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Gustav_A2008244_1645_1km copyMy son and his friends love to surf.

The only problem: There is no surf on the west coast of Florida.

Except during a hurricane.

So last weekend, these hardy, indefatigable boys were absolutely determined to surf the tattered remains of Fay. As an old-time surfer, I went with them, more out of concern for them than any great interest in getting pummeled by storm surf.

It was fun, but my reward for three hours in the water was the worst sunburn I’ve ever had. Yes, I know the rule about the danger of being burned when it’s overcast, but you’re really not thinking of sunburn when there’s a frigging hurricane. I spent most of the week groaning and moaning pathetically.

So there goes that grand adventure story.

Sunday, Hurricane Gustav was barreling up the Gulf. So, off we went to surf those waves. Great conditions, with magnificent tubes, and that wonderful backspray of atomized salt water you only get in a strong offshore wind.

And now, my reward? Massive jellyfish stings. What the heck are jellyfish doing in our parts? Apparently they were flung over here from the 35–foot waves deep in the middle of the Gulf, where Gustav was churning away. LocalMotionSurferGoesHorizontal copy


I think it’s time to sit it out from now on.

At least, until the next hurricane.

Alex Eckelberry
(And on a more serious note, one can only surf the outer fringes of a big storm with even a vague notion of relative safety, and even then, real caution is required. We also always surf near a lifeguard just for added safety. Finally, surfing in a hurricane is pure suicide and should never, ever be done.)