WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH -- Around here there were predictions that Gabrielle would bring heavy rain, high winds and strong rip currents. But surfers in Wrightsville Beach didn't see any of that. Surfers expecting to see big waves were hit with a wave of disappointment when they saw the surf Sunday afternoon. Surfer James Paul said, "I thought they were a lot smaller than I expected. I was expecting like seven-foot, glass, really nice, but it really wasn't too big." Lifeguards and ocean rescue officials however, were not disappointed by Tropical Storm Gabrielle. Swimmers had originally been warned of high rip currents, but the warning faded as the day went on. Jeremy Owens with Ocean Rescue said, "We always prepare for the worst. We were expecting larger surf, stronger rip currents, but it turned out where the offshore winds really knocked the shore down and our rip current risk has gone down to the moderate level." "Today we're just advising swimmers the usual, use caution when swimming in the ocean." Not only did the rip current warning fade, but so did the clouds, leaving some beachgoers happy they decided to brave the storm and spend the day on the sand. Elizabethtown resident Paul Johnson said, "Didn't stop us one bit, we love the beach we love coming down here and I'm kind of glad it didn't come because it would have ruined a nice day." Other beachgoers were disappointed by the surprisingly nice weather. "This is a big disappointment. We came out here to check out the waves and see something to watch and there's nothing here." And two words sum up Sunday afternoon best: "typical day."
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