While the rest of the city was busy hoarding canned food, a handful of intrepid surfers were instead chasing after Irene, hunting down the elusive big waves that only a big storm can bring. "It's our only chance as East Coast surfers to get large, powerful waves like in other places in the world," said "hurricane surfer" Shea Lopez. "It's exciting being around the hurricane. You can't help but get caught up in the drama."

Just a week prior to the Association of Surfing Professionals World Tour hitting the area, Long Island's Long Beach was crowded with surfers on Saturday, despite an official beach closure. The Daily News also reports that about 50 surfers came to Beach 95th St on Far Rockaway (aka Zone A!) Saturday to catch the six-foot waves before police shooed everyone out. "It was an amazing morning. This is what surfers live for," said Larry Jamieson, who left his house on Nyack at 5 a.m. to hang ten at Rockaway beach. "Surfers are the firemen of the sea. Everyone else is running away from the danger, and we're running toward it."

Here's a few of the highlights—Riding Giants it's not, but Irene's waves weren't too shabby for a bunch of Yanks:

For a first-person perspective:

A lifeguard encourages a little rule-bending:

And finally, this intimate moment between two old friends was caught amongst the stormy chaos.