Residents of Gainesville's closest beach said they prepared for the worst, and in most cases, at least, caught a break.

While St. Johns County was initially expected to endure the wrath of Hurricane Dorian, Crescent Beach — a frequent weekend getaway for Gainesville residents — managed to miss the storm’s effects entirely.

The county’s emergency management officials say the area was lucky, since the beach is still feeling the effects of Hurricane Irma and Matthew from the past few years.

Locals also say they dodged a bullet, and can continue their beach life as usual. Some say they probably over-prepared.

For employees at South Beach Grill, just on the cusp of Crescent Beach’s shore, the worst damage was only slightly related to the hurricane.

Rich Pracel, manager of the seafood hub, returned to his restaurant Wednesday night to 3 feet of water settled in the building and streaming down the stairs “like a waterfall.” The incident wasn’t caused by Dorian, but rather, a burst pipe in the second-floor ceiling.

Pracel said his crew prepared for the worst before following the county’s evacuation orders and placed 80 sandbags at the building’s entry points.

As it turns out, the bags caused the water from the busted pipe to stay contained inside the restaurant.

“We were lucky to dodge the hurricane, but we didn’t dodge the busted pipe,” he said.

South Beach Grill employees used wheelbarrows to roll what was salvageable out of the restaurant on Thursday. The hope is to clear the space in four to five days, bring in a dehumidifier to turn the space “as dry as a desert,” as Pracel said, and reopen in a week.

“It definitely was a freak accident,” said Will Golden, a South Beach Grill sous chef.

Just down the boardwalk from the restaurant, David Banks was visiting the beach for the first time since he flew in for vacation from Dayton, Ohio.

He arrived Tuesday with his wife at the height of anxiety and uncertainty surrounding the storm. Despite the fear, he said he fished for hours at one of the local waterways and never felt unsafe.

“It’s one of my favorite beaches,” he said. “And there was nothing drastic that happened here. No flooding, just some wind and rain.”

Neal Shinkre, St. Johns County’s Public Works director, said Crescent Beach emerged largely unscathed by Dorian. While his crews are still assessing the damage, he said the worst damage was some lost sand on the county’s beaches. But overall, the area does not warrant a massive cleanup effort.

“It’s been pretty quiet here in general,” he said. “We got lucky.”

For surfers, the storm meant favorable waves.

“The beach has a different vibe after a hurricane,” said Terra Vlach, a 33-year-old YouTuber. “The waves are giant. We had a lot of fun.”

The St. Johns resident said Hurricane Irma and Matthew brought more devastation to the area, and those visiting the beach now would probably never know that Dorian was projected to pummel the beach.

Colleen Sullivan, a homeowner roughly 10 miles south of Crescent Beach, said Hurricane Matthew permanently destroyed the trees on her property from the salty sea spray. Though she was equipped with 50 sandbags this time around, Dorian caused hardly any damage.

“It’s all good news today,” she said as she hung towels to dry. “It’s like we triply prepared this time.”