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
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
#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.
Day two at Hanalei. Mike is exceptionally patient and encouraging, so I’m not sure what I’m hoping Alouette will do for me in the water, but I do have hopes of a better outcome than yesterday. I suppose on some level, I’m thinking that Alouette is a woman and, maybe, more my speed. Mike is a gristley guy with a lifetime of surf experience, ranging from New York winters to pumping Hanalei and beyond. I’m also hoping that the waves will be a size that I consider more fun than, say, deadly, since everyone keeps saying the swell’s going down.
Alouette turns out to be just as dauntless as Mike and just a little less nurturing (in the lineup). The swell is still up.
Thursday, August 25th, 2011. 19:39
The Rain Before THE Rain
The air might smell like the copious raindrops that fill it, or like salt marsh, but my nose is stuffy. I guess that’s what I get for surfing in hypothermia-inducing, upwelled waters this afternoon. I paddled out amid the hordes at Manasquan, even though the cloud formations indicated impending doom and the water was painfully cold, because the waves actually had faces. Faces on which I could make use of the very minor trickage I have in my arsenal. The wind was blowing hard out of the south, but the jetty blocked it and surprisingly smooth peaks remained. Anyway, after about 30 seconds, my core ceased circulation to my extremities and now I can’t smell anything.
Thunder rumbles continuously, and the dense clouds are occasionally illuminated by dull, bluish flashes.
“Chance of rain: 90%,” The Weather Channel tells me. Every ten minutes. The local forecast breaks up the round-the-clock coverage of Hurricane Irene, which they’re saying could be a 100-year event–especially in terms of flooding. In terms of other things, well, the mayor just called and said a voluntary evacuation is in effect for the barrier island. I received a Facebook message from the Garden State Grudge Match Trials: “No comp due to evacs! Go surf, have fun, & be safe!”
We’re supposed to prepare for a direct hit: flash flooding and storm surge and high, high winds.
“A hurricane watch and a flood watch have been issued for our area.”
Irene is on-track to clobber New York City. The last time the city saw a hurricane was more than a hundred years ago. If I were still living in the city, I’d evac for sure. Fuck those sheets of glass falling from the sky.
Magic Seaweed is saying we’ll get a 15.5-foot swell on Sunday. Will anyone be there to see it?