Like anything built on oceanfront property, the Springmaid Pier in Myrtle Beach is no stranger to destruction. One of the first major piers along the Carolinas’ coast, Springmaid succumbed to Hurricane Hazel just months after completion in 1954, and Hurricane Hugo in 1989, not to mention the damage in 1959 when a fighter pilot ejected himself into the Atlantic before his plane crashed into the structure.
Most recently, in September 2016 as Hurricane Matthew battered the coast, Mike Frits, general manager at the adjacent DoubleTree Resort, watched from a hotel room as the pier crumbled into the waves. “Pilings and lumber stacked up fifteen feet high,” Frits says. This summer, though, the 1,068-foot pier opens again with a slimmer, sturdier frame supported by steel and concrete strong enough to withstand a Category 4 storm. Projected to open by July 4, the pier will once again welcome locals and vacationers alike to cast lines into the lucky waters below. (An angler once hooked a 125-pound tarpon there, and in 1983, another caught an eleven-pound Spanish mackerel—still the state record.)
“It’s the longest pier on the Grand Strand, which means it gets out over the deepest water, and therefore has the best fishing,” Frits says. “The other day somebody climbed onto the construction site with his fishing pole. He just couldn’t wait for the pier to open again.”