Hurricane Sam Swell in Puerto Rico 2021 Round 1

John Purdy at Surfers on Saturday.


Caribbean Carnage- Friday Report from the Sam Event: A tourist man drowned snorkeling Steps with his wife on Wednesday. They are still searching for the body. Wednesday had strong swell in that area. Nobody knows but when there is ground-swell Steps has the nastiest rip, no signs, no lifeguards.
Surfing with my kids has not been a relaxing casual surf for me… They are doing great but they are not the strongest paddlers in the world and duck diving 6ft waves is tough also. I have to keep such an eye on them. I make sure we have fresh leashes every year and tough little strings to attach them to the boards. My big wave boards all have 2 leash plugs and big wave leashes. I’m not screwing around. I have a ton of respect for the Atlantic Ocean when she gets pissed off sometimes. The shore-break has been treacherous. Sam’s swell was so strong some of the sets have had like 6-8 waves in each set at 12 seconds apart and they can beat down the kids on the inside. Wrong place/wrong time: 4-6ft and 1 of my kids got caught inside at the lower part of the Mix and pinned against the rocks. I was there in a flash to help her. Then her leash got wrapped around a rock underwater and she couldn’t move. 4ft surge kept hitting her every 12 seconds. I calmly told her ‘breathe’. She was going under every 12 seconds. I saw her head trying to break the surface, finally she popped up. I told her ‘breath’ then ‘undo your leash’ (we were both getting pounded). Then I moved in and grabbed her board- she was free finally and there was a very small, tiny piece of beach and I told her to run. There is a rock in the shore-break shaped like an anvil- not joking OMG we almost got smashed on it. After that, we rest on the beach catch our breath- inspect the damage… “I can laugh about it now but at the time it was terrible” Final Results- just cut up feet, an urchin in her hand. Even the boards missed being smashed on the anvil into splinters by like inches. To top it off we go surf last night at Domes and understand in Florida the lightning comes at the beginning of the t storms… Weirdest thing: Here the lightning comes after the rain. Full on gnarly electrical storm. 30 guys out at Domes as massive bolts start pegging the ocean seconds apart and all you see is tons of guys running up the beach to their cars! This amazing planet is powerful down here right now!!! Hay que respetarlo! 16 second power swell coming tomorrow, early in the season but looks like the day of the year to me to hype it more than it needs, hope we don’t die 🙂

Colors of Sam, awesome swell!

Wednesday October 6th at Wildo, the Sam Swell Continues… Photos by M-Dub:

This is Pete from Jacksonville. He looks tough but he’s super cool. He’s a father of 4 little kids so he dyed his mowhawk bright pink so they would laugh at him. Def a guy who does not take himself too seriously.

Notes on Wildo and trips to PR this winter:

A lot of people think Wildo is soft, some call it Wildo-Mush. It only barrels in sections if the period is very long. Wildo amplifies NE swell and it’s so spread out that there is space for most everyone this time of year. Still, I never ride shortboard there, always a Mid bc it makes it easier to catch so I suggest a high volume board if you want to surf it. Wildo can be world class and a very long wave with multiple turns for even entry level surfers. It has a great left also, no wonder it’s so popular. I have been surfing there a lot bc that’s where my clients like to surf and it’s also Julie’s favorite wave. The road in is rough but not too bad and there are waves up at Ruins and Crap House but they are best surfed with high volume boards also. I surfed a wave between Crap House and Wildo with James that was so fun and nobody ever surfs it so keep an eye on that…

Another big low is headed in Sunday and more LP swell for next week as the Caribbean is on an epic fall run of swell…

You need a negative COVID test(CVS has them) or a Vax Card to enter. PR stakes the pandemic super serious, masks are required everywhere.

There has been a shortage of rental cars also since the pandemic started so make sure your car is guaranteed. Mid winter will be dicey for finding a car. Stay at a place walking distance to waves and get rides carpool if you have too. I can try and help also if you want to hire me for guide work, thanks!

The Compound

Check out Whitney’s Restaurant on Longboat Key.

Need an attorney that understands you? Check in with Scott.

