For how much swell there was in the water, there was as little mercury in the thermometer. Photo: Carolino/No Wax.

Words by John Streit. Photos by Joshua Carolino, Colin Breland and Daniel Brittain.

Ok, I guess now you can officially call me crazy. I’d have to agree.

I can tell you unequivocally that this morning was about as cold as I’ve ever been. In or out of the water. Period.

With the air at a balmy 18 degrees with a blitering 20 mph-plus northwest wind, I took the plunge with the hopes of snagging a couple of fun ones courtesy of Winter Storm Janus before frostbite could set in. While I was only partially successful in doing so — one decent ride in three takeoffs and thankfully no frostbite —  this session will undoubtedly stand out in my memory for years to come.

The desolation of the beach. The snow drifts and frozen sand. The ice-capped rocks of the jetty. The windswept mirages of chest- to head-high walls enticing me to brave the nearly unbearable cold. The way the cold, dry air took my breath away. The fact that duck-diving the sub-45-degree water actually felt warm against the exposed skin of my face.

So was it worth it? Definitely. I emerged from the ocean with a new respect for surfers who reside in colder climates, as well as the icy side of Mother Nature, who never ceases to amaze and humble me.

Big ups to the boys — Josh, Colin and Danny — for gearing up to document the morning through these images!


This one tells the story: wind-blown, cold and desolate. Sandbridge Beach. Photo: Brittain/Sea Motives


Frozen. Photo: Breland/Constant Variety


Familiar walk, unfamiliar temps. Croatan. Photo: Breland/Constant Variety.


I may have been the only human in the water, but I wasn’t the only surfer. Photo: Carolino/No Wax.


While the swell was so steeply angled it nearly missed the beach at Croatan, some bent in just right. Photo: Breland/Constant Variety.


For my efforts, I got in more turns – one – than degrees of the wind chill – minus-2. Photo: Breland/Constant Variety.


This Sandbridge bomb goes unridden, like most waves around Virginia Beach on this day. Photo: Brittain/Sea Motives.


Snow on the beach in Sandbridge. Photo: Brittain/Sea Motives

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