Classic GC Spots Remembered plus 1985 Elena Gulf Surf Story

Surf Stories

This was a really good day there in the late 00’s.
photo: M Dub.

Stop in the Compound soon, these are magic!!

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

Wed 6am WFL: The GFS is picking up strongly on the wave coming off Africa. A high is supposed to drive it into the Caribbean. A week out another high moves down from Canada pushing the low into the NW Caribbean and eventually the GOMEX at the beginning of October. It’s wack bc it’s so far out but it makes sense. Praying it stays south of the islands. In the short term a low will from off J ville, check the EC forecast. N winds will happen Saturday but maybe just a WFL 1ft N line. Thats the WX news this am… 73/86 on Saturday, sign of things to come…
Post Dredge photos:

This was a really good day there in the late 00’s.
photo: M Dub.

Thanks to MT for the epic 80’s WFL surf photos, more coming tomorrow…

Wednesday 6am WFL: The gulf is stuck on the sidelines as the ATL pumps. No WX expected for the gulf, and we may see flatness for the next 10 days… Check the EC forecast. Somebody asked me to post pics of the best WFL spot back in the day. This spot was just super lined up bc of the groins. I’ve surfed all over the world and feel confident saying this wave was the best on the gulf when it was working which was pretty much every cold front back in the day… Any one else have pics of this wave before 1990? I had some better pics somewhere but here are the ones I could find.

There was this winter time ESA contest at Turtle Beach in 1987 or 88 I think and the waves were so good. Like 2-4ft and glassy A frames for a surf contest! We stayed all day. On the drive back to Seminole we followed the coastline up to LBK and scored these waves before dark. One of those epic GC days. I did not know it then but it must have been a nice west swell from a low pressure bc it was solid swell all day.

Film photo from 1988 LBK before the groins were taken out. This was the bottom last section of a world class wave on the gulf back in the day. This was a very long perfect point break that barreled at the top and then fired for 100 yards on the good days. Photo: J Stevens.

This is Joey underneath the pink house on LBK 1987.

NW PR Wednesday:
It’s huge today, winds still have some west in them which really messed up everything yesterday. Usually if it blow south at 20-30 it will drop the swella bit…. I hope so, no me gusta 10ft closeouts! Yesterday I drove thru Aguada and it was almost fun, chest to head high but west winds and choppy, then I heard it got fun later…

Mid 80’s IRB and some broken pier to watch out for post Elena. Piers used to be the place where gulf surfers always surfed, maybe still in other parts of the gulf but WFL pier surf has not been the same since 1985.

Tuesday WFL Elena Surf Story Updater 7am: I was hoping a low would form in the gulf early next week and it may happen but the low is really weak and the models insist on only 10knt winds so no waves in the future forecast yet. Surf story- stop me if you’ve heard this 1 before but 1985 was the best year for WFL hurricane surf. Elena was the 3rd hurricane swell that summer(2 more after her). She hit on Labor day weekend. The swell was really good. I rode my bike the less than 2 miles to Madeira Beach of all places and got 2 days of swell from Elena before she got too close and they closed the beaches. I was new to surfing but Elena had such good swell I learned to turn right and go down the line on those beautiful groundswells. The beach was closed for the next the 3 days as Elena stalled and flooded TB and wreaked havoc. Trees fell, piers fell and we had sustained 70 knt winds for a couple days. All the WFL piers pretty much fell: The iconic IRB pier crashed, the Central Ave pier behind that. The Rendington Long pier and both Indian Shores twin piers where I learned to surf came tumbling down. The Wall in Indian Shores became the breakwater after Elena- Elena changed everything. They really started renourishing the beaches regularly after that(5 years later they renourished the north end of Longboat Key and ruined WFL’s best surf spot). So Elena changed everything and besides surfing some tiny leftovers on the Tuesday after the storm I did not surf again that September bc Elena had just left a void in the WX behind her, a weak high pressure and a flat spell… This post Idalia WX pattern now is reminding me of 1985. I hope we don’t go all month w/o waves.

This was the Bay Areas closest call to a natural disaster. Hurricane Elena 1985 we surfed before and after this storm whether the cops said we could or not.