Thursday 7am 10/7/21 Puerto Rico Surf report from the Sam swell.-The last few years the best surf all year has been in early fall from hurricane swells. Teddy, Paulette, Larry and Sam. I know these are the best swells of the year. Yes, we will get some good swells during the winter but these hurricane swells are different, just super fun, surf all day, not too crowded kind of surf. I’ve been trying to get my kids waves too and it’s been at the top of their scale so we’ve had some close calls with big rocks but todo bien, nothing bad has happened. Yesterday morning, I surfed Wildo with Pete (Julie stayed home to help mom). It was still 6-8ft on sets and guys were breaking boards agin on the biggest sets. I was riding a 7’0 gun that Bat made me last year. It worked perfect. After that sesh I shot photos for awhile and then we headed down to the Mix. The Mix was really fun but less consistent. Pete got some crazy good waves. I wish I had my action cam out in the water with me. We drifted from the top of the Mix to the very bottom section before the beach down to Pressure Point. There was some current, it has been windy trades after 10am. Fighting the current to stay in the peak of the lower bowl at the Mix I could not believe how much pain I was in- everything hurt, my ribs so sore, arms noodles, neck and back screaming for rest. So today I’m resting… Saturday looks like the best day of the fall so far with 16 second swell headed in from Extra Tropo Sam. More guys are coming from Florida so I’m taking some time to rest and get ready. I surfed 7 days straight. I thought I was in surf shape but it must be the age…

October looks really good for surf in the Caribbean.
I surfed an uncrowded spot with my kids on Sunday afternoon, surfed **** with Julie and Cassie- head high and powerful, top of their limit. They did great, we all got worked 😆 Try and make it down if you can…

37 thoughts on “Hurricane Sam Swell in Puerto Rico 2021 Round 1

  1. JDH

    MW, when was the last time you were able to head east my son? That drive isn’t getting any better. All the way through Lakeland now to Kissimmee is a standstill crawl during the week until you can bust the right on 528 or if you’re headed up to Volusia you still have to drive through the Orlando DT hell and Up through Seminole. So much worse than when I first started driving it. It’d be so much harder on the Lopez parents getting the boys over so much.

  2. admin Post author

    i have not done that drive in probably 11 or 12 years for a swell- what about 3 in the morning?

    been watching the GFS so anxiously as we come up on 4 years since Marias 9/20- the GFS has a storm in the area in 1 week, the EURO follows Larrry, Go EURO Larry… anyways Im up early tomorrow going to home depot to get some supplies I need

  3. DW

    “the world is turning, I hope it don’t turn away” – Neil Young “on the Beach” circa ’73, 74? Ck it out cool tune.

    Having made that drive for damn near 50 years (I was a grommet passenger in the beginning) I can tell you it only gets worse every year. I-4 corridor is shot to hell. Choose your route 60, 192, 417, 528, I4 to 44…cross state travel is a pure horror story now. MW is right that leaving between 4 and 5 makes for smoother sailing but the same day return trip is a nightmare. What happens when a state’s population increase by 1,000 rubes a day due to unbridled growth. Welcome to Fla-duh, Florida Man welcomes you!

  4. JDH

    DW, you ain’t kidding. I’ve tried every route there is and they are all bad and I’ve kicked myself in the rear end by making a longer trip than if I had just sat through the I-4 misery. I hit a stretch years ago where everytime on the way home there’d be an accident. How good we had it and we didn’t even realize it compared to now…
    Yeah MW, after Maria you’ll never forget and that anxiety every year won’t ever go away.
    I’ve met so many Boriquas who’ve moved to central Florida after maria. Over 100k+ I believe it is.

  5. admin Post author

    more than that JDH- I think like over 200K left after Maria. Since I moved here 10 years ago- 700K people have left Puerto Rico whereas 3 million plus people from all over have moved to Florida.

    Most of the people who stayed here in PR surf hahahaha. Larry was super crowded, everyone starved from lack of waves. Maybe it was bc I was surfing Domes with my kids, seems to be the only place they like to surf.

    If you google map Pinellas to New Smyrna what’s the time? Is it accurate with traffic?

  6. Rob

    Regarding the drive to the EC – Me and TC made it over in 2 hours flat last Friday. Left at 5:45 am at from the normal meet up spot. We even stopped once – doing the normal speed otherwise too. Did we get lucky? Last time I took the old 275 to I-4 to 192 route though it was a little over 3 hours. Where it slows down (assuming no accidents) is Poinciana all the way to where the commercial ends if you are taking the “back way” … can’t imagine what the drive to WPB is like now for the rare Reef Road strike. I used to do 75 to 70 to SR 710 fairly regularly.

