo: Catherine Harms

Mikel Kauffmann, Puerto Rico. Photo: quinone babies

“I had a good starting point all to myself for two hours today,” Nevins concludes. “It’s been a long time since this happened [laughs]. “Photo: Brian Nevins


STORM LOCATION / MOVEMENT: Nor’easter transitioning to Wanda and Broad, gradually building up the low impact on the east coast over the weekend

STRONGEST STORM WINDS / SEAS: Sea 20 ‘+ and winds 45kt from Wanda; Sea 10-12 ′ and winds 20-25kt from the East Coast system

MAXIMUM STORM INTENSITY: 987MB for Wanda, 994MB boosted to 986MB for the East Coast system

SWELL TRAVEL TIME: 24-48h from Wanda and 6-12h from the East Coast system

SWELL PEAK: 10-11 feet at 8-9 seconds at Jeffrey’s Ledge buoy (44098)
3 feet at 13-14 seconds at the 20 mile Canaveral buoy (41009)
4 feet at 12-13 seconds of ENE swell and 3-4 feet at 8-9 seconds of SE / ESE swell at the Oregon Inlet buoy (44095)

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