Surfers look forward to tropical storms' swells

FOLLY BEACH, S.C.(WCIV) - From the shore to the surf, there are some people who get prettyexcited when the low pressure starts to spin off the coast - surfers.

While no one wants to see ahurricane make landfall in the Lowcountry, but a storm that makes waves hassurfers heading for the beach.

"We don't want Charleston to be hit by a major hurricane,but watching hurricanes roll up the coast is what we love to do - and wait forthose swells," said Bates Hagood, the general manager at Ocean Surf Shop.

Surfers, like meteorologists,track the storms moving through the Atlantic.

"Surfers get so excited aboutapproaching storms; this is our favorite time of year," Hagood said. "We'rewatching ever weather map and model - we watch you guys."

While an outsider or anonlooker might think surfers are crazy to head into big swells and rough seasahead of an approaching storm, Hagood says those guys are just passionate abouttheir sport.

"I mean, if you compare it to aguy who likes to play 18 holes of golf on a Sunday and goes out and buys a $400driver every other week, surfers are the same exact way," he said. "And whenthose conditions get that perfect, there's nothing they want to do more thantry to get out there and ride those waves.

Hagood says they cancel lessonsand close board rentals when a storm approaches because inexperienced surfersand novices should not be in the water.

"This is a beach break. Thereare a lot of rip currents - you know there's a ton of current running south tonorth up the beach, or vice versa," Hagood said. "Depending on where the windis coming from, the surf can get choppy when those storms start to get close."

The water is almost like awashing machine, which means it's not good for surfing. Hagood even hints atother weather and wave setups being better on Folly.

"Any sort of Bermuda High,Trade Wind Swell is an excellent swell for us," he said. "Sometimes hurricaneswell gets over-hyped and the surf gets really crowded because people fromColumbia, Greenville, Charlotte - anyone who is a surfer, they see a hurricaneon the map and they're like, 'Well, I'm going run down to the beach and catch somewaves.'"

They're all searching for thatperfect ride.

"It's a spiritual sport. Imean, you've get everything involved in nature and you're riding that. You'vegot air, water, and earth and those three elements come together, you just can'tbreak that feeling," Hagood said.