  7. JDH

    That’s quite a substantial loss of population…
    Surfing with the kids is probably fun regardless of where you’re at. Super cool to see your girls out there and loving it.
    Google maps says a little over 3 hrs from TI. I don’t think Google maps ever accounts for traffic but 3 hours is a really good time. I forget what storm it was in 2016 that I drove to nsb and my back was so bad I couldn’t even paddle out. Just watched big sets roll in at Flagler Ave. I haven’t headed over since. Old guy can’t take the driving and hopping right out into waves anymore.

  8. admin Post author

    definitely seems to be less traffic esp at rush times, i love surfing with my kids but I get anxious when they are getting snaked and not catching waves… there are plenty of other spots but they are not interested in my weirdo spots LOL, still feel super blessed and happy for the good sessions we have

    hope your back feels better

    Rob wish I was with you and TC for that one!!

  9. admin Post author

    “Islands in the Caribbean, particularly the small islands not large enough to produce their own thunderstorms, rely on weak tropical waves to bring needed rainfall and a break from the heat. The system dubbed 95L could provide just that early next week, provided the system does not hit as a potent tropical storm or hurricane” AccuWeather

  10. Tcur

    GPS is about 3 hours from st pete to Smyrna. Usually not far off if you get by Orlando before rush hour. I use the 417 when heading to CFL. Lived in Tampa for a little after graduating USF and the less than 2 hour coast runs were so nice

  11. admin Post author

    he swings and hits it deep for a single…. thanks for the report Cde- glad you got some…

    speaking of baseball whats up with the Rays? are they going to be ok? is it just injuries? limited info down here… give me an update Rob or anybody

    i got up super early this am and I was surfing by myself near a river mouth in Aguada when a huge fish surfaced outside either a dolphin or a shark, happened so fast and did not get a good look… i got spooked and left surfed again in Rincon

  12. Ericito

    I got spooked by a shark one time at the playground/ river mouth in south aguadilla bay one time. I even have a pic of the shark somewhere!

    Yesterday and today were about the same! Fun waves! This damn high tide tho lol. Surfed all day by myself yesterday and with the grom this morn

  13. Rob

    Rays are in first place Micah and are on target to not only win the division, but also to get to 100 wins. And I think that it’s a first for them should they do it. They had a walk off win last night in the 10th. That was needed because they faltered in a few recent games. The magic number for playoffs is 6 I believe.

  14. DW

    Ya’ll see the walk off homer Friday night by Seminole HS’s own Brett Phillips? How awesome.

    Rob, 2 hours from a meet up spot to EC. Thinking that spot is the Mango truck stop where I meet my Tampa surf buddies for day trips.

    Alert to all tax paying citizens. If in the Sunset Bch TI area beware of the devious TIPD officer Hildebrand. Yesterday morning I parked in the pay lot for a quick check of the tiny surf, was gone all of 5 minutes and came back to my truck as this @$$clown was slapping a $60 fine on my windshield. I asked for an exception but he just laughed said tough luck and drove off. Guy’s a total d**k. I respect law enforcement but since my tax dollars in part help pay their salaries I’m seriously considering a formal complaint to the TIPD about his militant ticketing activities. Anybody else having a similar experience?

  15. admin Post author

    thanks for the update on the Rays-

    I went on youtube and watched the highlights of the 10th inning walk off- got psyched just watching the highlights imagine being there in person -electric had no idea Brett was from my high school! too cool

    that was definitely a 7′ Caribbean reef shark leaving the rivermouth area I saw yesterday at BC’s- spooky… I know they are not aggressive but I was out there by myself hahahaha

    DW that sucks!!! OMG you should complain… not fair…

    I think Ericito’s small wave spot is farther south than that, he’s been surfing little waves every day…

    me too down here got some fun sp wall after the shark incident, Domes by myself Friday am on the 9’6. the swell has been NNE .7ft(yes thats point 7) at 15seconds from a storm near Greeenland!!! Knee high but perfect. Yesterday at the wall was 1ft at 14 seconds=2ft faces and for a GC guy- lots of fun surf. Today it looked smaller so I didnt go, then I saw a stomach high LP set 1 every 10 minutes then flat, so crazy….

    get out and enjoy the WX hd- it was super nice here yesterday too, felt like February

    Next time I come to Florida lets all meet in Thonotosassa and cruise to the EC 🙂

  16. Austin

    Hey Micah, just booked flights for the end of December for PR. This will be my first trip down. Was hoping to get some info from you where to stay, surf, food, etc.

