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Laurence Gray Sprunt

1927 - 2016

Inducted into the NC Surfing Hall of fame with the Founders Class of 2023

Hurricane Warnings!

By Laurence Gray Sprunt

Hurricane warnings! Hurricane warnings! The news sent a chill down the spines of us boys. It meant that the waves at Wrightsville Beach would be the best of the year and we all loved body surfing. Surfboards were not well invented yet. The weather reporting was not nearly as good as it is now. Most hurricanes passed off the mainland and only caused big waves in the ocean and if they did hit the beach the damage was for our parents and the insurance companies to worry about. We were going to have fun surfing and having a party.

In a day or two the reports became ominous and all of a sudden we became electrified hurrying to get our boats out of the water. As we hurried, an old man from down the street approached us and said “Would you bully boys help me get my boat out of the water?” We thought how irresponsible it was for him to wait until the last minute when we were completely busy.


Now a flashback of about 15 years hit me. At that time my father was recovering from tuberculosis and was not much help in coaching me in sports. This old neighbor realized all of this and suggested that I enter the junior casting contest. Not having a conventional reel and rod he said that he would help.

“Go to Canadys and buy for about $1.50 a 12-foot Calcutta cane pole and get a reel with a light line.”

He then showed me how to set the ferrules on the pole; how to seat the reel; how to taper a four-ounce lead bank sinker to streamline it; how to hold my arms; place the sinker on the sand; and throw the sinker. The best men could cast over 400 feet and after coaching for several weeks I could cast about 325 feet. Finally I came in second in the tournament and it made me feel very good in sports for the first time in my life. My confidence was built high all due to the old man's help and coaching. I never felt better.

“Yes sir ” I replied. “Mr. Burke Haywood Bridgers”  get your boat out of the water right away.”

From a collection of articles by Laurence Gray Sprunt found in Wrightsville Beach Magazine:​

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