Words by John Streit. Photos by Mickey McCarthy, Eddie Compo, Billy Ficke, Jessiah Rudolph, David Drewry, Brian Bassett, John Coulson & Jordan Bartholomew. 

Lack of sunshine and cold temperatures aside, December is one of my favorite months of the year in surfing. The atmosphere of the northern hemisphere gets churned up, sending pulses of low pressure down from the upper lattitudes that bring winter’s chill and a steady diet of swell should the winds be in our favor. At the same time, December is the time for the dedicated, year-round surfers to enjoy the fruits of their coldwater sacrifices. Break out your step-up surfboards and wetsuits and hunker down for the colder months ahead. Historically, the frequency of swell-producing storms begins to increase during this closing month of the year and remains consistent through the winter.

This swell event lit up nearly the entire East Coast, as a massive fetch of east-northeasterly wind filled in the western edge of the North Atlantic for more than a thousand miles out to sea. The result was a steady march of powerful swell that resulted in heavy beach erosion for the Outer Banks, with Highway 12 experiencing wash-overs at S-Turns in Rodanthe and the Hotels area of Buxton. As the swell began to ease, the winds turned more favorable for southeast-facing beaches like Ocean City, Md. and Buxton on Wednesday, Dec. 10. Join us as we take a day trip from the Delmarva Peninsula, into the Chesapeake Bay and down the Outer Banks to Cape Hatteras.

Virginia Beach photographer Eddie Compo and his fellow Wildlyfe crewmates converged at Ocean City, Md. on Wednesday, Dec. 10. Photo: Compo (The Wildlyfe).
Raven Lundy driving deep in the barrel and very close to the beach.Photo: Compo (The Wildlyfe).
Drew Meredith hooks it under the lip of this menacing peak. Photo: Compo (The Wildlyfe).
Wide open on a thick, frothy one; Drew Meredith stylin' in a heavy spot. Photo: Compo (The Wildlyfe).
Delmarva stalwart Colin Herlihy sizes up a runner close to home. Photo: Compo (The Wildlyfe).
Raven Lundy trims into a big Ocean City drainer. 1 of 2. Photo: Compo (The Wildlyfe).
Raven Lundy, 2 of 2. Photo: Compo (The Wildlyfe).
Swells of the magnitude of our most recent nor'easter send walls of water deep into the Chesapeake Bay. This shoulder-high peeler reels off more than 15 miles away from the Atlantic Ocean. Photo: Bassett.
Brian Bassett hails from the Virginia Peninsula, which from time-to-time becomes the best wave in the commonwealth. Now based in Virginia Beach, Brian gets barreled close to his childhood home and well away from the ocean. 1 of 4. Photo: Coulson.
Brian Bassett, 2 of 4. Photo: Coulson.
Brian Bassett, 3 of 4. Photo: Coulson.
Brian Bassett, 4 of 4. Photo: Coulson.
A couple of hours drive to the south, Outer Banks home boy Matt Price lays a rail into a clean bank. Photo: Rudolph.
Matt Price gaffs the lip on his backhand. Photo: Rudolph.
Plenty of barrels, faces and ramps: Matt Price enjoys this Outer Banks skate park. Photo: Rudolph.
Despite receiving beach nourishment over the summer, the sand deposited at S-Turns couldn't hold back the fury of the nor'easter. The ocean penetrated the man-made dune where you see the backhoe, sending a rushing river of water across Highway 12. Photo: McCarthy.
The battered coastline at the famed S-Turns. Photo: McCarthy.
The Atlantic overtook Highway 12 again at the "Hotels" stretch at the entrance of Buxton, N.C. Just down the beach, Dallas Tolson and Jesse Hines eye their entrance into the Lighthouse lineup. Photo: McCarthy
SUPERbrand rep Jesse Hines drives his PigDog model through this LIghthouse pipe. Photo: McCarthy.
Virginia Beach's Michael Dunphy had to make a big temperature adjustment after spending time in Hawaii this fall. When it's pumping like this, getting fired up is no problem. Photo: McCarthy.
West Coaster Luke Davis experienced just how good the Right Coast can get. Photo: McCarthy.
Zack Knapp draws a picturesque line under this Lighthouse curtain. Photo: McCarthy.
The Outer Banks' Cody Craig makes the decent into this against-the-grain right. Photo: Drewry.
A solid northeast swell turns the Lighthouse into a long, reeling, hollow left-hand pointbreak. Photo: Drewry.
Outer Banks ripper Dallas Tolson takes it to this lengthy left. Photo: Bartholomew.
Hatteras' Cash Barris packed in one of the most epic pits of the year, on his backside, nonetheless. A perfect 10. 1 of 6. Photo: Bartholomew.
Cash Barris, 2 of 6. Photo: Bartholomew.
Cash Barris, 3 of 6. Photo: Bartholomew.
Cash Barris, 4 of 6. Photo: Bartholomew.
Cash Barris, 5 of 6. Photo: Bartholomew.
Cash Barris, 6 of 6. Photo: Bartholomew.
Top of the point at the Lighthouse. Photo: Ficke.
Another toothy barrel goes unchallenged. Photo: Ficke.
Chris Morris lines it up in the golden hour light. Photo: Ficke.

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