Representing WFL in Michigan in 1978- Football take: This is me with the Bucco Bruce shirt(dad just found this one). We were huge Dolphin(Csonka) fans till 76′ when the Bucs originated- Doug Williams was our hero. At the time of the photo above Doug had a broken jaw and was out for the year. The next year they missed the Super Bowl by 1 game. That was followed by 20 years of the worst football ever. Current take: When I moved to the Caribbean I successfully got the NFL out of my life for 10 years and that was good. My Sundays were much happier without football. Now I’m trying to cut football out again but I’ll probably watch the game Thursday night, I got buddies here from Rochester, NY… At Least one of us will be happy. As soon as the Bucs got Brady I came back to football and TC called the 21′ Super Bowl win 5 months before it happened… Back to surfing tomorrow…

Monday WFL 9:00am Updated Below…

My old surf spot… You probably heard this one before: There was a internet surfing msg board around 1999 and someone said this spot was good(they did not name it I had to figure it out) and I was looking for an alt spot to the crowded places I had been surfing so I started hunting this spot. Some notes: 1. I got one of my longest tubes ever here, I was in a nice section up at Dos Pinos and on the way out another long section fell and I had enough speed to make both… 2. I used to see photos of sharks caught the same day I surfed this spot posted on the bulletin board. I may have gotten bumped but I never saw them but I know they are there. 3. One crazy tube section is this double up, drop down right barrel off the take-off that you have to exit right before hitting the pilon(you can almost see it in the pic above the downhill right towards the pilon). 4. I used to surf this spot on off times- Like many spots, it was best day after cold front but it worked day of. It would look like poo but be really chunky and powerful. Anyways, I love this pic of TC on the peak and this pic brings back lots of good memories. Stop reading here(see pics below): Not trying to rub it in but the best thing about living in the Caribbean is the waves are like this all the time with prettier water 🙂

Owen Weaver, Little skate bowl.

13 thoughts on “Classic GC Spots Remembered plus 1985 Elena Gulf Surf Story

  1. Nelson

    Can’t say how the bucs are gonna do but the waves today were still fun on a longboard. It was really consistent and some waist plus sets. Oh and no wind till like 3 pm.

    1. admin Post author

      TB sports- what a great weekend I thought there were 4 plays yesterday I was stoked on- the batted pass by Davis III, the 57 yrd knuckle ball, the run on 3rd down and the Godwin catch to seal the deal. Mayfield did great, lots of guts and spirit, not sure…. why did everyone else give up on him?
      Rowdies did great Saturday night too.. Cal is on fire!!

  2. Tcure

    That bat looks sick! I tried multiple times 2 or 3 years ago to get a custom from Brian and couldn’t get him to start one. Miss having BAT in FL

  3. David B Williams

    I attended the Rowdies game Saturday for the 1st time. Al Lang field is really nice. Bucs didn’t lose which is all you can ask of them. BYW there’s another team in TB, the Rays that have one of the best records in BB and won both their weekend game…just sayin’ 🙂
    Jags and Fins also won their 1st games , so good NFL start for Fla.

  4. Ericito

    BAT was the quintessential gulf board/ shaper growing up in st pete. My first couple of boards were all BATS. I saw a mini sims for sale by hin a couple years ago but it got nabbed quick. Whos got it lol???

    On another note, any pics of LBK back when it was the crown jewel?

  5. Fuggin

    LBK still has its moments if you know when/where to look, good luck with parking though! I went East near Satellite this am and it was pretty fun. Good wind until about 10 as the swell from Lee was pulsing and building. Gotta love those 25 wave 6-8ft closeout sets! I found some corners and got smoked plenty lol good times!

  6. hd

    went east for dp this morning to try n get a few big ones. was set after set w brief lulls and wonky / wobbly with a few gems that you had to be in perfect spot to catch but i got one good one and a few other rides. wasnt worth the effort anymore imo after two hours having seen no real improvement so i charged the shorebreak skimmin which made up for it. hadnt surfed in nearly two months and this has been the slowest surf year for me personally since i moved here 8 yrs ago so no real expectations. got a good new gubment job tho and a new non flood zone studio so life is good nonetheless. hopefully close the year out w more surfing.

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