Archive for the ‘Sessions’ Category

As the last winter storm pushed out to sea it left some damn fine surf in its wake.  The waves turned on for an a few hours in the middle of the day and the wind shifted off-shore.  It should not go unsaid that the water temperatures were hovering just above 37 degrees, which meant that the crew who made it out were able to feast as opposed to famine. 

Below are a few of the photos I snapped. 

No need for a GPS to find your way here.

An unknown rider summoning his inner guide

Make a right at the light and go straight into night

More tube time than the Holland Tunnel

A mid-winter traffic jam

With barely a soul to see


Which suits this guy just fine


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!”


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

10 Things That Made Danielle Great

1)      The water was warm, and the sun was shining

2)      The crowds.  Hell man it is summer.  If you can’t beat ‘em (and you can’t) join ‘em

3)      Finding a nugget to yourself, like this unnamed fortunate soul did (no it was not me)

(There was a beautiful photo here but in respect of the break you will have to imagine it) 

4)      She was a great test of all things surf reporting.  Did anyone not know a week ahead of time?

5)      Surfing with groms who were yelling OUTSIDE! at the sight of an approaching set.

6)      Seeing said groms stoked on grabbing their first hurricane swell

7)      Knowing that Earl is coming, and did someone say Fiona ( and I don’t mean apple)

8)      Seeing a few college guys who got some waves before a landlocked semester

9)      Realizing that Labor Day is a few days away and the crowds well, will not be as crowded

10)   Paddle shape, paddle shape, paddle shape.

The Earth Says Hello

Whenever I am faced with the decision about whether I should make it a long night out or a dawn patrol I have always chosen the latter.  To me there is little better than getting in the water and surfing just as the sun is breaking the horizon.  Crowds are usually at a minimum, and the wind almost always stays light so that conditions are clean and glassy.

This morning was no different. After almost two weeks without waves every surfer I know was waiting for the small swell that came our way today. This was evidenced by the number of people who were in the water with me at 6:00 am. The local crowd was in effect, with Travis “Big Hack,” “Step-Down” James and “Long Board” Dean all sitting at one of my favorite spots exchanging waves.  I was happy to join them.

The waves were small and summery.  It was like a few drops of water on the tongue while wandering the desert; just enough to keep you going but not enough to quench the thirst.

There were a few other faces that I did not recognize.  While waiting for a set I overheard their conversation, and I realized that localism is not dead, especially for the dawn patrol crowd.  One of the guys was barking about “some Guido who has been on the beach all summer, yelling and barking out orders to his friends and family.”  The guy went on with much vigor about how he “hopes to see him in the water one day.”

At Least For the DP

I would say that this alarmed me somewhat, but this was dawn patrol.  This was local hour, and I was somewhat glad that there was an inclination to regulate in the pack.  In fairness to everyone else, I will go squeeze in among the herbs and kooks for an afternoon session when the tide drops after 2:00 pm, and I fully expect a free for all of tourists and Bennies. 

That will be fine.  Locals can play nice in the sandbox then, just as long as we have the dawn patrol intact.

I just got back from Baja! 

Baja Fresh that is.  They continually sucker us back for their food with “buy one get one” coupons.  I rationalize going there for a meal rather than a far cooler place like 1oth Ave. Burrito by convincing myself that the money saved will actually fund a surf trip sometime in the near future.   So while eating, I kicked around in my own personal Wander Lust Hotel, and I thought about some of the places I would love to go for waves. 

10th Ave. Artwork- Jersey Represents

Before hitting the road though I figure I should get myself that new board I keep talking about.  Maybe I will go for the Lost… SDII, as it looks like it could be a performer in a wide array of conditions.

Now, where do I go with all of that “buy one get one cash” I socked away?  Here are the 5 surf destinations that sparked my wander lust today:

1. New Zealand-  I figure that the long flight will mean that I should plan for an extended stay, which is fine with me.  Hitting the countryside in between swells sounds like a great plan.  I suppose I would start this trip with a session (or week) at Raglan.

2. J-Bay, South Africa- What regular foot would not have their interest peaked by the photos and history behind a wave like Jeffrey’s Bay?


3. Biarritz, France- In the summer you have a warm, trunkable lineup crowded with hundreds of people, and an area teeming with things to do.  Great food in between sessions would be a draw for anyone too.

4. Cloud Nine, Philippines- The wave is a tube from start to finish!  Not much more to say about that.

5. Uluwatu, Bali Indonesia-  Paddling out though “the cave” into a lineup with a wave that has multiple sections might just be enough to make me miss my flight home.


 While this is not a conclusive list by any means, I think it is a pretty good start.  And who would have thought that it would all begin with a trip to Baja.


While the weekend did not produce much in the way of swell for the Jersey Shore, we did catch a small window mid-afternoon on Saturday. A small crew got out in Avon, and I think I caught sight of Mailman Bob getting the longest ride of the day.  Always happy to see him in the lineup.  

I was on old trusty, the 7s Superfish.  I swear that thing will go in anything from a foot to 6 foot plus.    

Take note that the Beach House Board Swap is scheduled for this Saturday, May 16th.  If you are in the market to mix your quiver up, stop by with a board you may be willing to pass along.  Festivities kick off at 9 a.m. 


In professional news Gabe Kling won the Nike 6.0 Lowers event in San Clemente, California this weekend.  Tons of detailed coverage on the big daddy of all surf sites, Surfline.  I just wonder what it must be like to get to surf Lowers with one other person out?  I bet these guys are wondering the same thing too! 


Check back later in the week for the first installment of “Surfer Into the Woods.”  Also, I am super excited to get an interview with Ann Coen, a great surf photographer and that will be coming soon.  

Sign up and stayed tuned in.  Thanks a million.