This past week I was able to escape the icy grip old man winter has on the midwest and head south to the Gulf of Mexico. For the second time in 3 years I went to Dauphin Island, which is off the coast of Alabama. It’s a very chill spot this time of year and most of the year for that matter, and right now the temps are in the 60’s with water in the 50’s, so not too bad. When I went before in 2012, I had much better wind and more consistent. Talking with a local surfer down there, the harsh winter is affecting their wind and swell too this winter because the jet stream is buckling so far down south. When fronts move through, wind is blowing out of the north instead of from a southern direction from the Gulf. Needless to say, I did not have as good of conditions this year as in 2012. I did get out riding twice though, which was cool since it has been a few months now.
The first riding session was a NE wind around 15 to 17 knots with some gusts up around 20 I’d say. Since it was NE wind I had to go on the north side of the island which is called the sound and also part of the intercoastal waterway. The nice thing about this side is that it stays knee to waste deep out a couple hundred yards. However, the beach is small and there are lots of docks and structures along here to create hazards. The session lasted for about an hour and I got some air time and to was able to throw down some backrolls and frontrolls. The rust from not riding in so long was came right off.
The second session was a light SE wind later in the week when I was getting desperate to ride on the Gulf side. I probably had somewhere around 10 to 13 knots, so it was just enough to get up and ride out a little ways and back but not be able to stay upwind. Did a couple of short downwinders with the walk of shame. There were some nice sandbars out in the water so I would imagine it could be a lot of fun there with good wind and waves. The beach on the Gulf side is also nice and big, open and sandy.
Aside from a SUP I rented, that was it for the week on the water. Better than nothing. As you can see in the map I have labeled the sound side as the “Flats” and I also want to point out on the map that where it says Pelican Bay is another great spot to ride. That is where I did all of my riding in 2012 and I wanted to go there again this year if I had more opportunities. I actually made a post about that back then too. First trip to Dauphin Island. This year I also got to know the local surf shop a little and found out they have a facebook page with a surf report and picture every morning.
The first picture is from the north side and the rest are from the Gulf side.