As thousands of people evacuate their homes to escape the destructive path of Irene, thrill-seeking surfers have been flocking to beaches to take advantage of the 30-foot plus waves. According to reports, hurricane swells – the waves created outside the direct area of the hurricane – are reaching up to 30 feet along the East Coast. But as beachgoers started to enjoy the surf, New Jersey governor Chris Christie warned: “Get the hell off the beach.“ Read more and see more pics after the jump!!


(DailyMail)–One of the biggest surfing competitions in the world, the 49th annual East Coast Surfing Championships, is underway on Virginia Beach, Virginia.

‘The risk, the excitement factor… getting really good waves is addicting,’ said hurricane surfer Shea Lopez who is competing. ‘It’s something that’s uncommon. I couldn’t be any more excited for any day of the year.’

Mr Lopez, 37, said he is monitoring the East Coast to see where to go next.

It’s our only chance as East Coast surfers to get large, powerful waves like in other places in the world,’ he told ABC News. ‘It’s exciting being around the hurricane. You can’t help but get caught up in the drama.’

The competition’s rounds are being rushed through so the contest is over before conditions become too dangerous.

The primary concern is for the safety of the competitors and spectators,’ Kevin Gaydosh, spokesman for the competition , told ABC News. 

‘There’s nobody that has a healthier respect for the water than surfers.’