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Surfers Catch Big Waves, Dangerous Riptides

By Sara Wood

http://stream.publicbroadcasting.net/production/mp3/whqr/local-whqr-983490.mp3

Wilmington, NC – As residents stock up on supplies and board windows, boat owners are pulling their vessels onto land. But WHQR's Sara Wood reports that the surfing community is heading in the opposite direction.

Mark Mitchell, a surfer and resident of Wrightsville Beach says there's only a small window of time.

"Yeah, everyone will be surfing the next few days. The problem is, when the storms get so close, actually the waves aren't very good. We're hoping it'll be 150-250 miles east of us, and we'll just get the surf and none of the problems."

Sales in local surf shops have increased this week, as surfers buy boards and supplies to handle wave height and water pressure.

Jason Bayden, an employee at Sweetwater Board Shop and a Wrightsville Beach surfer, says his boards are in good shape and ready to go.

"This time a year's more like a holiday for us than Christmas or Thanksgiving. Whenever we're getting waves that are like bigger like Nor'easters in the winter, it's always a little more of a holiday expectation than the rest of the year. It's good."

According to Bayden, big ticket items are larger boards and leashes due to wave height and pressure.

The Star News Online reports that lifeguards at Wrightsville Beach made a dozen water rescues due to riptides this afternoon, and officials are advising everyone to stay out of the water.

To get out of a rip current, you should swim parallel to the shore until you are free. You should never swim against the pull of the current.

Do you have insight or expertise on this topic? If so, we'd like to hear from you. Please email the WHQR News Team.