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

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Below are ten very unofficial suggestions you may wish to adopt as resolutions for the year twenty-eleven.  Either way SeaSandSurf wishes you a year of peace and good times. 

1) Don’t hate on the beach that is growing on the floor of your car.  Sand is beautiful.

2) Drink more pre-surf coffee so you can stay warm during those winter sessions.

3) Don’t doubt it- when it’s your turn to go, paddle and go.

4) Road trip!

5) If you find yourself mind surfing in the middle of the afternoon then you must be doing something right.

6) Don’t let the boss know.

7) Surf on a day that is beyond your comfort zone, even if it means a surf trip to Tahiti.

8) Go ahead, hoot that stranger in the line-up into the wave of the day.

9) Snake one for old time’s sake.

10)  If anyone can get away with wearing a pair of purple Uggs you can. No, for real!

A special thanks to Daniel “Surfer Into the Woods” Yackewych for helping to formulate the scientific list above.

 

As I write this New Jersey is digging out of a massive snowstorm which left several feet in its wake.  In a few words, it is cold, it is icy, and it is mean.  Flash to another time and place with me though.  The palm trees are swaying to the hum of the paradise breeze, while crystal blue barrels fire in 78 degree water.  The air lightly hints of sunscreen, but in actuality it is the coconut trees in the distance that are so fragrant. 

Well, the first account is my reality- the latter is the reality of Mr. Gene Wahl, owner and lead shaper for Essence Surf.  He is currently in Hawaii testing out some of his new designs.  Fortunately, I had the chance to catch up with him before he left about all things Essence Surf.

SSS:  So what is happening in Gene Wahl’s world?

Gene Wahl: I have been shaping a bunch for one thing.  I have also been getting prepared for my trip to Hawaii.

SSS: Is this more work or vacation? 

GW: It is hard to tell (laughs). As a company Essence Surf has been in expansion mode to a degree and so there is definitely an angle that pertains directly to the business model.  On the other hand, I will be surfing a bunch of new designs I have been working on, and that does not feel a bit like work.

SSS: Are you talking about one off designs, or are you crafting signature models at this point?

GW: These are defiantly models for future shapes.  For instance, I have the latest update on the Quasar where I decreased the nose width so that it holds better in the high line.

SSS: What else is in the board bag?

GW: Well, the Misfit is something that I am really excited about.  There are three variations; the standard short board, the 5 fin set up and the quad channel. 

SSS: What can someone expect from the Misfit?

GW: It is a solid go-to shortboard.  The quad channel is extremely fast and is a little wider in the turn.  This make is great for big cut backs on an open face.  Both the standard and the 5 fin are made to get up into the lip and to go vertical on demand.

 

SSS: So outside of the new boards what else will be happening for you?

GW: I am really excited because while I am in Hawaii I will be meeting up with Ben Aipa.  He is such a classic surfer and shaper.  I have had the chance to spend time with him in the past and to learn from him and it caused my shaping and surfing to grow in leaps and bounds.  It is an honor to spend time with a master of the craft. It is a blessing to see the tool work and technique of someone who shapes at his level.  Of course, at the end of the day my goal is to bring that knowledge back to New Jersey.

SSS: So we have a small branch on the historic tree?

GW: Maybe more like a leaf, but yeah. (laughs)

SSS: So Essence Surf is positioned to have a good run in 2011?

GW: We are.  There are plenty of custom orders to keep the bays busy.  Local shapers can reach out to us directly if they need a blank as well. We are offering glassing services and if someone wants to learn how to shape we offer classes. 

SSS: Just check the website right bro?

GW: Exactly.

SSS: I hope you bring back some aloha spirit too, New Jersey needs it.

GW: I will see if I can fit it into my carry on.

I Heard the Captain Say…

Posted: November 22, 2010 in Uncategorized

With no energy in the Mid-Atlantic I thought this would be the perfect video to share.

So, the last great swell that New Jersey and the rest of the East Coast had has gotten plenty of press- as well it should.  There are the pictures on surfline as well as Mikey Ciaramella’s sequence of the week.  Localswell has also posted a bunch of great pictures which they always do.  Kudos to them.

That being said, and I know I am late to the party, I thought I would share a few of the pictures I snagged.  Central Jersey was absolutely firing and the breaks were completely empty.

A Perfect Peeling Right.  Well Over Head.

A View From the Dunes

In other news I recently touched base with one of Jersey’s favorite sons again, Mr. Gene Wahl.  There are big things happening with Essence Surf and he gave me some great information.  Check back right after Thanksgiving for the complete interview.

Another shaper that is beginning to shine is Basil Giletto.  After his first ever wood board worked with some success he jumped right back in.  The pictures that follow are of his second attempt, and this time he made a single fin fish.

The board is currently sitting in my garage and awaiting a maiden voyage.  The prospects look bright.  I feel guilty putting wax on the thing though.  It is just to damn good-looking! 

However, when the waves come it will be going out.

 

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.

Yeah, Yeah, Yeah…

I know, “summer is over and the blog dies.  Go figure.  This guy is a light weight anyway.” 

“Another one hit wonder and blah, blah, blah!”  Trust me, I have heard it all a hundred and three times before.  But not so fast.

Winter swells have yet to come.  Daniel is officially off the PCT.  He finished his hike and I know he is looking forward to getting back in the water.  Having a surf buddy always helps drag a person out of the gloom and doom.

On top of that my friend Basil has figured out how to make a board for under a hundred bucks.  I won’t give you all of the detail, because, well… I really don’t know how the hell he did it.  The pictures speak for themselves.  I can tell you that the board actually rode last week in thigh high wind swell though. 

Granted, it is a prototype and the kinks were numerous, but when you combine Basil’s tenacious nature with his natural understanding of craftsmanship, I have no doubt that he will make a board for any quiver.  I repeat, under a hundred bucks.

Take that China!

The Finished Product and the Maker

...From Humble Beginnings

 

According the Basil, "the holes make it float." Of course they do.

 

A Sweet Fin Sets this Board Apart

Looking Damn Near Done

I also had someone give me a board.  Sure, my halo is bent and rusty; my angelic wings are singed but when someone gives you a board you have to figure that you have SOME good karma left.

Life Smiles on Those Who Smile

The nose needs some repair, but the glassed in neon fins make me want to surf in corduroy OP shorts while wearing a pink Gotcha tank top.  February can’t come soon enough!

Other than that I am hear to tell you that Seasandsurf has yet to die.  It just rises and falls with the autumn tide.