Well, Henri spun up to hurricane status for a moment over the weekend, but it was a bit of an odd duck, no? Strong winds and heavy rainfall in some parts of the US' east coast, Rhode Island was transformed into Waterworld for a hot minute – and there was decent surf in some parts, if you knew where to go. For the most part though, Henri, you were a bit of a weirdo.
“It was a fun swell and hopefully just a taste of things to come,” says froth lord Rob Kelly. “The day started with a good amount of swell in the water but it was a challenge to find a sandbar that was working just because we haven’t had a chance to see how the summer bars are setup right now. This is usually the case during the first couple swells of the hurricane season here in New Jersey where the sand moves around a lot in the summer.”
Henri had a certain je ne sais quoi about it; which means – it was an incredibly unusual mid-August hurricane. Henri's path was peculiar and it hit with less umph than anticipated. Still, plenty of good surf across New Jersey and New York, we just wish you hung around a little more, Henri, or, took a better path for the wave-starved, summer-drought-laden right coasters.
How it happened: Henri
“We eventually found a fun shore break wave and got a few barrels then drove up the road and surfed clean rippable peaks the rest of the day,” said Rob. :Scoring a full day of waves and great conditions like that in August was definitely a treat.”
Over in New York, photographer Brian Shannon was getting amongst it. "Conditions definitely looked tricky out there,” he told MSW. “I heard multiple surfers coming in saying the same thing. There was a little lull in the northeast for a period of time, so this definitely got people up and out to surf, even with the wind and rain.”
Breaking down Henri, MSW forecaster Tony Butt said: “Hurricane Henri, the eighth named tropical storm in the 2021Atlantic season, started life on August 14 as a weak low pressure system about 200 miles north-northeast of Bermuda.
“It moved slowly south and became more organised, becoming a tropical depression by August 26 and a tropical storm later the same day. It then turned clockwise towards the southwest and then west, steered around ridge of high pressure to the northwest of Bermuda.
“It continued moving westwards and remained a relatively weak system, impeded by strong vertical wind shear, until 20th. An approaching low pressure system from the west, combined with the high to the north, further steered the system clockwise towards the north-northeast, while weakening shear and warm surface waters allowed it to strengthen. Henri became a hurricane on Saturday August 21 as it accelerated northwards, before dropping just back to just below hurricane status as it made landfall in Rhode Island on Sunday 22nd.
“As Henri approached the Eastern Seaboard from an easterly direction, it started generating swell, and continued to do so as it turned the corner and tracked northwards. For example, around Cape Hatteras, wave heights hit five feet or so on Friday 20th, with light southerly winds. On Saturday 21st, the swell become more solid and winds switched to moderate northerlies as the storm tracked past. Up in New England, the surf was more intense and shorter-lived, with wave heights up to eight feet on Sunday morning, accompanied by strong southwest winds.”