Dec 28, 2010

Coming this Spring the key word.  I need to step up my picture game.  Currently I'm saving up for an SPL Under Water Housing for my camera. No joke I'm putting it all in a shoe box and not touching it till it's time.  By spring I figure I'll have enough money to buy one.  Plus the water will be warmer.

You probably don't care whether I get a housing now or not but I guarantee when you see me in the water with that thing you'll all flock.

Mike C
Dec 26, 2010

 Snow, freezing winds, 40 degree water, inconsistent waist+ sets, made for a barely worth it session today.  After looking at the extended forecast though I said to myself I'm going to regret not getting in the water.  Yes I had a few fun waves but it was so inconsistent that sitting in the water waiting for a 'set' wave was surely not worth it in hind sight.  I had my hood, suit, boots, and gloves on and I was still freezing. At least I can say I surfed when it was snowing....not that cool.

Not like last year (see picture 2 posts down)

I have some more but we'll see about that.

Mike C
Dec 24, 2010

Merry Christmas!

I'm thoroughly disappointed about the lack of waves we've been experiencing this winter.  Next time I have work off, there are waves somewhere within a ~4hr radius, the conditions are good wherever the waves are, and maybe someone or some people to go with; then I'll make a day trip.  Unfortunatley to get all of those things to happen at the same time is like getting the planets to align with the center of the universe matched to the echo of the big bang....sketch.

Hope everyone has a safe Christmas.  If anyone sees Santa tonight let him know to drop some swell in the water that is gonna happen.

Merry Christmas!!!!

This is Oliver, one of my parents cats.  He's pretty cool for a cat.

Mike C
Dec 21, 2010
The title is a play on my first post named "Folly Surf Photos First Day Up" a year ago

I know I said for my anniversary month I was going to post some cool stuff that I've posted over the past year but I was knocked down by the flu for the past 3 or so days.  I'm better now so that's good.

It's official though, Folly Surf Photography is One Year and 2 Days Old!!!  Over that time the blog has received 51,695 visitors!!  Let's keep this going for another 50,000 visitors.  I'm not going anywhere I love Folly even though the waves are terrible most of the time.  I've met too many cool people and taken too many amazing photos to pack up and go somewhere else.

Seriously though the major reason I post these posts is to make you guys, the readers happy.  The most joy I get is when someone randomly comes up to me and says, "Hey are you Mike C? I loved those pictures you just put up awesome work!"  I love that and comments like those are the fuel behind Folly Surf Photography.

From the bottom of my heart, for real, thanks so much for making all of this possible everyone.

Maybe well get some gifts from Santa like last year.

Last Christmas
Mike C
Dec 16, 2010

Sequences from Last Week

All of these are from 12/11 aka the post below.

PWC Assist at the Washout?

This seems to be it for now.  I'm suffering from a cold..blah
Dec 11, 2010

Are You Kidding Me

 It may not be winter officially yet but the water is freakin cold.  Waves were so unexpected and so good today this kid forgot it was December.  I kid you not this photo was taken today. 

And once again I'm not kidding; all of the below photos are taken from today.  Lets all remember what the surf forecasts were calling for today....1-2ft.

 Now kids, none of these photos have watermarks on them so when you go and put them on facebook ;) give the website a shout out.

I know this one is blurry and focused on the rock in the foreground but I like how it turned out.  Oops

This is me!  Courtesy of Justin over at  He has a bunch more photos too from today

Mike C.
Dec 9, 2010

It's On

The hype is real.  Folly Beach will officially be put on the map this March thanks to the Thomas Brothers.  I have no words to describe the trailer just released by the bros today.  I strongly encourage you to navigate over to The Thomas Brothers Blog; you won't be let down.

