The First Day of Winter

The first day of winter is little more than a date to a Texas surfer and yet it still holds a special significance.  The 21st of December on the upper coast of Texas can be 25 degrees and icy or 80 degrees and sunny.  Some years rainy weather and the grey, muddy gloom of winter has been in effect for weeks by the time the third week of December rolls around.  Other years can be warm and drought-plagued as dry “Indian Summer” conditions occur.


In a normal year, wave generating cold fronts start passing through around mid-October and mark the beginning of Texas’s surf season.  in a good year, several wave-making fronts will have already come and gone by December 21st.  In these years “the first day of winter” merely means a confirmation of what’s been going on and a continuation or maybe even an escalation of it!


In a bad year, a year when the surf season is late to arrive.  A year when the flatness of summer has continued through fall and nearly into winter.  A year when suffocating heat and humidity, fiendish mosquitoes, never-ending acres of seaweed rotting in putrid piles and jellyfish of all kinds linger on far beyond what’s good and decent.  In these years this day does have significance.  At this point a Texas surfer would be rightfully justified to righteously feel every expectation that the cold fronts should damn well start coming through now, after all it is “The First Day of Winter”!


This video was shot on December 21st 2007 at the Flagship pier in Galveston Texas.  This was a classic front for Texas surfing meaning the front passed the coast in the morning leaving light to moderate offshore winds and a pumping day of surf.

video shot with canon xl2

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