Saturday, September 25, 2004

The Brighter Side of Hurricanes

The hurricanes afflicting the Boring Coast have recently attracted a great deal of attention, and for good reason. Those hurricanes threaten terrible losses to lives and property. Without discounting their salient costs, however, I’d like to point out that we on the Fun Coast feel the effects of hurricanes, too—and that we often love it.

As explained here, the eighteen or so hurricanes to hit the Eastern Pacific each year seldom do much damage. They usually drift to the west, out to sea, where they harmlessly dissipate. We have no record of any of them coming ashore in California, though they sometimes do strike Mexico’s comparatively lightly populated western shore.

So what’s the upside of a hurricane hereabouts? Surf. Great surf. Great long swells of head-high and better surf.

But wait, it gets better! Hurricane season falls during the best time of year to surf in SoCal. The June Gloom has long disappeared, the water has finally warmed up, the summer tourists have left, and the kids have gone back to school. Thanks to a hurricane, a very fortunate surfer (see, e.g., me) might thus find himself standing on a warm, sunny, Orange County beach staring agog as macking sets pump through a nearly empty line-up. Rest assured, though, that he won’t (and didn’t) stand long; he will (and did) grab his board and run, grinning, to the water.

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