March 2019 and comments on Shoal surfing the Gulf of Mexico

Rad waves yesterday. Photo:

Noon Wednesday and it looks better than it did this am. The buoy is up the wind is offshore, tide is incoming, best spots probably have waist high sets.

Friday 6am DP and the tide looks very low as the moon sets.

Any waves out there?

The last frontier of gulf coast surfing- shoal surfing. Sterling Spencer in the Cyclops of Pensacola Pass Shoal. Photo: Surfer Mag.

Sunday 11am WFL Forecast: Sorry for the late updates. The next system is actually notch down. Late Tuesday will have a small N line but it may not get rideable. We’ll take another look tomorrow.

Scoring the GC: Story goes like this…. got off work at 1130 pm Tuesday night and saw 25 mph sustained across the ne gulf all blowing NW. To me that was a sure sign of waves. Woke up at 445 Wednesday morning and saw that frontal thingy from the east coast coming and calm/glassy no wind conditions down in SRQ. Scrambled as fast as I could and even left my darn coffee at home as I raced down to Venice. Tide was Wayyyy high so it didn’t really look like it was breaking from the lot, but ya know how it is, you gotta get out there.( saw the backs of some solid ones down in the hole kinda) Got out around 7ish at first light and it started pulsing really hard just the 3 of us our trading high tide gnarly barrels and air sections! Even broke my leash. Surfed just the 3 of us until about 1030 when it seemed like 30 people showed up at the same time as a waterspout and some rain. Surfed a while longer dealing with the crowd, drop ins, loose boards, little kids swimming around with their leashed board dragging. (Not complaining just being real). Long period and pulsing swell made it easy for even the littlest of kids to come out so it was a bit crowded. One of the most epic mornings I’ve had in idk what like 8 years of going down there every cold front cleanup almost ?! I’d attest that to no one showing up at all for the whole morning. It was like a wave pool, super glass conditions, wave after wave after wave, straight slabs, no breaks! Paddle out, catch a wave, paddle out, catch a wave, non stop! That’s the story and I’m sticking to it! Super sore today, feel like I caught 500 waves haha.

N Atl Swell

Scoring Waves Late: my 11yr old Cassia wanted to go surfing (and I will do anything to get her off devices) but it was super late in the day, there was only barely an hour of light left so we hustle over to +++ *****, nobody was out at Pools… it was flat but I saw one foot it 13 seconds on the 41115 buoy, I know my 11yr old can surf that… Greg pulls up on his motorcycle and we are doing double takes as the flat ocean fills with corduroy lines, whales spouting out the back… just like that, it happened. as soon as we pulled up these lines just started pouring in chest high, long… Then me and Cass wait to paddle out, we thought it was flat and halfway out we got pounded by about 12 waves… she almost went in, finally the sets stopped and we finish paddling out and it was flat as a lake, then another 5 minutes and another set came. super powerful little waves, waist to chest. So we got to see the beginning of a solid swell from the north Atlantic.

Fun Boards are Fun

This board is 7ft by 20.5 2.75 thick. Super fun stretched out fish.

Jules on a epoxy 7’2 by Matt Kechele, one of the funnest boards we’ve ever had- the Pug Performer.

Small wave surf in PR: I can’t bring myself to ride a 9’6. I don’t look down on those who do. But I’ve found here in NW PR the 7′ range fun boards fit the waves perfect, squeeze life out of knee high and I can still turn them. Plus they are easy for my daughters to surf.

Thurs 8:30am WFL: Wow so stoked for the guys who scored yesterday. It sure was not there for the DP but filled in with the tide right? Looked super fun…Next Tuesday a low pressure is forecast to form in the NE gulf and may pull a little wave behind it. We will be watching that for the next surf. Today it’s 1/2ft to 1ft and looking calm for the weekend with offshore flow.

We had S and SE winds all week. This was Tuesday but the swell is gone now. More waves for tomorrow looking chunky.

Caribbean: El ninyo dried out the Caribbean tremendously. We had months of dry sunny days and everything here in Rincon was brown. The farms and forests were suffering a serious drought. Yesterday was our 1st good rain in months. It started at 5pm and rained until 9pm light and heavy at time putting 1″ in the gauge. This am everything is bright and green and happy. A 5ft at 12 second swell is on the way for Friday and the weekend, hop a plane. I’ll try and post some pics.

Noon Wednesday and it looks better than it did this am. The buoy is up, the wind is offshore, tide is incoming, best spots probably have waist high sets.

Wed WFL 7:30am It looks super tiny, flat… It never came up yet. We were hoping for a 5ft buoy and it’s 3.6 at 6 at the moment(it is trending up slightly). Most likely somebody will find something to longboard today. Knee high range at best spots down south. But right now on the cams, St Pete looks flat and Bradenton occ knee high but only at a couple spots. Wave models show it could possibly get rideable in a couple hours in the knee to thigh range at very best spots. If you really want to surf today keep an eye on it, maybe don’t write this one off quite yet. Add-on: I just saw 99 is 7ft from the NW, maybe don’t give up… Just wait till later and keep an eye on your bext cold front spot.

Tuesday 7am WFL: A cold front will pass later today… You know how a lot of the cold front surf lately seems to be not so strong and more down south than up north? This one looks like that to me also. I hope I’m wrong and butt flea gets that super fun incoming tide wave (I used to surf it every chance I could). Nice NW push over the NE gulf today into tonight will put a small NW swell on the beach tomorrow am with offshore winds. Those good cold front spots down south should be small but fun, knee to thigh. Take a floaty board. Tide: HT at 6am to a tiny LT at 10:40am then coming in good until 4pm… Last swell the buoy got 5ft at 7. Hopefully it gets close to 5ft tomorrow am at this time. Bummed the Venice cam is down that I saw… Thanks to Joey for the reports….
Monday WFL 8am: Tomorrow winds will veer NW, a 1ft N line is expected late in the day. Wednesday looks knee to thigh clean NW waves down south at best cold front spots. So Wednesday am looks to be the best chance for surf. Mid-morning may be the best time to look. Have a good day.

One of my favorite pics from 2018. St Petersburg by Mo Lelii.

51 thoughts on “March 2019 and comments on Shoal surfing the Gulf of Mexico

  1. JDH

    Rob, as soon as things line up for me that allows me to check it out, I’m on it and will document.
    I’d demand proof too. 🙂
    Man! What a long ride. If we had a tanker break, I’d never completely starve for a wave. Especially in the summer. I remember there being a thread on here about possibilities near the mouth of the bay.

    Great surf stories fellas. It’s fun for me to read when I can’t make it down.
    What’s interesting, is the two fronts before, didn’t have much going on off the coast of Hudson, up here, but on the 27th, first thing in the morning came a downpour and the full on northwest, maybe west northwest winds blowing hard up here.
    By noon, the winds were north northeast.
    Tells me there was a good pocket of winds pointed at our coast south of me.
    Amazing how just the short distance from the panhandle to the Mississippi in Louisiana, can produce such nice waves, without and all out low pressure moving through.

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