Hurricane Larry US: 'Perfect Waves in Our Backyard'

Jason Lock

by on

Updated 4d ago

It's not often that such a profound and dominant statement is made about your local. But for Arthur Shim (whose IG account deserves your double taps) it's the sentiment left after witnessing the run of swell that Hurricane Larry sent reeling into the east coast of the US.

Larry was, by far, the best swell for the US east coast this year. Heck, maybe even in the past few years. Sure, there's an argument that swells like this are a dime-a-dozen around this time of year, but there was something more in Larry, multiple locales lighting up all at once. Not just good, but epic for where they are.

Forecast: Hurricane OBX

Rockaway, as you can see from the foreground, the sense of scale is kinda gnarly. Photographer Amanda Prifti was on the ground.

Rockaway, as you can see from the foreground, the sense of scale is kinda gnarly. Photographer Amanda Prifti was on the ground.

© 2021 - Amanda Prifti

Then there's the feeling that Larry's track is kind of special too. As you can see throughout, the US east coast got it good, and now, Larry's about to unload on the other side of the Atlantic. Not as big and not as powerful or full of grit – but Larry'll be the storm to break a long-standing south west UK wave drought and deliver pumping surf to other parts of Europe too.

© 2021 - Amanda Prifti

So, by all accounts, the Larry train is going to keep on going.

Anyway back to the east coast: “Finding a wave during long period hurricane swells is always a mission around here,” says lensman Callaway Ramsey, who eventually managed to find an incredible setup in the OBX.

“Wild to see that much energy on this side of the Atlantic,” says perennial east coast swell chaser Rob Kelly. “Fun weekend chasing swell and living the stories that we’ll probably tell our grand kids one day.”

Conditions were a little funky for the morning in Long Island, photographer Brian Shannon relayed to MSW. But it soon cleaned up for one of the better days of the year so far.

© 2021 - Brian Shannon

But it was some 70-miles north east, in Montauk, that really stood out. As photographer Joe O'Connor describes it: “Knowing that this was a long period swell that my home base wouldn’t handle as good as Montauk, I set out at 4am to be out there for first light.

"If you lived on Long Island this was the move. I think Larry was coming in around 16 seconds. Montauk point-type breaks and outer reefs pick this up much better. Just grateful to be part of a special day out there. Not sure we will see another for quite some time."

An eye up high from Joe O'C in Montauk.

An eye up high from Joe O'C in Montauk.

© 2021 - Joe O'Connor

More Monatauk.

More Monatauk.

© 2021 - Joe O'Connor

Speaking about the forecast, MSW forecaster Tony Butt said: "The westerly movement of the system as it approached the East Coast of the US, combined with the large area of hurricane-force winds, generated a large, long-period pulse of swell. The storm itself arced around to the northeast a considerable distance from the coast, leaving relatively clean local conditions.

© 2021 - Joe O'Connor

"Around Cape Hatteras, for example, the swell arrived late on Tuesday September 7, and continued to pump until Saturday, peaking at around six feet, with light to moderate winds from the southeast veering around to the north.

© 2021 - Joe O'Connor

"Further north around New England, the swell hit on Wednesday 8th, with wave heights around four feet and periods up to 16 secs, continuing through Thursday, further increasing on Friday to six feet or so, before ramping down over the weekend. A small low near the coast generated some fresh southerly winds at first, which veered northeast by Friday.

"Up in Nova Scotia, wave heights were bigger but conditions were more ragged, with the swell lasting from Wednesday until Saturday and strong southerly winds at first, turning easterly later."

© 2021 - Joe O'Connor

And yeah, we'll leave this one wrapped up with Arthur Shim's quote: "I've travelled far and wide, all over the world searching for perfect waves. Little did I know they were in my backyard."

© 2021 - Arthur Shim

© 2021 - Arthur Shim

That old saying, perspective is everything. One person, checking phone (probably the MSW forecast) and the other, eyes down the line at what they could have had,

That old saying, perspective is everything. One person, checking phone (probably the MSW forecast) and the other, eyes down the line at what they could have had,

© 2021 - Arthur Shim

© 2021 - Brian Shannon

© 2021 - Brian Shannon

Lone surfer about to dig into the Rockaway express.

Lone surfer about to dig into the Rockaway express.

© 2021 - Amanda Prifti

The fruits of labour, again, at Rockaway...

The fruits of labour, again, at Rockaway...

© 2021 - Amanda Prifti

© 2021 - Brian Shannon

© 2021 - Brian Shannon

© 2021 - Arthur Shim

© 2021 - Brian Shannon