Archive for September, 2010

I know it may be a little too late (or early) to revisit Earl, but Tim Bourne of Identity Surf shot a great video of some Jersey surfing that I wanted to post up.

For me, the video could not have come at a better time. 

Let’s face it, most of can’t surf whenever we feel like it.  There are jobs, families, responsibilities and all of the other facets and complexities of the day-to-day that can keep us out of the water.

Personally, this will often cause a disconnect.  So wrapped up in my busy life, I will at times forget what it means to be a surfer.  I will even occasionally think that I may be done.  “Who has the time?” my brain will tell me. 

It is in moments like this that I am reminded of the infamous line from the Godfather III when Al Pacino says,  “just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in.”

As a surfer, I don’t mean say this with the same brutal angst felt by Michael Corleone.  I actually apply the line with the utmost gratitude and affinity for those who help share the stoke.  Afterall, if I stopped surfing today I can’t turn State’s Witness.  The best I can do is tell you about a few unknown breaks that work best on a south swell at mid-tide.

So this time, with the burdens of “all things life” feeling, well, burdensome- it was Tim’s excellent video of a bunch of guys getting glad on the waves of Earl that drew me back in. 


Now, I will feverishly follow the reports in the hopes that I can get in the water again soon.  Happily thinking to myself, “yes, I am drawn back in!”


Floating Over Igor

I have had the fortune of meeting some really cool people through surfing.  As a sport it has a way of bringing people together, because it is true that “only a surfer understands the feeling.”  Igor, and his swell, helped fortify that level of shared community even further.

On Friday evening I surfed with Philly Dan.  We met in Ocean Grove because he was interested in buying a board I had for sale. We got a few waves together and he walked away with my Local Motion.  Having never met before I was stoked to have had the chance to grab a few waves with someone new. 

Cool Pictures from Michael Pallers

 But parting with a board is sweet sorrow.  I realize that they are only pieces of foam and fiberglass, but I cannot help but forming emotional attachments.  In many ways it feels like getting dumped by a girl in high school- you know deep down it is not a big deal, but still it sucks.

On the other hand, now there is room in my quiver for a new board. That is where Gene Wahl and Essence Surf will step in.  I know he has big things happening with his designs and I am excited to see where he is heading. I am also happy that Philly Dan will get some really great waves with it.

 After we had surfed early Igor together, with evening settling in, I met Michel Paller.  She was one the beach shooting these pictures, which she was kind enough to share with Sea Sand Surf.  She was super cool and is down for shooting pictures of anyone’s epic session, just send her an email.

The guys in the photos were sharing in the fun.  They had surfed in LBI Friday morning and came north of the Jersey Bend to grab a few.

 The conditions were not the greatest, but it was a nice start to things.  After all, what is better than surfing some fun waves with new friends?  I can’t think of much.

Swell Chart

The hype is starting build.  If pre-swell momentum was measured in drops in the proverbial bucket than the East Coast would be experiencing a flash flood right now.

But how good will Igor be to us?  There is one sure way to tell so take this as a tip:

Multiply the number of stars being granted on MagicSeaweed by the number of posts in the forums at NYNJSurfer.  Take that sum and divide it by the number of hours you plan on ditching work, shunning household duties or ignoring incoming phone calls.  That number will give you a total, which when converted to inches and measured against the height of your average 1829 German Beer Stein will reveal the size of the average wave face forthcoming.

Or you can just see what Professor Sak is saying.

It is official.  The NFL is on my television and the evenings are cool.  I have pulled some of the last tomatoes off of my back yard vines and the summer has gone to bed.

Sure, it will get hot for a few days again.  The beaches might even get crowded on a Saturday afternoon, but June is further away than February.

Surfers know that this is not the time for despair though.  My tip: keep stretching, exercise and get ready for Hurricane Igor

If you are looking for some social activity, don’t forget the Surf Bash at the Algonquin Theater in Manasquan on September 18th.  Who can’t use some excellent surf art from Jay Alders and the mellow music of Matt Costa?  With Surfrider and Original Skateboards helping sponsor, it will be a good evening.

Also, mark your calendars for the New York Surf Film Festival which takes place on the weekend of September 24th in Tribeca.  Looking at the program The Dark Fall and Being Captain Zero both jump out at me. 

In that same vein, I thought I would share this short film by Carmen Vicari; just another talented East Coast guy getting it done.   Thanks for checking in.


On the continuum that begins at hype and ends somewhere in reality, Earl was on the reality side of the border- somewhere between fantastical imagining and gritty, in your face 3 dimensional manifestation. The swell was the focal point of countless hours of news programming, keeping Sam Champion and Al Rocker pleasantly fed.  So the hype level was high. 

As a surfer I can always tell when East Coast Swells make their way into the mass consciousness of our collective society.  I measure this by the text messages that I receive.  If there are waves and I only hear from surfers, well then, all is right in the world and few are paying attention.  When the swell is heavily hyped I receive messages from coworkers, friends and family telling me to be safe.  It is by these messages that I am able to tell if the swell has the infiltrated thoughts of popular culture.

Sam Champion Told You to Stay Out of the Water

In this area Earl was on the radar.  I received 4 separate well wishes by really good people, cheering me on and imploring me not to drown. 

The only question was if Earl would deliver?  Happily, Earl came with the goods, albeit, not perfect but real. The Saturday morning session was crowded, warm and intense.  The long swell lines were hard to pick and the line between makeable sections and a rinse in the washing machine blurred continually.  By the evening the incoming tide interjected a second level of juice and the walls held up longer. Everyone relished in a second session.

It was this second session that projected Earl from a storm of general hype, to a swell worth adding to the card catalog of surfing memories.  I heard some rumblings that the evening swell was more a product of a faltering Fiona than a feisty Earl, but I have no idea.  That is where the professionals like Duke Storm step in and explain the semantics to laymen such as myself.  What I can tell you is that Labor Day Weekend 2010 will be remembered for the waves Earl sent our way.

Feel the Trim

Earl Had Everyone Running for Cover

Thanks for checking in.  Earl is a popular guy right now.  While the name generally invokes an image of NASCAR and canned beer for me, the approaching storm has me thinking about the chance for some great waves.  I was trying to recall, but I think it was Fabian who brought the last decent tropical swell for Labor Day Weekend?  Don’t quote me on that, but I think I may be right. I do remember getting a fun swell a few years back with a storm at the start of the alphabet for the official close of summer, and I am hoping for a repeat.

Early Earl

I received a text this morning (thanks Tim) that the first hint of the storm was in the water.  “Waist high and mostly clean” was the early read. Unfortunately, I am in high season professionally and the chance to drop it all for a wave did not present itself for me.  I did however get to the Atlantic Ocean’s edge with enough time to snap a few photos of early Earl.  The winds were heavy from the south and conditions were less than ideal,  still the crew in the water looked to be having a blast.  And yes, the water is warm.

Here is hoping for more to come.