Irene Watchers Skip Work, School for Trip to Beach | Weather

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Irene Watchers Skip Work, School for Trip to Beach

JACKSONVILLE BEACH, Fla. -- As Hurricane Irene moved by the First Coast hundreds of miles east of Jacksonville, the storm's wake was crashing at the beach.

"Usually I'm at work right now," said Gena Klehm. "But it was a slow day, so I took it off and here I am. I wouldn't miss it."

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Klehm and her friend Donna Klein were a couple of the hundreds that came out to watch the churning ocean today.

Some waves were as large as 15 feet as the sets broke near eye level at the end of the pier. "I've tried to get out there twice already, now I'm going for my third," said Joey Mainville. 

MORE: Hurricane Irene Heads North

He's been surfing here 38 years, but even with all that experience, he said it was a tough day to surf. "Once you paddle through a couple breaks, you think you're out, then another set crashes on you," he said.

Mainville also made the decision to play instead of work today. He runs Mainville's Martial Arts in Ponte Vedra Beach. 

"I wouldn't miss it, there are a lot of excited surfers out here today."

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