Thomas Brothers Blog
Dec 2, 2010
Don't freak girls I'm not married.  I'm talking about the blog here.  Just about a year ago I started this little surf blog.  December 19th was the official day.  Admittedly it's when I was terrible both at surfing and taking pictures.  I grew up snowboarding every single winter, every single weekend up North. When I came to CofC I found out the closest mountain was a good 6 hours away.  It didn't click until the summer going into my last year at CofC but I strolled down to McKevlins and just straight up bought a ...Lost Round Nose Fish.  The rest can be remembered through this little blog. 

By no means is my surfing comparable to most nor my photography but through this blog I've met a lot of cool people and done some pretty amazing things.  Throughout the month I'll post some of my favorite pictures, some of my favorite posts, and whatever comes to mind that happened over the past year.  Think the feature film the Thomas Brothers are diligently working on.  (I saw the trailer're gonna be blown away when you see it.)

All the mushy stuff is over with for this post.  Surf talk below.

I probably have the worst wetsuit tan in the Southeast.  It seems like I'm always saying, "We finally got some waves" but the thing is we're always waiting for the waves to come; sometimes for months.  So I got to the beach at 9am deemed it wasn't good enough to take pictures due to the strong cross/offshore wind and said, "Eh I'll surf till like 11 cause it sucks out here." 

At 930am (low tide) sets were pushing the waist+ range with some low tide barrels.  Good thing was it was closing out like it usually does when it's that low.

I never expected I was going to stay in the water until 130p.  Still in the water, I was starting to feel the effects of food deprivation.  I really wanted a cheese-steak sandwich from Surf Bar.  After satisfying my hunger I took some shots around high tide.  Conditions were getting better but the surf had dropped significantly from the late am/middle of the day.  Again like I said yesterday I'm only an average 5'8" but at the peak of the day some head high waves were pushing through.  A little peaky and super offshore but it was a solid day of surf.

The Shots.  All are post 2pm from yesterday...I think

I'm putting more up later.  I'm starving now

Mike C
Nov 30, 2010

Poor Conditions Good Fun

Well, I'm 5'8" and the 'set' waves were about a foot over my head with some good power.  It was all over the place today due to the strong onshore wind but that wind produced some fun sections.  Less talk more pictures.

I took photos until it started raining.  The shots....

See this kids face and determination!?  Well his name is Justin and if you think he's putting a lot of heartfelt effort into this ride go check out his new blog.  Lot's and lot's of pictures over at

See you all day tomorrow.  I have the day off.

Mike C

Leave a comment...the button is up there near the title
Nov 29, 2010

Have Hope

For waves that is. I have a bunch of days off and waves are on the way. Conditions will be hit or miss but I think it's time for some proper pictures to be posted. Lately no pictures ive taken have been blog worthy. From here on out it's quality over quantity. In the past I just put a bunch of random shots up.

Update via iPhone cause I'm lazzzzzyyyyyyy and I'm watching Restrepo. Just wanted to keep everyone updated and I haven't disappeared.

Mike C
Nov 18, 2010

Yesterday Morning

So what happens when you take your clothes out of the washing machine?  You put them in the dryer to get them all nice and wrinkle free.  I guess you can say after Tuesdays washing machine session the Folly wave gods decided to 'dry' out the waves Wednesday morning.

That was a pretty stupid intro Mike...

Even though tide was low early yesterday morning (Wednesday) the leftover waves were clean, about waist high, and fun.  I opted to surf rather than take pictures with the dropping tide and surf.

Mike C
Nov 15, 2010

Why It Didn't Work

From disappointment comes anger and from anger comes ignorance.  Most of us here at Folly Beach and the surrounding area were blown away when we arrived at the beach Saturday morning to find barely rideable waves.  But what happened?

Since Hurricane Season I've been really researching how waves are formed.  Initially I was curious how close a storm needed to get in order for us to receive waves.  I found out that it really didn't matter how close the storm got it mattered how intense it was and whether local and surrounding wind conditions would favor the swell.  Take this for example: California can receive a huge South swell from storms raging off the coast of New Zealand thousands of miles away.

