Quiksilver Pro New York: Another Hurricane on the Horizon

Stu Nettle
Swellnet Analysis

OK, stop. Now take a breath...

While you're there take another one, because as the circus rolls from Tahiti to New York surf fans are gonna need it. Forward word has returned from the Big Apple and the drama has already begun.

First of all, Hurricane Irene tore up the US East Coast causing death and destruction all the way. Although it had been downgraded to a tropical storm as it passed NY the associated deluge swamped the contest site at Long Beach.

Quiksilver today announced all festival activities – BMX, skate and fashion shows – will be cancelled at the contest site. Lawyers would refer to this weather event as a force majeur – a superior force – and all liability would be waived. While those with an eye on the big fella upstairs – such as US Presidential candidate, Michele Bachman - would explain it as an Act of God.

We're not believers here at Swellnet but if it was He who scrapped the 'lifestyle' activities at the Quiksilver Pro New York then we're ready to start listening.

So with all the extraneous activities washed away we're set to have a stripped down surf contest. However, just as the surf is settling down from Hurricane Irene yet another spinner is winding up in the East Coast storm track.

Tropical Depression 12 is currently deepening south-west of Cape Verde Islands off the West Coast of Africa. The storm is forecast to track west towards the Caribbean during this week, reaching Hurricane status by Thursday. The Hurricane will be called Katia, which is the replacement name for Katrina, which was removed from the US Hurricane naming list after the tragic events of 2005. Read into that whatever you will...

Katia is forecast to be steered north-west and track slowly towards the American mainland, directly through New York's south-eastern swell window, while continuing to strengthen. It's still too far out to tell if Katia will directly impact New York although the swell from the storm is forecast to hit the contest site.

Quiksilver has been heavily criticised for choosing Long Beach - a swell-starved and inconsistent stretch of coast. The irony now is that the Quik Pro NY may get too much swell for the contest.

Beginning Monday the 5th (New York Time) increasing levels of south-east groundswell should start arriving, becoming large into the middle of the week. The big question is whether Long Beach will handle the size of the swell or not. Bearing in mind that the contest site is a beachbreak the answer to that question lies in the quality of the local sandbanks.



beavis's picture
beavis's picture
beavis Tuesday, 30 Aug 2011 at 5:02am

Would be interesting to see what is left of the 'local sandbanks' post hurricane Irene?

z-man's picture
z-man's picture
z-man Tuesday, 30 Aug 2011 at 2:39pm

How ironic if conditions were excellent at Long Beach?

The world would be stood on it's head!

the-roller's picture
the-roller's picture
the-roller Tuesday, 30 Aug 2011 at 4:57pm

Even with Quik's scaled down event, who ever is going to NYC better hire Joe for security back-up.


donweather's picture
donweather's picture
donweather Wednesday, 31 Aug 2011 at 3:31am

Bugger me, how's the forecast track on the current GFS model. One couldn't ask for a better track of a compact tropical cyclone. Looks to work on an active sea state for it's entire journey.

And we all know how poorly wave models under-predict swell heights from these compact fetches also!!!

Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig Wednesday, 31 Aug 2011 at 4:35am

It's looking like the 'perfect storm' ay Don!

As you noted, its forecast to slowly but steadily move on a north-west track towards the US East Coast, at the same speed as the swell its generating, resulting in a 'captured fetch' scenario.

Looking at the latest guidance, this think looks to be monstrous, reaching at least Cat 3, and more than likely Cat 4.

It looks like the swell from Katia will become oversized and too big from about Wednesday the 5th (NY time) onwards!

I wonder if they'll try and run the comp in the first 5 days prior??

donweather's picture
donweather's picture
donweather Wednesday, 31 Aug 2011 at 10:43am

Looking at the long range EC (and even GFS is progging something similar) two low pressure systems look to converge on NY towards the end of next week.....could this be the super storm?

I'd be running the event before this comes to fruition and getting the feck outta there before then!!!

donweather's picture
donweather's picture
donweather Wednesday, 31 Aug 2011 at 10:40pm

So does anyone know what size Long Beach can handle?

Is the event mobile and if so, are there other locations nearby that can handle solid long period groundswells?

jonesurfer's picture
jonesurfer's picture
jonesurfer Thursday, 1 Sep 2011 at 2:12am

Having grown up in the region, I'd say Long Beach can easily handle most east coast swells given that there still are sandbanks (check out: http://www.surfrhythm.com/?p=1568). If it is too big, just down the road are a series of groins that light up in solid surf. They rarely get overpowered but again the caveat is whether or not Irene ripped all the sand away.

You have to remember that there exists 100's kms of continental shelf that the swell has to travel over before reaching these beaches, so even the largest swells lose a lot of size before hitting the beach. The east end (i.e. Montauk) will often be 10 ft+ in hurricanes while Long Beach is 4 ft.

donweather's picture
donweather's picture
donweather Monday, 5 Sep 2011 at 2:25am

Looks like local winds might determine how this comp plays out over the coming days.