Archive for May, 2010

 

The weather has certainly cooperated for an absolutely amazing Memorial Day Weekend at the Jersey Shore.  As the clouds parted and summer wafted in the air, people lined up to get a spot on the sand.  The beaches were crowded by 9 a.m. and continued to swell as the heat rose. 

As most people know, a day at the beach is about simplicity; a warm peanut butter and jelly sandwich, a tube of sunblock and an old pair of flip-flops magically become the “finer things in life.”  In essence, it is about getting to the edge of the ocean and leaving it all behind. 

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As is typical of Memorial Weekends past, the ocean did not produce for the surfers.  The waves laid flat, except for the Saturday morning wave that came up between 6 and 10 a.m.  I was able to get a session with 20 of my closest friends (more on crowds another time). 

 

The good news is that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is predicting a very active tropical season.  They are calling for as many as 23 named storms with anywhere between 8 and 14 hurricanes.  By my very unscientific account we have a chance to see waves every week and maybe even some very good ones at that. 

This could be great for us, terrible for the folks in the Gulf States.  The oil still flows unabated.  However, Kevin Costner may have a solution.  I cannot believe that I just wrote that, but you can see the video here.  You just have to forget that Costner starred in The Bodyguard and then it is utterly believable. 

Thanks for checking in and enjoy your Monday BBQs!

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There is a good chance that we will have a small wave in the water tomorrow morning. I have packed my 7s Superfish in the trunk of my car and I will get a look at it with my morning coffee.  After surfing I intend on bringing the 6’4” Local Motion to the board swap taking place at the Brave New World over Memorial Weekend.    

The shop is generally overpriced, but they have the best selection of gear and clothing in the area.  Check their website out.  The trick is to look for the deals.  I did get my Xcel wetsuit there last summer for 99 bucks.  It was hidden in the back of the racks, so it cannot be all bad. 

The Spring Lake 5 is tomorrow morning too.  I will not be running but it is a great scene.  It always feels like that is the start of summer!

Face it, if you have checked in to Sea Sand Surf before you know that I have to start this post discussing the worst environmental disaster facing our planet in a long time.  I will try not to bore you with the details other than to say that this “spill” is currently estimated to be 2 to 3 times larger than the Valdez disaster.  Of course no one is really sure how much oil is leaking, so I will suffice it to say that it is “a lot.” 

British Petroleum CEO Tony Hayward has been working diligently to think of creative ways to stop the leak with no end in sight.  Today he was overheard saying to President Obama that “Bounty is the quicker picker upper.”  I guess that sure beats stuffing the hole with golf balls.  However, if they used that method Tiger Woods might become relevant again, and Hayward is apparently leveraged heavily in Nike stock, so for him the golf ball method would be a “win-win.” 

Thankfully, President Obama has declared a 6 month moratorium on offshore drilling which is just enough time for everyone to forget this ever happened.  Coincidently the end of the moratorium will come as a new season of American Idol begins.  The hope is that this will stop anyone from actually formulating an opinion in their free time.

This is not to hint that the news is all bad.  Today, New Jersey Senator Robert Menendez came out and said that a moratorium is insufficient, and that a ban on offshore drilling is the only acceptable decision.  Send him an email and tell him to keep fighting for our ocean and our beaches.

As a final note on the topic, you know it must be bad when it is all I want to write about after coming off of 2 days of very good surf.  I will leave Localswell to chronicle the events for you as Tom Spader has amassed a collection of awesome photos that detail the excellent south east swell that just passed through.

If you are looking for a board this weekend get on over to Brave New World in Point Pleasant.  I just got off the phone with Ryan and he told me they have a board swap starting Friday at 10:00 am and it runs through Memorial Day Monday.  Get your board over early before the sale starts as lots of folks will be cruising down to the beach for sure.

Thanks for checking in!

As we get ready for summer road trips and days at the beach I thought I would give you a few albums that are worth your while.