  17. Fuggin

    I did find some surprisingly fun LB waves early this morning. 1-2ft runners dry docking the 10’0 cause my dumb ass never bails. Bring on the fronts!

  18. Pat

    Eastside looks interesting saturday morning with 3ft short period NE windswell combined with a 1ft long period groundswell from the south. Windy gfs claims offshores all day.

  19. D-Bot

    I could talk mids/eggs all day long. Way different than the clumsy funboards of the past. (Do you remember the ridiculous rocker on those monstrosities?)
    Personally I feel that a 7’6 egg is all you really need, whether its PR up to a foot OH or knee high GC slop. I disagree with you Micah that a 7′ board is hard here. Currently a large majority figured out that longboards are a better choice for the GC. The problem is, these folks are learning, and/or not utilizing the longboard correctly (cross stepping,noserides etc…) This group would benefit from riding mids way more since they are easier to control, catch waves just as-easily and handle late drops or pitchy waves much more than a heavy airplane wing. And the more experienced surfers would up their wave count and number of days surfed.

  20. Rob

    I transitioned to riding mid-lengths in the early 2000’s. The decision was largely due to the fact that I had previously been riding a short board, but I was noticing that my wave count was down – especially on smaller days here on the Gulf – so the decision came out of practicality initially.

    But as time went on, I found myself getting more comfortable in bigger surf too. So instead of packing two boards for trips out of the country, to the east coast, or just bigger days on the Gulf – I just started riding a mid-length exclusively.

    The biggest learning curve, in fact, with more foam is learning how to duck dive with something with more foam, but all in all, they are the most practical board for here on the Gulf. There’s nothing flashy about surfing them, but if you can manage more waves and a few solid turns – it’s a huge win for your surfing. You’ll go home happier with more waves.

  21. JDH

    ^Thanks MW. Because of the back issue riding a bigger board helps. I’ve bought different boards throughout the years and spent money I wish I didn’t but one of the best boards for standard 6-7 seconds @5ft onshore, is this 5′ 8″ floaty retro fish shaped by Eric Nalpas. It catches everything, has pretty good paddle speed and makes decent tight turns. Not good in steep surf but for the me it gets me the most out of every wave. I rode it during the Dean swell in north redington and it was one of the most memorable sessions I’ve had.
    I also bust out the boogie on occasion and get those views looking up or down the coast out of the barrel. Bottom line is knowing what to expect when heading out and having as much fun as I can while soaking up the blessing it is just to be out there.

  22. Pat

    terrible sloppy forecast for the sam swell here next week. Do you think you guys will score down there in the islands? I cant imagine the feeling you have right now with major swell coming to your backyard.

  23. admin Post author

    thnks Pat it takes forever to get here- right now Sam is hiding below the islands so nothing yet maybe in like 5 days but we still have some 2-3ft waves from Odette

  24. Pat

    Times like these i love checking reports in the morning from all over the world where its firing. I cant wait for coldfronts and maybe one last storm, but for now its best to forget about the next surf event here and focus on going someplace else. The crowds looked insane last night down there haha so many places to choose from. Surfline and costco must have an agreement together to unleash hell on the sport. But i thought costco stopped making those boards? Not worth the drive east from here, but definitely worth the paddle out if you live there.

  25. Ericito

    Wah wah wah. Id even settle for a fun grom wave. Nada surf nada waves. Cant wait for winter to jump up!

  26. JDH

    How is it being a Father while out in solid powerful surf with your daughters? Much to pay attention to..

  27. admin Post author

    great question JDH, we had a sketchy situation today and last night(more later)… it’s been so solid, at the top of their limits. I focus on them and stay close to them, if I see them going to gt worked on the inside I haul in there quickly and help them get out. they love it but I have to keep a close eye on them -means Im out there for them 🙂 thanks for asking… Cory is a great example!

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