650x366_09170927_screen-shot-2014-09-17-at-5.24.48-amIt’s the reason we climb out of a warm bed in pre-dawn’s coolness for a sleepy drive. Why the prevailing winds are this week’s topic of conversation, and everyone is standing on their toes, antsy as can be. Why we wake before our alarm, with anxiety for the day to come. Why we watch the sun rise slowly in the sky, with the hope that Mother Ocean has finally delivered a present.  The reason we love grey mist, dampness and silence. It’s the feeling of walking across a boardwalk to the unknown. The one time the term, “Pray for Waves,” goes silent in Florida. This is Hurricane season, a surfers favorite season of all.

On September 11, a tropical depression formed 870 miles west of the Cape Verde Islands, located near the coast of Africa. Later that evening, the tropical depression strengthened and became Tropical Storm Edouard — the fifth named storm of the 2014 Atlantic hurricane season.650x366_09171621_hd25

Initially, rumors circulated that Wednesday, September 17 was going to be the morning the swell hit. Talk among surfers in North Florida transferred to them mapping out where they were going to chase the storm. Most swell forecasts were predicting overhead-high surf on Wednesday, causing some to choose the wrong morning to call out of school and work.

The ocean remained still Tuesday night, creating some doubt that Wednesday morning would be firing. It isn’t uncommon for swells to hit overnight, but new predictions led me to believe that North Florida wouldn’t be seeing waves until Wednesday evening.

Wednesday morning came, and Edouard still hadn’t arrived. Ripples began to form mid-morning, creating a tease in everyone’s minds. Anticipation grew throughout the day until Wednesday evening. Edouard arrived, and believe me … he delivered.

Jacksonville’s “hidden treasure” was going off with head-high barrels along the horizon. The crowd wasn’t too heavy, and everyone was putting on a show. Most surfed until they couldn’t feel their limbs, and no sunlight was left.

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Surfer: Corey Howell Photo: Kendall Toothe

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Surfer: Dane Jefferys Photo: Kendall Toothe

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Surfer: Corey Howell Photo: Kendall Toothe

Personally, I didn’t get much of any sleep Wednesday night. I was waiting to see what Thursday morning was going to deliver. By 5:30 a.m., I was heading back to Jacksonville’s “hidden treasure,” hoping that Edouard was still making his appearance along the coast.

There is no doubt that Thursday morning was the time to be in the water. The winds were offshore and head-high waves rolled in along the coast. Despite the heavy crowds, everyone was scoring.

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Photo: Adam Bartoshesky

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Photo: Kendall Toothe

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Surfer: Tristan Thompson Photo: Hannah Kelly

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Surfer: Trever Challenor Photo: Adam Bartoshesky

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Surfer: Cole Taschman Photo: Tyler Brunner

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Surfer: Justin Quintal Photo: Adam Bartoshesky

Hurricane swells mean one thing, “Get it while it lasts.” Edouard delivered until Thursday evening. Until next time, “Pray for Waves.”

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Surfer: Merrick Cunningham Photo:Tyler Brunner

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Surfer: Max Mertens Photo: Kendall Toothe

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Surfer: Hobie Sears Photo: Kendall Toothe

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Surfer: Karina Petroni Photo: Adam Bartoshesky

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Surfer: Justin Quintal Photo: Tyler Brunner

Featured Image Surfer: Brent Lamprecht Photo: Hannah Kelly