Archive for the ‘Surf Check’ Category


While all of those who trick or treated donned their costumes yesterday I pulled on my wetsuit and grabbed a few knee high waves.  It was a bit of a shock to my system to find out that the water temperature had dropped to a brisk 59 degrees.

Fortunately, I had booties on along with my 3/2 wetsuit.

This set-up was fine given that the sun was shining, and I was able to surf for a comfortable hour.  Still, when I got out my fingers were numb, and I suffered from a bit of tooth chatter.  The moral of the story is that winter suit season is rapidly approaching. 

As a matter of fact, the chances are slim that I will surf next time without gloves.

I am sure that there is some hearty soul somewhere who is “trunking” it one last time and they have a club for that type of a person…


I on the other hand will be shopping for a new wetsuit.  Something in the 5/3 range to help me transition through the next two months before the heart of winter is upon us.  Then the 5/3 can go away as I dress in what amounts to a seal pelt.

I will let you know what my wetsuit search reveals. 

And speaking of searches; while we in North East prepare for the frigid season, it was awesome to see the WCT Rip Curl Search get underway in Puerto Rico.  The webcast is actually entertaining!

I find myself following the Pro Scene more and more intently.  I guess that is due to the fact that modern media is making it possible to watch the competition between the heavy hitters in real time. 

I must also admit that I really pulling for Slater to win his 10th  world title.  This guy is the Michael Jordan AND Tiger Woods of surfing combined, and I am rooting for him through every heat.

As for the rest of us mortals, the end of the week is looking as though we may be poised for some fun swell in New Jersey too.  Keep monitoring reports and get those booties ready.  It looks as though you may need them if you plan on surfing for any length of time.


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.

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.


I know I have blogged about this before, but often times surfing is about learning lessons in the water that apply to my life outside of the waves.  For instance there is patience, and a willingness to wait for a wave and be at peace in the process.  This mindset works wonders in a crowded grocery store or when frustration or anxiety bubbles inside of me.  

There is also the lesson of commitment; either the commitment to drop in on a wave, or paddling out in conditions that challenge my own ability.  At times it is has been the commitment to work my way back into the water from a nagging injury or a prolonged flat spell.  I have been able to apply this perseverance to all areas of my professional and family life with great rewards.  The commitment to surf always pays dividends. 

I learned another lesson on gratitude this weekend.  We had a small swell and the opportunity to surf was there.  After a morning session I went and watched the Warrior Challenge with some folks from the Training Room.  These fine people were raising money for Task Force Dagger which was established to assist wounded special operations soldiers and their families in their time of need.  I am very grateful that these men and women risk their lives so that we can do many things, including surf.  

Hugh Meehan Supports the Walter Reed Foundation

Josh Motta of Seven Special Forces Group, Fort Bragg

Protecting a Local Break

 This event raised $10,000 for a very worthy cause.  I have a tendency to get caught up in my daily life and I lose sight of the fact that some people give so willingly.  It was a great day to be reminded.

Another place where I learned something recently was via a short film created by Todd Stewart titled The Surf Magazines Don’t Talk About Lapsed Catholics.  It is amazing, and touches on a few of the primary lessons that any surfer needs to learn (and in my case relearn again and again).  

Enjoy and 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…



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. 


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?


I must admit I am bummed.  The weather feels like summer and for two days we have been blessed with a nice south swell.  I am sure many of the Jersey crew can attest to that, because every time I looked at the Surfline camera from my computer at work I saw you picking them off in Belmar.  

The closest I was able to get was snapping a few quick photos at one of my favorite beachies as I was running off to an evening meeting.  Don’t get me wrong, I feel very grateful that I was able to cruise past the ocean for even that short moment, as I know there are many people who do not even get that.  Still, I would be lying if I did not say that I was kicking myself.  

An Early Evening Peeler

This frustration at not getting wet is very valid.  Like most surfers the ocean is my refuge and it brings me solitude and peace.  It is also a great workout and surfing gives me the chance to put it all in perspective.    

The good news is that reports look somewhat positive for a Saturday surf.  We have a chance to see a few 3 footers and some favorable winds.  I am keeping the stoke alive and will continue to monitor via Magicseaweed.  I have the 7s Superfish waxed and ready to go.  

Sea Sand Surf has some cool things on the horizon too.  I have an interview slated with Ann Coen, one of the preeminent surf photographers in New Jersey.  Keep your eye out for that as I will get her take on the East Coast scene, New Jersey rippers and I will look to showcase some of her awesome work for those who are unfamiliar with it. 

Brother Dan is traipsing off into the woods and I will have an interview with him coming soon too.  For those who do not know him, he is a classic adventurer, an all around great surfer and a trip and a half.  Stoked to get him on board. 

The last note I will share is that, while I did not get to surf (kook), I did get a moment of peace from our beloved ocean.  So I implore you to protect our beaches, stay informed and save the waves. 

Breathe In...

Thanks for spending your time checking in.  It means the world.  Stay stoked.