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Photos by Shaun Devine. Words by John Streit.

Though the 2013 hurricane season has been deep alphabetically — we’ve reached down to the letter K so far — the lack of development of these storms into true long-term swell producers has been historic. It seems by mid-October, we’ve usually had a few memorable hurricane swells that make the East Coast the envy of the surfing world.

While that hasn’t been the case this year, there have been some fun days to grace our shores courtesy of the tropics. One of those days, Shaun and I spent the day roaming the Outer Banks in search of the sandbar that would maximize the swell sent to us by the distant Hurricane Humberto, which missed making history as the latest-forming first hurricane by just a few hours on Sept. 8.

We ended up scoring thick shorebreak barrels taylor-made for bodysurfing Shaun’s Party Missile Handplanes. Slabby, pitching lips detonated the 3- to 5-foot waves in knee-deep water; resulting in heaps of legitimate beat-downs, but some amazing barrel rides nonetheless. The additional planing ability produced by the handplanes proved critical in the heaving, racing conditions.

We emerged from the shorebreak sandy, pummeled and one swim fin short. It was far from hurricane swell perfection, but we left smiling from ear to ear.





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