Surfers, Undeterred By Warnings, Head To Beaches For Hurricane Jose

Sep 18, 2017

With a tropical storm warning in effect for Rhode Island and the South Coast of Massachusetts, stormy waters have already swept several people off rocks in Narragansett. In Newport, officials are warning residents to stay out of the water as Hurricane Jose brings rip tides and heavy surf. But the weather has area surfers hitting the beach.

About a dozen people were out catching waves at Narragansett Town beach Monday morning, as the swells grew. According to surf reports, waves are expected to rise above nine feet as the storm gets closer.

At Narragansett Surf and Skate Shop, employees say this September has been one of the most lucrative in years due to a series of storms in the Atlantic. Pete Schmaltz came all the from Ontario to surf Narragansett.

“We just drove down from Canada, like yesterday,” said Schmaltz. “The hurricanes down south churn up the ocean and send massive swell up this way. It’s basically just colliding with the shore right now, and making really big waves."

Schmatlz counted as many as 50 people surfing at Narragansett Town Beach on Monday. 

Narragansett resident Medelise Reifsteck had also been out taking advantage of the larger-than-usual waves.    

“And it looks like we have more systems building behind each one that’s coming through,” said Reifstec. “So it’s kind of created this phenomenon of waves every day for the most part. And after a summer where we didn’t have a lot happen, it’s been pretty sweet.”

Reifsteck said she’s been surfing for more than a decade, and these waves are not for beginners.

“If you don’t know what you’re doing, you certainly should not be out surfing these waves,” said Reifsteck. “Or you should be way off on a shoulder, or inside a little bit. It’s definitely not the type of swell that a beginner should be going out in.”

Waves are expected to swell from six to 11 feet as Jose heads north bringing rain and wind, and likely more surfers, to Southern New England.