Chasing Hurricane Earl With Alek Parker And The Hurricane Hunters
With hurricane season's first big ass-kicker of a storm—Hurricane Earl—barreling right toward the Outer Banks of North Carolina, most sane folks are evacuating the narrow strip of sand that is home to some of the East Coast's best surf.
Not Alek Parker and the Hurricane Hunters.
These (insert your own adjective for someone who would drive straight into a category 4 hurricane here) guys are on their way to a secret location somewhere out on the OBX, and while we pried, Alek wouldn't give it up…
TransWorld SURF: So are you guys chasing Hurricane Earl or is he chasing you?
Alek Parker: Nah, I think we're on its tail.
What's the hurricane doing right now?
Right now it's looking like it's gonna hit North Carolina tomorrow afternoon sometime. They're claiming it's moving northwest at 17 knots and the outer bands of it will start showing tomorrow afternoon.
And you guys are going straight to the Outer Banks where it's supposed to make landfall?
Umm, yeah. But we've got a little spot to hide out, some jet skis, and foul weather gear. The thing is that the whole East Coast is going to be onshore except a few select spots. Anyway, we're hoping to find a spot that's sideshore/offshore. According to the charts, tomorrow is looking bigger than anything I've ever seen out here, they're calling it some crazy number like twenty something feet at sixteen seconds. We're just hoping it stays off the coast and the impact is minimal—it's a pretty scary thing for homeowners out here on the Outer Banks.
The way things are lining up, I think the whole East Coast I going to be stormy, then go offshore in the middle of the night, which will blow the swell down pretty quickly. I think it'll be pretty small up north because it doesn't have that fetch like it has in North Carolina—the category four has been headed straight this way for days. The cleanest spots will be down in Florida, but we're after the biggest, gnarliest stuff we can find.
Are you guys looking to surf inside of an inlet or something? What have you got up your sleeve?
We've got some zones [laughs]! If I described it the people whom we know out here probably wouldn't be too happy…
Our little ranga intern Blake has never been in a hurricane. Is he going to be all right?
He has no idea what to expect, I think in his case ignorance is bliss.
Keep an eye on him; we need him back in one piece. I was going to say "pray for surf" but I don't think we need to do that. Instead, how about be careful and have fun.
Sounds good. Hopefully we'll score but you never know with these things…