Surfers in Florida Enjoy the Silver Lining of Tropical Storm Isaac
August 25, 2012
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While most residents of Florida await Tropical Storm Isaac with apprehension over the abundant rain and potential damage the storm may inflict on the state, a select few in the state are excited over the potential for a cyclonic weather system that may bring with it a solid swell for Gulf of Mexico surfers to ride.
"We are all on alert," a local surfer named Frank "Pops" Piazza told the Tampa Bay Times. "All we can do is watch and wait, but if it stays far enough offshore, this could be a good one."
Piazza, an attorney from nearby St. Pete Beach, has been surfing in the Gulf of Mexico for over 40 years and is ready for the storm. "On days when the surf is good, nothing else matters," Piazza told the Tampa Bay Times. "We have different priorities."
Joe Nuzzo, the owner of Treasure Island's Suncoast Surf Shop since he opened it in 1966, usually knows how good the surf is going to be by how many bars of wax he sells. "With Tropical Storm Debby, I went through about 300 bars in about two days," Nuzzo told The Tampa Bay Times. "This weekend, I bet we sell 500."
Just to show how wave starved Gulf of Mexico surfers are, Nuzzo said the size of the waves, even with Tropical Storm Isaac bringing with it tremendous energy, will be moderate. "They should be head high, maybe even overhead," Nuzzo told the Tampa Bay Times. "I don't think we have had the formula for this since '05."
Local surfer Scott Orsini, who works with the Surfrider Foundation and is also anticipating the swell from Tropical Storm Isaac, cracked a joke that the storm would center in Tampa, the home of the Republican National Convention. "With all those Republicans there, where else would it go?" Orsini told the Tampa Bay Times. "But knowing those guys, they probably pulled some strings to get it to change course."
Significant swell from the storm is expected to hit the Florida coast starting late Monday and will increase throughout Tuesday. Forecasts are uncertain about the size and intervals of the swell beyond those days as the storm is scheduled to center on the area area with very strong wind and rain.