Additional Reporting by Mike Lewis
Destruction is an understatement when it comes to the havoc Hurricane Irene unloaded on many areas of the East Coast. The death toll stands at a chilling 40 across 11 states. 3.3 million people are without power, and the estimated damage costs exceed $10 billion. As more information surfaces on the devastation, we learn the toll the storm has taken on the action sports industry. Below is an updated overlook of Hurricane Irene’s mean streak, including the Quiksilver Pro’s Festival cancellation, surfer deaths caused by the storm, and Rome Snowboard’s Vermont office wreckage. An updated photo gallery provides a first-hand look at the damage.
Here’s an updated look at the damage around Vermont’s ski resorts, New Jersey surf, and the swell in South Carolina, (courtesy of Justin Morris).
The Quiksilver Pro, New York
As of Monday night, the city of Long Beach, NY announced clean-up crews will not be able to restore the beach in time for the event to begin this Friday, September 2nd. Thus, the festival associated with the Quiksilver Pro New York–including the skate/BMX/moto/music events, and Tony Hawk’s Vert Jam– will be canceled. Continue to check back to www.quiksilverpro.com for more frequent updates.
The people of North Carolina were apparently hit harder than their neighbors to the south. “Highway 12, the only road connecting the [outer] banks to the mainland was sliced in four separate locations, isolating thousands of people and their homes,” according to Zander Morton of TransWorld Surf.
Surfline reports Irene took at least one surfer death in North Carolina, and TransWorld Surf reports one death in Florida due to the storm’s mean wrath. Frederick “Fico” Fernandez of New Smyrna Beach, Florida lost his life riding the ten foot waves produced by Irene’s swell. According to TransWorld Surf, “Fernandez got into a steep left, wiped out and was driven into the bottom, breaking his neck. He was an amazing surfer and waterman, a great musician and a math teacher at NSB high school. He will be truly missed by all.”
Our condolences go out to both families who lost loved ones due to the surf.
As news of the surprising devastation from land locked Vermont continues to pour in like the flood waters that inundated many communities, we reached out to the Burton camp and found that their offices and staff got through the storm unscathed. Unfortunately it was a different situation at Rome’s Waterbury, Vermont headquarters, where the entire first floor of the building was flooded.
We caught up with Rome Director of Sales Dan Sullivan this morning, who was finally able to get out of his town and return to the offices today, only to be greeted by deep mud that destroyed most of the first floor offices. Sully described the scene outside Rome’s windows that included 60 foot trees dangling off a nearby bridge. Fortunately everyone on the Rome team is fine and several members of the crew were on site during the storm wrapping up the upcoming film “The Shred Remains,” and were able to rescue the company’s hard drives and electronics and move them to higher ground in the building. Unfortunately, like much of the Eastern US, Rome offices are still without power.
“We’re rolling with the punches,” says Sullivan, who doesn’t expect any long term impacts for the company. “Fortunately it happened in the daylight and everybody’s Ok. It’s really a grim scene for the entire town and state. It’s mind boggling to see how high the water got.”