Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Hurricane season? Nah, surfing season in Florida

Ready, now go

There is nothing a surfer hates more than hearing the phrase, "You should have been here yesterday."

That is why it pays to be informed.

"You need to stay on top of the storms, track their progress," said Skip Maxwell, owner of the Double Barrel Surf Shop in Clearwater. "You have to be religious about it. Highlight your favorite Web sites. Learn to read the satellite maps. Check out the weather buoys."

Maxwell, a former Clearwater Beach lifeguard, has spent 20 years learning to read weather and waves. Here are some of his favorite web sites: "Enough said." "Good Gulf forecast." "Caribbean satellite images." "Good Gulf buoy information." "Real time information from around the state." "We update our reports several times a day."

Skip's hurricane survival tips

• Bring a skateboard to mess around the parking lot while waiting for the swell.

• Find a good hiding spot for your car keys while you are surfing.

• Bring a backup board and leash … just in case.

• Have surfboard wax to share with your new friend in the parking lot.

• Keep stickers, duct tape or Suncure for quick ding repair.

• Bring quarters for the parking meters.

• His music: Pennywise, Jack Johnson, Sinatra.

• Have a clever excuse for your boss, spouse or significant other for when you get home late.

• Bring a sleeping bag if you're traveling out of your area. … Can you say Panhandle?

• And of course, keep a smile and a good attitude. Surfing is about having fun and being stoked.

Where to go

Gulf Coast

1. Sand Key Park, Clearwater

2. Sunset Beach, Treasure Island

3. Twin Piers, Bradenton Beach

4. Siesta Key, Sarasota

5. Naples Pier

East Coast

1. Jacksonville Beach Pier

2. Cocoa Beach Pier

3. New Smyrna Beach

4. Sebastian Inlet

5. Reef Road, Palm Beach


Equipment check

Surfboards come in many shapes and sizes, and like fishing rods, one model won't do it all. Hurricane waves tend to be fast, power­ful and steep, which means you will need a board that is versatile and easy to maneuver.

While traditional longboards — the surfing sticks featured in the original Endless Summer movie — have undergone something of a renaissance, short boards are still the wave-riding vehicle of choice for American youth.

But the "fish," a stumpy, blunt-nosed board introduced by San Diego kneeboarder Steve Lis in 1967, offers the best of both worlds. It is beefy enough to float a 40-year-old father of two, yet short enough to please a 99-pound grommet going through Xbox withdrawal.

Brian A. Tudor, one of the hottest shapers on the eastern seaboard, honed his craft in his parents' Largo garage. Now 35 with a shop in Melbourne, Tudor's B.A.T. designs are the boards of choice for storm-seeking surfers. Check out his work at

The start of hurricane season is days away but don't worry about stocking up on batteries, blue tarps and bottled water. Dust off your surfboard, check for cracks and dings, 'cause it's time to catch some waves.

Dial up the Weather Channel. Set your body clock to the Tropical Update. Form a plan of action for when that first low pressure system starts swirling off the coast of Africa.

Storms that run parallel to the coast usually produce the best surf. The average swell travels about 25 miles an hour, so if a storm is 500 miles offshore, you have 20 hours to get ready.

Hurricane season? Nah, surfing season in Florida 05/29/08 [Last modified: Monday, June 2, 2008 4:23pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Tim Beckham jumps into right fielder Steven Souza Jr.'s arms after his three-run home run in the second inning.
  2. Want elite college football athletes? Recruit Tampa Bay


    Now that college football watch list season is over (I think), here's one takeaway you probably already knew: Tampa Bay produces a lot of great athletes.

    Robinson High produuct Byron Pringle has gone from this performance in a high school all-star game to all-Big 12 at Kansas State.
  3. 'Ready to win, and win big:' Dick Vitale sees Bucs going 10-6


    ESPN's Dick Vitale, whose love and optimism for Tampa Bay sports teams goes far beyond basketball, has high hopes for the Bucs in 2017.

    ESPN's Dick Vitale, shown at One Buc Place last year when he announced a Bucs draft pick, has high hopes for Tampa Bay this fall, predicting a 10-6 record for the Bucs.
  4. Rays beat Orioles, but tough stretch looms that could change their plans (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Tuesday was a step back in the right direction for the Rays, who halted a season-high five-game losing streak by hanging on — and we mean that pretty much literally — for a 5-4 win over the Orioles.

    The Rays’ Tim Beckham celebrates with Mallex Smith after hitting a three-run homer in the second inning for a 5-0 lead.
  5. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Tuesday's Rays-Orioles game

    The Heater

    Rookie RHP Jake Faria had his lucky rubber duck — OG, the original one he has had since high school — with him, and the Rays had nothing to worry about as he put his rocky Wednesday outing well behind him, working into the eighth while scattering seven hits.