Late last week the mega low pressure system that produced waves for beaches from the Mid Atlantic states to Southern Florida really began to strengthen.  Winds were blowing from the NE at a sustained 40mph plus for hours and hours on end.  That doesn't seem like much but the distance in which the winds were blowing in the same direction (called the 'fetch') was immense; nearly the whole Eastern Seaboard of the United States. The longer the winds are blowing in the same direction the longer the period the swell.  So with a fetch nearly the size of the Eastern Seaboard buoys were showing 15 second plus intervals with sea heights running into the 20ft range give or take.

We all love those longer period swells because we know they pack all the power to do your Jordy Smith double grab airs.  But if you call Folly Beach your home break you may want to rethink how long is too long of a swell period.  If you've been surfing around this region of the United States you've probably heard about the continental shelf, how big it is, and how it detrimentally effects those big swells.  I always took it a step further and asked why is the shelf was such a big deal.  I mean it's still pretty deep out there and it's just a wave on the top of the sea.  Right?

Yes it's deep out there but not deep enough for this past swell.  The continental shelf off the coast of South Carolina and Georgia can extend as far out as 100 miles plus.  This sets up a bad situation for long period swells.  I always thought most of a waves energy traveled near the surface of the ocean.  I couldn't have been anymore wrong.  Most of a swells energy travels well below the surface of the sea.  The formula below dictates how far down a particular swell period will travel below the surface.  And it really has nothing to do with the height of the wave it all has to do with swell period.

Depth of Wave = (Swell Period²)(2.56)

The buoys from this last big swell were showing an average of about 15 seconds.  If you plug 15 seconds into the above formula you get 576ft.  The deepest part of the continental shelf off of our coast doesn't even come close to that depth.  200 feet is the maximum depth of the shelf; and that is pushing it.  When that 15 second swell came barreling into the shelf more than half of the energy of the swell was getting eaten up by the ocean floor. 

Now that half the energy is gone from the swell it still has to travel through shallower and shallower water when it finally reaches the Washout.  Have you ever noticed waves doubling up during the long period swell events?  Doubling up is the result the continental shelf and shallow near shore waters refracting the swell making it a mess.  Making things even worse was the angle of the swell.  Folly Beach more or less is a Southeast facing beach.  A Northeast swell will not only be heavily angled when it reaches our shores it has even more time to decay over the continental shelf.

Hurricane Earl worked in our favor because he was so close to our shoreline.  The swell period didn't have enough time to formulate into a mega long period swell.  Earl actually produced waves so close to the continental shelf the swell just formed in the presence of the shelf instead of being impacted by it.  This is usually the case with most of our hurricane swells.

Hopefully we've learned from this past weekend what our coastline and beaches can and can't handle.  Of course I am no scientist I am just curious.  I've done a little research and from that research, I've compiled this
post.  Some of the information may not be totally accurate but I've tried to make it as accurate as possible.  Please leave me a comment by scrolling to the top of this post and clicking on the comments link if you have any questions, corrections, or general comments.

Thanks for making it all the way down here and taking the time to read everything.

Mike C

sources: surfline, stormsurf, noaa
Nov 14, 2010

Massive Disappointment

We should have known better.  With such a long period NE angled swell how could we have thought that type of swell would wrap into our coastline?  It seems with every incoming swell we forget about the dreaded continental shelf that shaves down and refracts (negatively) every long period swell trying to push into the Southeast.

What made things even worse was the hype.  Never ever believe the hype ever again.  Bad things happen when a swell is hyped to the magnitude we saw of this previous 'swell.'  The amount of people in the water Saturday was ridiculous.  The Washout was packed beyond capacity and the waves were terrible. 

Pictures?  Yeah I got some pictures but before I took some I thought to myself when I was in the water, "Is it even worth taking pictures?  Is it just better to stay in the water and get run over by funboards?"  I opted to stay in the water most of my time at the beach. But I did take a few shots.

One good thing did happen at Folly this weekend though.  Las Olas surf shop decided to organize a paddle out for Andy Irons this morning (Sunday).  Rest peacefully Andy. 

