Archive for the ‘For the love of the sport’ Category


“Once in awhile you get shown the light in the strangest of places if you look at them right.”

Praying for Funsets!


The Grateful Dead had a line in a song that always struck me: “once in a while we can get shown the light in the strangest of places if we look at them right.”  I share that, because even though the ocean has been flat, I have still seen surfing in so many places in my travels recently. 

First, I had the opportunity to sit and discuss surfing with Sam Hammer yesterday.  We got together over a cup of coffee in Point Pleasant.  It was an awesome interview, and as always Hammer proved himself to be a solid guy.  I look forward to sharing the contents with you soon. 

Secondly, I was riding my bike yesterday morning trying to mind my cardio in the event that waves do come (and they will).  In my travels I came across this piece of wood sitting next to a dumpster in Bradley Beach.  I sought the owner of the shop out, and when he saw me standing next to the thing all I had to do was point.  He said, “what, do you want to make a board out of that?” 

So, You Think it Will Float?


I said, “I think it will float” to which he responded “of course it will float.  That is the way they used to make them.  Take it away.”  Another project to add to the list. 

Lastly, I came across another Todd Stewart film.  I know that the summer is busy, the beaches are packed, but this is a great reminder that we can still have a nice get away with the ocean.  Does anyone else smell autumn in the air? 

Image: Oil leak in Gulf of Mexico If this image does not give a New Jersey surfer pause nothing will.  This is a portion of the now 85 mile wide oil slick that is destroying the Gulf of Mexico and is threatening beaches and marine life. 

Keep in mind that the rig that sank off of the coast of Louisiana is currently spewing 5,000 barrels of oil a day.  “Officials” do not have a conclusive timeframe for when they will be able to shut the oil flow off.  Some reports have estimated it to be a minimum of 30 days.  There are plans in place to light the slick on fire to “burn it off.”

Fire boat response crews battle the blazing remnants of the off shore oil rig Deepwater Horizon

Please keep in mind that this rig was 50 miles from shore.  The proposed exploration off of the lovely coast of New Jersey will take place within 15 miles of Cape May. 


An event like this would destroy our beaches, kill our wildlife and pollute our estuaries for a long time.  This does not even factor in the loss of our ability to surf.  Imagine not being able to hit your local beach break because  you were too busy trying to rescue seabirds.

Get informed.  Contact a local New Jersey Senator like Robert Menendez and let him know your views.  Stay stoked and let your voice be heard.

Surfing is as much about passion as it is about any one emotion. Certainly, there is the love of the sport which begins as respect for the mere physical act.  There is the adulation experienced when catching a nice wave and riding it successfully.  Often times there is the excited burst of energy that comes from being in the ocean, much like a feeling of contented bliss.  Of course there is the awe that the ocean inspires, which I wrote about in a previous blog titled Both Sides of the Gun.  Even though these are all real emotions associated with surfing, passion is what drives the surfer’s engine.  

What else would enable a surfer to commit to the art of surfing given the challenges associated with it?  In order to maintain the life of a surfer it is ever important that the passion be fueled.  I am not the first to chronicle the near religious devotion that many surfers acquire as they participate in the sport.  I propose that this devotion is due in part to the fact that surfers are plugged into a source greater than themselves, which is the ocean, but that is fodder for further exploration another time.  

The Fuel for the Fire

So what is a person supposed to do when they feel the fire inside of them begin to die?  Is it time to buy a pair of roller blades and a helmet made in China?  Maybe it is an opportune moment to take up knitting or to build bird houses?  That is it!  Hang up the Xcel wetsuit, trade in the 7s Superfish and stop looking at Localswell and Surfline all together.  Forget that Magicseaweed exists. Should you tell yourself that Al Merrick is a romance novelist and convince yourself that a wave is something the prom queen does to the people in her court? 

I do not think so my friend.  There are things a person can do to cultivate this passion.  One of them is what you are doing now, and that is to read about the sport.  It is equally important that you discuss surfing with other surfers.  It is important that fellow surfers help keep the passion alive for one another through the down times, the flat spells, injuries and the times where access to the ocean is just not happening. 

One of the last, and most productive things a surfer can do is to mind surf a wave.  When you are unable to get on the real deal, you can just sit back and imagine yourself dropping in.  Look for the sweet spot in the photograph and picture the line you would draw.  Are you hanging back and waiting for the barrel to overrun you or are you looking for a place to ride high? I suppose it does not matter much, as long as you fan that flickering flame before it sputters out completely.