After a February that left the New England winter enthusiast at the verge of despair, March came in like a lion, and roared all month long.
Winter storm Riley kicked off the month, creating a swell event that many are calling historic. Local buoys hit readings we rarely see in the northeast (25' @16s), and waves were breaking in places ocean energy seldom reaches. The catch was twofold, most of our set-ups can't handle a mega swell, plus a bitter north wind gusted the entire swell leaving most spots blown out—even if the wind was offshore. A few spots provided enough shelter to hide from the full force of the swell and score a handful of days in a row.
Just as the Riley swell finally started to fade, a nor'easter arrived the next day, spiking the buoys back up while dropping a couple feet of snow. In the following weeks, we had weekly winter storms with just enough of a break in between to get some full work days in, dry out the suit by the wood stove, and give the arms some rest (unless there was still snow to shovel). Sure enough, though, as soon as the waves went away, the swell forecast would show the next bump shaping up.
The "lamb" side of March never showed face. It wasn't the month for those who love to log our usual, gentle 2-3 foot days. But for those that come out of the woodwork at the first sign of a more serious swell, it was a month to push the limits. Go-to bigger wave spots were all pumping, and mean waves that rarely wake were all gnashing their gnarly teeth. Impressive and humbling, witnessing some of the surfing from this March was a reminder that there are New England locals that charge.
Despite the picture perfect moments caught on camera, the conditions are rarely ideal, and no matter how good the wetsuit, a deep cold-to-the-core will eventually set in. For those of us who call this place home, though, there's something special about these winter storms in New England.
Too much. Photo: Nick LaVecchia
Winter Storm Riley coincided with full moon tides, resulting in flooding along much of the coast. Photos: Nick LaVecchia
Primo conditions ...for staying onshore and mind-surfing. Photo: Nick LaVecchia
Nolan finds a (somewhat) sheltered spot during Riley. Photo: Gabe Reuben
Nor'easter blizzard conditions were a familiar scene in March. Photo: Gabe Reuben
Nico Evans. Photo: Nick LaVecchia
Davis Knowles goes his own way. Photo: Nick LaVecchia
Aaron Stone (he made it). Photo: Nick LaVecchia
Nolan on a Wherry fish. Photo: Gabe Reuben
Photo: Gabe Reuben
WINTER RETURNS DISHING UP A STORM EVERY WEEK OF THE MONTH