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  • Writer's pictureMac

Updated: Apr 8, 2023

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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  • Writer's pictureMac

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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"Go Because You Can" - that mantra actually originated from Seattle resident Troy Nebeker who did a round the clock 24 hour paddle relay back in 2015 with five friends to raise money for others in their community who were battling cancer. That single event grew over the years into a global effort. That quote refers to celebrating gratitude for being healthy by giving back to others who are not as fortunate.

"Go Because You Can" can have another meaning. Hurricane Ian got me thinking about that quote. Is there a bad time to go out into the windy and wave driven conditions that tropical storms and hurricanes produce? Is there guilt in going out when others have sustained storm damage from the same storm you're enjoying?

Perhaps you shouldn't go out if you're putting others in danger (EMT, Fire/Rescue, bystanders) or if the storm just passed and there is a great deal of damage in the area. Going out in conditions that are above your skill level is obviously not a good idea. It puts you and others in danger. There's definitely no shame in sitting it out if you don't have the experience or you're not comfortable in rough conditions. But if you have the skills for rough conditions, and it isn't total victory at sea and the storm isn't on top of you, then you should go!

By Thursday September 29th, we were aware of the massive destruction in SW Florida. Charlestonians know what its like. 1989's Hurricane Hugo is still on everyone's minds any time a hurricane spins up in the Atlantic and goes through the Caribbean. We've had a lot of flooding and damage from other storms since then. At that moment on Thursday, there was nothing we could physically do. There is a lot that can be done, in various ways, in the near and far future to help those in need in areas hurt by the storm's wrath.

The next day, Friday September 30th, Hurricane Ian arrived here as a Category 1 storm. We were fortunate the storm moved by us offshore and made landfall north of us. That path and the offshore winds kept the expected storm surge at bay. Power was lost in many areas. There was relatively minor flooding and relatively minor damage from fallen trees. It could have been a lot worse. Unfortunately, our neighbors north of us at Pawley's Island and the Grand Strand sustained more of the storm's fury and damage. By Saturday morning, the sound of chainsaws and leaf blowers were heard everywhere as everyone was beginning to remove debris and clean up their yards. And true to Charleston ocean athlete form, some took advantage of the clean up surf conditions.

So yeah....Go. Go because you can. Go with grace and humility. Go because you have the good fortune at that moment to take advantage of the conditions. Go because you never know when you won't be able to get out there.

And that's exactly what many local Charleston ocean athletes did the day before Hurricane Ian arrived in our area. There was action at all the beaches and in the harbor. I was able to capture some of the action in photos and video in the harbor off James Island's Melton Peter Demetre Park (formerly called Sunrise Park as some still call it) and at the north end of Folly Beach.

The NE wind was approximately 25-30 mph, gusting up to 35-40 mph during the time I was out there with the camera. The overhead set waves at the north end of Folly were forming nicely on the outside and inside breaks in the side-off conditions.

John Cutter (wing foiling) and David Buckley (windsurf foiling) were commanding the harbor while Morne Diedericks (kitesurf), James Corgill (kitesurf), Scott Hyland (kitesurf), and Noah Zittrer (wing foil), among others, were commanding the north end of Folly Beach.

I hope you enjoy these photos. If you haven't already, check out the Instagram Reel video I posted late last week. I plan to do a longer video edit soon, so stay tuned.

John Cutter

David Buckley

Noah Zittrer

David Buckley

James Corgill

Scott Hyland

Noah Zittrer

Morne Diedericks

James Corgill

Scott Hyland

John Cutter

written & photos by Mac Barnhardt

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