Ponce Inlet

Lifeguard_Ponce_Inlet

As Hurricane Bertha spun a course up the Atlantic, waves along the East Coast grew in size and changed what otherwise has been a fairly flat summer in Florida. Surf reports were calling for good conditions, and with a high pressure hovering over the state, the likelihood that it would be glassy was high.

Check out my video below.

Clean, overhead waves were a welcomed sight as we pulled onto the beach at Ponce Inlet – yes, you can drive on the beach. In fact, it was the conclusion for Daytona Beach racing, and the place where land speed records were broken several times in the early 1900s. The beach has diminished in size since those early days, but it still offers enough room for the Oneill bus to get up and down it. They got out of there just in time, however, because I saw several people return to their cars at high tide only to discover their wheels had sunk in the sand and were stuck.

This is a trick in Photoshop called, “Glowing Edges:”

Oneill_Ponce_Inlet

My friend, Tim and I are two working stiffs who spend way too much time in the office. Nevertheless, we quickly made our way out into the lineup pausing only for a moment to remark upon the surprisingly cold temperature of the water. In between waves we spotted dolphins and did our best to keep our position against the northern course of the current. Fortunately, we had a good landmark.

The Ponce de Leon Inlet Lighthouse, which was built in the late 1800s, has long served as a marker for many mariners. In fact, it was this very lighthouse that guided author Stephen Crane to shore after 30 hours at sea and was the model for the fictional lighthouse described in “The Open Boat.” 175 feet of red brick make the Ponce Inlet Lighthouse the tallest one in Florida.

There are a few distinct surf spots as you move north away from the jetty. As you might expect, the furthest break outside is along the jetty with the remaining peaks breaking progressively closer to the beach. The best time to surf Ponce is low to incoming, but any tide works. At high tide the waves tend to be mushy outside and then reform inside as shore break.

Ponce_Inlet

Ponce Inlet is a great spot, but be aware that it does get pretty crowded. Situated between Daytona and New Smyrna, and directly east of Orlando, means there is a fair population of people in close proximity. In my opinion, there are many lesser known breaks in Florida that are just as good. But regardless, it is always fun to check out a new place, and Ponce Inlet is definitely worth a visit when the surf is up.

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