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  • Writer's pictureMac

The waters off Sullivan's Island have been a watermen's/waterwomen's playground for a long time. And those who've paid attention over the years know the sandbars off the beach are always changing, which in turn is always changing the experience when playing out there in the ocean.

On April 20th, I captured some aerial drone video and photos of these sandbars in their current state on that day at dead low tide. There has been a lot of interest from the local ocean athlete and boating community on where the sandbars are located and how they look, so I'm posting it here for everyone to review...and to refer back to. Because by this Fall and certainly by next year, I'm sure it will look different. By how much? We'll see...but I'll try to document it in this same fashion once or twice each year. It will be fun and interesting to see the changes over time.

The following 2 minute video has 3 scenes:

1) 360 degree view of all the sandbars (starting with view towards the lighthouse)

2) left (south) to right (north) view of the main sandbar along the beach (from oceanside, looking towards the beach)

3) view of Station 28.5 to Station 30 area (from oceanside, looking towards the beach)

This first photo is looking directly towards Station 28.5 from outside the sandbar. The next several following photos are in sequential order from left to right in 360 degree view.

Another view of the area in front of Station 28.5 and Station 29

Breach Inlet

The area in front of Station 29 and Station 30

Station 30

Breach Inlet and the sandbars on the Isle of Palms side (this and the next two photos)

Looking towards the outside of Breach Inlet

The narrow channel/inlet in front of Station 28.5

Looking out at the rock jetty at Station 30

Looking towards Station 30 from in front of Station 28.5

Looking towards Station 30 and Station 29 from Breach Inlet

Looking directly towards Station 30

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  • Writer's pictureMac

Updated: Apr 8

Saturday, April 1st was one helluva of day in the Charleston area. A ton of out of towners were visiting for several area events. Most notably, the annual Cooper River Bridge Run was happening, with approx 27,000 people taking part. The Credit One Championship Women's Pro Tennis event was getting under way. And other events and festivals were happening all over town and the surrounding area.

But for the Charleston Ocean Athletes, it was a day long anticipated that week thanks to a favorable forecast for the prevailing warm southwest winds and low level jetting (meaning the warm southwest wind over the cold ocean water wouldn't cause fog and light wind). It meant that spring was really finally here, the "third winter" was behind us, the pollen invasion was about done, the water was warming up and the winter marine layering was almost finished. This meant the beaches were finally going to get some consistent wind! Everyone was just hoping this wouldn't be some cruel April fools joke, whereby the forecast would fall through and leave everyone crying the blues on the sand.

Alas, the forecast proved out and we got consistent SW wind all day in the 22-27 mph range across all the beaches, along with 3-4 ft waves to play in. Yours truly got out to windsurf at Isle of Palms for a good bit, enjoying the action on the water with five other windsurfers and a couple of kitesurfers. Then I got behind the camera and roamed around Isle of Palms between 6th Ave and 3rd Ave, and then Station 28.5 at Sullivan's Island. There was big air, wave carving, and just plain good old speed. What a great day it was for everyone, ala the April Fools.

I hope you enjoy the video below (play it in HD full screen and turn up the sound!), plus all the photos below that.

~ Mac ~

If able, play in full screen HD and turn it up. Charleston Ocean Athletes featured in the video include (in alphabetical order): Mac Barnhardt, Chris Busacca, Peter Hess, Scott Hyland, Bart Liebmann, David Schar, Trey Sedalik, Scott West, among several others.

Video & editing by Mac Barnhardt

GoPro POV footage by Bart Liebmann & Scott West

All photos below by Mac Barnhardt

Dave Cavanaugh bottom turning into a juicy wave

Dave Cavanaugh throwing buckets

Scott West bottom turning back into the wave

Bart Liebmann wavesailing

Peter Hess just ahead of the froth

Dave Cavanaugh eyeing the wave

Dave Cavanaugh carving it up

Looking south towards 3rd Avenue & Sullivan's Island

unidentified sending it at 3rd Avenue

Chris Geganto big air

Alli Lehr taking advantage of the conditions

Trey Sedalik in the shallows

Gerrit Neve on the wing foil

Bobby Funcik airing it out

Jonn Meyers carving out a path

a familiar sight along our coast

Trey Sedalik mid-flight board grab

Welcome To The Jungle

Chris Busacca speed sailing on the inside

David Schar throwing spray

Scott Hyland inverted

unidentified going for the mid-air board grab

unidentified enjoying the big day

Chris Busacca off the lip

unidentified chopping it up

unidentified sending it

Scott Hyland of Sealand Sports was on the loose

Chris Busacca was finding ramps all over the place

unidentified mid-flight

David Schar looking for a landing spot

Scott Hyland board sliding

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The ocean means so much to our local community. Whether it's simply taking a walk on the beach, going fishing, or as ocean athletes riding the waves and wind. Some people call their time around the ocean as "church". Some believe it "heals" them. Many of us are here in the Charleston area because of the ocean. How much have you thought about what the ocean means to you? I recently asked for some submissions and received these responses:

Eddie : The Ocean’s vastness is like the Gospel. A reminder that it’s not all about me.


The ocean ~ it's hope, community & so much fun. I feel rejuvenated everytime I go, worn out in a good way. It's lifechanging too. I live according to it's ways now, adjusting my routine as much as possible it's tapestry of wind & waves, freedom & strength that gives me hope. Feel very fortunate to be part of our playground that was here my whole life, but I didn't see it. So glad I found my home.

Tharin Walker:

Unconquerable challenges, unlimited horizons - even though my own paddling goals are pretty modest, it's good to know what's out there.

Jay Upchurch:

“ Water is the essence of wetness. And wetness is the essence of beauty.” - Zoolander


It’s my refuge to escape the terrestrial world, to be with and without my thoughts.

Adam Clark:

It’s the place I feel most alive. Even on the flat days, it seems to respire.

Billy Lempesis:

Mind, Body and Soul. All three in harmony.

Beach Remnants LLC:

Everything. It brings balance & puts life into perspective, it's the perfect playmate, the best gift giver, and is soothing in every way.

Dom Martone:

An escape, mesmerizing, so much unknown about it.

McIntyre Barnhardt:

Peaceful, powerful, mysterious, healing.

I searched for some famous peoples' quotes about the ocean and found these:

Anthony Kiedis (lead singer of Red Hot Chili Peppers who loves to surf):

The ocean is full of life and peace. It’s supercharged with energy. Full of ions and activity.

Gerry Lopez (Legendary surfer, Mr Pipeline himself):

There is a spiritual-ness when you actually get in harmony with something as natural as the waves and the ocean, and yeah, it is definitely a religious experience.

Laird Hamilton (Legendary waterman, innovator):

The biggest sin in the world would be if I lost my love for the ocean.

Jacques Cousteau (the late great diver, filmmaker, environmental activist):

The sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in its net of wonder forever.

Pablo Neruda (poet) - from the "The Sea":

I need the sea because it teaches me…

What does the ocean mean to you? Send us your answers via email link below ("Contact Us") or DM us on IG or FB.

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