As I’ve said previously, working in South Florida for much of the winter is ok. The weather is great, my employers are very good to me and the Atlantic Ocean is warm enough for skins (I chuckle at the locals in full suits…the water is 70° at its coldest!) However, winter is my favorite time of year in San Diego with consistent NW swells pounding the whole coast, while Florida can be ankle high for weeks at a time.
Yes, I missed some epic California swells this winter. But I consider myself lucky because I scored numerous fun sessions in South Florida. From chest high and glassy to classic, overhead windswells with whipping onshore wind.
The level of surfing talent in the Jupiter area is very impressive. A pack of locals, old and young, ripped into the lumpy sets, connected fast sections and packed the inside slabs.
I woke up at 5 every morning with a hint of swell and drove the 45 minutes to Juno Pier. I found it larger than surrounding areas and a local guy later informed me that it is frequently larger here because there’s less shelf outside thwarting the energy of short period swells. Many swells are combo: short groundswell from the North and even shorter local windswell. The inside sandbars are in good shape so the result is neon peaks and wedges.
There are never other bodysurfers around so there are some strange looks from the locals on the main peak as I lurked around on the inside. But after tube hunting a few sections, the skeptical looks turned to approving head nods.
For years, I’ve seen most sunrises and sunsets in San Diego. It took a couple days to get used to the sun’s position in Florida. At dawn one morning, with the sun low on the brilliant horizon, my internal clock said, “The sun is setting, time to find some dinner.” It took me a second to realize that I had coffee in my hand and it was time to swim the sunrise.
After a solid swim one evening, I went on the Pier to photograph the action as the sun set. There I met longtime local surfer/photographer Bargain Bob Baggett. He was excitedly shooting the local crew as they ripped the windswell to shreds. Bargain Bob is a super friendly and knowledgeable guy. He knew every surfer in the water and happily shared his local info, acquired from 20+ years in the Jupiter area. Turns out he even snapped a photo of me hunting for an inside barrel.