The Hold Steady, Heaven is Whenever- Craig Finn is back, not that he and his band ever left.  It seems like they have been on tour nonstop since Boys and Girls in America.  The bar room anthems are better than ever, with great piano and guitar. They are out on the road too and are absolutely worth seeing live. 

The National, High Violet- With deep baritone vocals from Matt Berninger The National have cut their own cloth. They should have a spot for anyone who longs for dripping sweaty songs that never really bare themselves completely but tantalize enough to keep you coming back for more.

The New Pornographers, Together- These guys jangle and ramble with melodic sense and power pop chords.  It helps that Neko Case is one of the key vocalists.  Anything she touches turns to gold.  A few listens to the album and you will never think of Canada the same way.

 Thanks for checking in!

One of the cool parts about beach life in New Jersey is the fact that you are never far removed from that space where urban living meets the edge of the shore.  Coming back from a surf check a few days ago I snapped some photos of that urban beauty.

 

Walk through this gate for a block and a half and you are sitting on the beach staring at the horizon.

And of course there is the prize at the end of the journey…

New Jersey just had a couple of fun days of surf.  I missed the better part of it, which was yesterday, due to obligations.  That is the bad news.  The good news is that I was able to get a few waves today in Avon and it was great.  Surfed with a cool local by the name of Ed.  He rode a similar old school board to Big Red, which you can read about in earlier posts.  Ed definitely had his old log moving. 

While I could not fit a surf in yesterday, I was able to snap a few late evening photos which follow.  It was glassy, waist to chest high and it looked like a good time was had by all.

A Little Left

 

As far as water temperature goes the winter gear is officially falling away.  I was in my Xcel Superlight which is a 3mm with boots and gloves and I felt fine.

In unrelated news we can now watch the devastation produced by the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico via streaming video.  It is not hours of entertainment, however it does help put the problem in perspective.  I have not decided if this is perverse or intellectually astute.  You be the judge. 

Thanks for checking in.

 

   

  

Imagine waking up on a September morning after a fitful night of sleep.  It is just after sunrise, the air is cool, but warming quickly with the sunshine and there are only two lazy clouds floating in the blue sky.  You hop on your beach cruiser and ride a few blocks to check the waves, a warm cup of coffee in your hand as you jaunt casually down the street.  Along the way you see one of your buddies who has rustled himself early too, his smile sheepish and excited.  

It is just as you had hoped.  The projected south swell you knew was coming because of Magicseaweed is cranking away.  The long period walls are compliments of a hurricane spinning well offshore.  The winds are out of the west and the ocean is glass.  This is what East Coast surfers live for.    

Your first inclination is to gulp the last sip of your java as you bolt back home to grab your favorite board.  This cannot happen fast enough.  The birds are singing, the summer crowds have gone back to their urban haunts, and you could not feel happier.   

Worth a Few Minutes of Your Time?

Except, there is one small problem.  The oil spill caused by recent drilling off of the eastern seaboard is a natural disaster of major proportions.  As a surfer you can do little but volunteer to clean crude oil from the dying seagulls.  The dead fish along the shoreline merely remind you that the perfect waves breaking off of the jetties are now off-limits. 

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You are overcome with sadness as you stand there with your friend.  You are rendered helpless, a silent observer with no words or actions to reverse the events that have so badly spoiled the beach that you love. This spill is even worse than the one that took place in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010.    

You would never admit this now as you somberly watch a gull blackened with a sickening sheen struggle to fight the pull of the undertow; but you did nothing when you had the chance.  You chose to sit quietly by as your local politicians planned to drill.  Sure, you read some stupid blog and even considered joining Surfrider, but “you did not have the time.”  You came close to emailing your Governor, but something “important” came up.     

As your friend, with tears in his eyes, bemoans his wish to surf one of the perfect peeling rights, you stay quiet once again.  You could never share now that you did not express your opinions to the Federal Government, to your Senator or your Congressman when you had the chance. Afterall, you are just one surfer and what difference would that have made right?