March27 , 2023

    Staying Near “The Poles”


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    If you ask any North Florida surfer where the best surf spots in Jacksonville are, the Mayport Poles will undoubtedly be somewhere at the top of the list. You might hear talk of the Jax Beach Pier, North Jetty, or maybe a recent sandbar that’s firing, but you won’t get out of the discourse without the Poles being mentioned…and not only mentioned but held in the highest esteem. Especially when there’s a Nor’easter brewing, that’s when you better get out to Poles boy. These venerated wooden pilings—so secretly envied by every average sandbar in town—they are the ones that recently brought to my mind the most venerated of all poles, the wooden cross that stood on Calvary Hill.

    The Poles are a dividing line between Hannah Park and Naval Station Mayport. They span a distance that stretches from the sand dunes to the ocean’s edge, and even continue out into the water for about 20 or 30 yards. Whenever a structure juts out into the ocean, like a pier, jetties, or anything of the sort, the waves break much better for surfers. A lot of times you’ll find these spots packed with dozens of surfers while just a mile down the road there lies an empty beach break. They’re just that much better, no question.

    “I was greeted by some of summertime’s finest—chest high mounds as clean as a whistle. A good day to not have a tight schedule.”

    With swells from Tropical Storm/Hurricane Chris marching toward our beaches all week long, I took advantage of an unscheduled Friday morning to go play. The Poles, they were calling my name, or…was it Zak from church?? Someone was calling my name, whoever it was, and I heeded the beckoning. Turns out Zak’s dawn session ended by the time I got there. I’ll catch’m next time.

    There wasn’t a huge crowd yet, so I headed right out at one of the main peaks, which was just to the immediate right of the actual set of poles. Directly to the left, there was another amazing peak. Typical for there.