Tag Archives: swell

The Science Behind The Sand Behind Sandy: The Garden State’s Run of All-time Waves

Between “Superstorm” Sandy and New Year’s, the East Coast experienced a run of swell that will probably become Tri-state lore. Yes, the window of opportunity was unusually lengthy. Yes, the Mayan calendar was involved. But the main reason why we’ll be talking about Dirty Jerz’s “Doomsday swell” and its siblings for years to come is that when they hit the ravaged coastline, they turned into immaculate, occasionally monstrous waves. Waves for days, you might even say. The likes of which haven’t been seen around here in, well, possibly ever. Some may call it divine justice, but it’s more like environmental recompense: It turns out that there’s scientific evidence that Sandy is actually behind the Right Coast’s firing good fortune.

“That swell before Christmas (the “Doomsday swell”), I think that might have been the best I’ve ever seen Bay Head [New Jersey],” says Billabong rider (and local legend) Sam Hammer. “There was like a four-hour period there where I’d never seen it consistently that size with the shape it had. And it wasn’t getting smaller. That just… doesn’t happen,” he laughs. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen it look like that.”

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Just a little West Oz video…

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Epic NJ Surf (Bay Head) : Tony Hawk

Here’s some footage of the all-time “Doomsday Swell” in Jerz from a guy named Tony. Tony Hawk. I don’t think it’s that Tony Hawk, but maybe. Anyway, it’s shot in Bay Head an’ it gets real interestin’ right up aroun’ 2:40…

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Dispatches From The Eye Of The Storm. AKA Oh Sandy. Two.

On the morning of Saturday, November 3rd, I wake up at 7:30 a.m. to a dark room. The nightlight I plugged into the wall, a subtle alert to the presence of electricity, is still dim. I grudgingly push two down comforters aside and climb out of bed, wearing the latest in pajama couture: Long socks, shorts, sweats, and a hoodie layered beneath a ski sweater. It’s our sixth day without electricity and it’s 4 degrees in my house. But at least I have a house. I keep reminding myself. So many of my friends lost everything. But at least they are safe.

This headspace is surreal. I remember watching Katrina and her aftermath on the television, and being unable to process what I was seeing. Too much destruction and sorrow. Human kindness–as well as malevolence.

The night before, I sat in my friend’s living room, absorbing borrowed warmth, and watching the nationally televised Sandy benefit concert, broadcast from Rockefeller Center in New York City, where half of Manhattan still didn’t have power. Another friend who made the journey back through the Lincoln Tunnel said returning to the City was the strangest thing she’s ever experienced. It’s hard to fathom New York standing still.

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Oh Sandy. One.

Sunday.

My parents have a bitey dog and a flair for dramatics. Even if this storm proves to be over-hyped, it’s possible that riding it out with those three will result in bodily harm. Psychological injury is pretty much a given. This is why I have procured a personal wine reserve.

And anyway, Sandy looks unlikely to be a bust, as the projected point of landfall is, give or take three miles, my house.  Continue reading

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Central Jersey 09.16.12 . #iPhoneography

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The September sessions. So far.

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I stumbled out of bed at 5:12 a.m. on Wednesday, washed my face. Changed into a ‘kini. Pulled on cutoff jean shorts. Listened to early morning political discussions while I drove to the island. I grabbed three coffees from Wawa and grabbed two friends from up the street. We checked a spot just to the north and headed for the inlet. Somehow, we found parking. The lineup was a madhouse. Mad people, mad waves. Pulsing, beautiful, large. The skilled, the swell-deprived junkies blocked and dropped in on each other as the unskilled allowed their boards to drag them over the falls on top of their fellow watermen. And women. There were two of us out there. A minuscule percentage.

I managed the paddle out easily, navigated the clean-up sets without incidence, stayed sufficiently out of the way. I sacrificed noteworthy rides for peace of mind. Dot suffered sets on the head and aggro challengers, a board to the mouth. She situated herself amidst the action. Not interested in staying out of your way, sir.

After an hour and a half, I aimed for the beach, only to be tossed around and crushed to the bottom by menacing shorebreak. I clawed my way onto the sand and sat down with a not-so-small effort to refrain from embarrassing collapse. I told myself I’d wait for Leslie to pass before paddling out again.

I stumbled out of bed at 5:32 a.m. on Thursday. Continue reading

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LDW

#MDW ushers in the party. The people. The unending well of booze. The chaos.

With summertime on the Jersey Shore comes, at once, free-for-alls and obligations. Work and play overload. Sleep deprivation. Heat, humidity, south wind, and ankle-biter waves.

#LDW ushers in the party. Whisks away the people. The chaos. The booze remains, but the flow is ever so slightly constricted. Beach jobs vanish, but sleep reappears. Kind of.

I’ve been anticipating autumn. My friend asked me why the other day, and I told her that I’ve been living in summer for a year. Which, believe me, is not a complaint. Jetting from last year’s East Coast apple cider season into Gold Coast spring, then from the earliest hints of Sydney fall to May in New York was wonderful, but I want to wear long sleeves. I want to sleep under blankets. I want to exist without a perpetual layer of grimy sweat on my skin. I need a couple of good hair days.

Technically, it’s still summer, but Labor Day weekend is the end of summer for us. I spent the weekend working, non-stop. I feel acutely aware of seasonal shifts after dodging them. On LDW, I juggled Summer Ales with pumpkin lattes, surfed without a wetsuit and then put on a pair of boots. On Monday evening, it was like a switch had been flipped. The rain blew in, the bennies ran out, and the beach remained deserted. The next morning, the wind laid out the sea, the sky turned silver, and we knew that sets weren’t far behind. So, here’s to local summer. To hurricane season. To flavorful beers and free parking and a lack of badge checkers. And waves upon waves upon waves.

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ESPN Gear Review: NSP Coco Mat Longboard

READ IT HERE

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Some superfluous info for ladies interested in the 9’2″ Coco Mat:

The best thing about longboarding at Snapper is that you can, basically, surf all the way down to Kirra. Which is about 1 km and it’s amazing. The walk back, however, will leave you disinterested in lathering your shampoo and shaving your legs. On a side note, a whole bunch of good-lookin’ dudes will offer to help you, which is good for your girl self-esteem (if, in fact, you’re a girl) and bad for your surfer ego.

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