When Is Hurricane Season (For Surfers)

Surfers are a crazy bunch.

We are constantly in search of the biggest swells and look for the type of waves that swimmers and sailors try their best to avoid.

Hurricane-generated waves are a great example of this, because when the high winds hit and everyone makes a beeline for safe havens, the craziest surfers grab their boards and head to the beach.

What Exactly Is A Hurricane?

Both hurricanes and typhoons are tropical cyclones and the only difference between the two is the location.

The term “Hurricane” is used to describe tropical cyclones that occur in the North Atlantic, eastern North Pacific, and central North Pacific.

In the Northwest Pacific, the term “Typhoon” is used while in the Indian Ocean and South Pacific, they are tropical cyclones.

To be classified as any of these terms, the winds of a storm must reach a speed of at least 74 MPH. If it’s between 39 MPH and 73 MPH, it’s a tropical storm.

How Hurricanes Are Categorized

Hurricanes are categorized according to the winds that come with them:

  • Category 1: Winds of 74-95 mph (119-153 km/h)
  • Category 2: Winds of 96-110 mph (154-177 km/h)
  • Category 3: Winds of 111-129 mph (178-208 km/h)
  • Category 4: Winds of 130-156 mph (209-251 km/h)
  • Category 5: Winds exceeding 157 mph (252 km/h)

What causes a hurricane?

Hurricanes feed on warm water which allows them to grow and travel.

They start out as smaller storms and continue to grow until they meet the definition of a category 1 hurricane.

At that point they are considered a hurricane.

As long as a hurricane is above warm water it will continue to grow and travel.

A hurricane is also heavily influenced by warm air and moisture which form the clouds of the storm.

Who picks hurricane names?

World Meteorological Organization (WMO) headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland is the international authority on weather, climate and hydrology.

The WMO is responsible for naming hurricanes.

When Is Hurricane Season?

If you live on the east coast of the United States it’s all about hurricane surf.

The Atlantic Hurricane Season starts June 1 and is over November 30.

The Atlantic Hurricane Season impacts the east coat of the US and the Caribbean including Puerto Rico.

Hurricane season is when 97% of all hurricanes occur, so if you’re chasing those big hurricane waves, this is when you’ll find them.

September 10th is considered the peak of the Atlantic Hurricane Season.

The best time to surf a hurricane swell on the east coast is either when 1) the storm if far enough offshore to send clean swell or 2) after the storm passes and the winds turn offshore.

In the latter scenario, the offshore wind tends to both clean up the surf as well as knock down the size very quickly.

Hurricane surf on the east coast can literally be half the size in the evening as it was in the morning due to the offshore winds of the passing storm.

When Is Hurricane Season in Hawaii

Hurricane season runs from June 1 to early November in Hawaii.

Most seasons, the islands of Hawaii are not directly impacted by hurricanes and there is little to no disruption experienced by them as a result.

how many hurricanes a year

A typical hurricane season brings 6 hurricanes and 3 major hurricanes.

What is the most hurricanes in a year?

2005 brought with it a record 28 storms, 15 of which met the definition of a hurricane.

Years Ranked With the Most Hurricanes

Here is a list of the most hurricanes by year.

RankYearNumber of Hurricanes
1.200515
2.201012
3.196912
4.188711
5.195011
6.199811
7.199511
8.201210
9.193310
10.191610

Hurricane Waves

The intense wind speed that occurs during major tropical storms and cyclones creates immense hurricane swells and extreme waves.

But these waves are not just bigger versions of the ones that you’re used to seeing off the shore of your favorite surfing destinations.

The waves are not constant, nor are they predictable.

The wind moves in a circular pattern and the waves propagate on much deeper water while breaking closer to the shore.

Hurricane Sandy, for instance, was a category 3 on the Saffir-Simpson scale, and this is thought to be strong enough to produce a wave height of between 10 and 14 feet, which can be sustained for 12 to 15 seconds.

Of course, such wind speeds can also be dangerous and are definitely not for inexperienced surfers.

It’s important to understand the effect that these winds have on the waves and on you.

Don’t take them lightly, make sure you’re prepared, keep an eye on those surf forecasts, and surf with a buddy.