All photos below are from Saturday...

I was so tapped out by the sight of the dreadfully small waves I started taking bad photos staring directly into the sun

Hampton was the happiest guy out riding his new longboard.  Only if we all brought our longboards Saturday. 

Of the 40 or so photos I took Saturday it took me like 30 minutes to choose which of them I was going to put up here on the blog.  They all were so terrible and reminded me of the night before forecast "head high glass" and arriving at the beach early the next morning and getting shocked by the sight of knee high blahness.

Blah is a good way to describe this weekend and the upcoming forecast of flatness. 

This is the most depressing post I have ever written!  I'm going to go curl up next to my broken ...Lost Rocket and hibernate.  Leave a message to let me know when the waves come back.  Goodnight.

Mike C
Nov 10, 2010

Forecast is Holding

Usually good forecasts for our area come and go.  By the time the swell actually gets here everything blows up in our faces.  Listen.  We are still pretty far away from Saturday but with such large weather systems (high pressure over the US and the big storm in the Atlantic) it's going to be pretty tough for conditions to change drastically.  One thing is for sure.  Waves will arrive.  Local winds are looking good but we all know what can happen. 

Yipes!! Forecast for S-Turns, North Carolina.  Winds will be howling onshore at 30 plus.  I retract my previous statement that North is where it's at.  Obviously the size is there though...
Here at Folly we'll be closer to the head high range.  Seaweed has the ground swell running at a 16 second interval.  Yes that is for Folly Beach.  I don't think I've ever seen that high of an interval forecasted for here.

Central Florida will greet this swell nearly head on.  The swell will be much larger down there compared to here.  Local winds are still up in the air unfortunately for the Sunshine State.  Currently it looks like most of Florida will have some cross shore/onshore conditions.  Hopefully it cleans up down there. 

I hate saying it but we might have the best conditions once again like Earl. Crowds at the Washout. FUN. 

Drive to Florida!

What do I know though?

Mike C.  
Nov 8, 2010
Okay, I think it's safe to say now the tropics have officially shut down.  It's pretty cool we got all the way to the "T's" in the 2010 tropical storm names.  Otto was my favorite name.  What's next?

Old Man Winter has already awoken in the Northern Atlantic.  The time of year has come for those big NE storms.  A BIG one is gearing up to send some freight train size swell to the usual spots that can catch a NE/E swell.  This storm is going to get big, like as big as the whole Northern Atlantic.  Winds will be howling for days in the same direction which is very favorable for a long period ground swell to form.

That's a big storm.  It's kind of crazy how the winter storms move more or less from North to South then off to the East and the big hurricanes move West than go from the South to the North. 

Here in South Carolina we should see some good sized waves from this system with favorable winds but a 4 hr drive south may be the best bet this weekend if you're in search of overhead plus waves.  Local wind conditions for Florida may be iffy though.  An even better choice may be the 4 hr drive North.  Lot's of choices to make but it will be the weekend so escaping the crowds will be tough. 

I'll finally be able to take some good surf pictures.  It's been a while.

Mike C
Nov 6, 2010
photo courtesy
 Earlier today an emotional Kelly Slater after winning his 10th World Title at the Rip Curl Pro Search Puerto Rico dedicated his win to Andy Irons.  It was an amazing thing to watch live.  The sun poked it's head out, barrels were abundant, and to top it all off Kelly started off the heat with a 10 point ride.  Congrats Kelly.

Waves have been fun the past few days.  A little small and mushy at times but still worth getting wet.  I decided to dawn patrol it this morning and yesterday morning.  We had such gloomy weather this past week I needed to see the sunrise and celebrate it with some surf.  This morning it was a balmy 39 degrees as I got into my car.  The pictures I took this morning are indescribable.  Not really because of the waves but the combination of the sunrise, a little swell in the water, and the surface fog; it was pretty surreal.

Mike C.