Hurrican Surf 2010 New Jersey

The 2010 Hurricane Season was a labor of love. Thinking back on it, I wonder what I was chasing. Photo: Struck

The Inertia

The Surfer’s Path usually does a hurricane feature around this time of year. What’s really unique is that they display images from all over the Atlantic Ocean, including Europe. Ireland looks like it went bonkers. Imagine scoring a hurricane swell at your nearest legitimate slab? I think more guys should chase hurricanes over there instead of the Caribbean. Actually, the Carribean sounds nice right about now.

Anyway, you won’t want to miss the current Jan/Feb issue of The Surfer’s Path. New Jersey native Jay Alders painted the cover, and there are a slew of Garden State surfers pictured within its pages. Former New Jersey resident, photographer Nick LaVecchia, has an awesome few pages describing his hurricane experience. Same goes for Steve Fitzpatrick. I am still enjoying the article. New Jersey seems to be everywhere.

I have to say the 2010 Hurricane Season was a labor of love…except I didn’t realize that until maybe yesterday.

My goal last fall was to pull a dynamite photo out of the 2010 Hurricane Season’s hat. In 2009, when I first started pursuing surf photography, I was especially struck by Hurricane Bill. The shot that stood out most for me was a photo of Peter Mendia at Jenks, snapped by D.J. Struntz for Surfing Magazine. Hopefully, that’s not considered name dropping, because I don’t know those guys. I’m generally just a stoked individual when it comes to surf imagery, and I loved that shot. I had my first published photo (in print) during Hurricane Bill in Eastern Surf Magazine. I was pretty pumped, although it was just a lucky shot that I wasn’t actually sure I should be taking (Think: me, greenhorn, and surf industry poaching paranoia. What did I know!?… I’m still not sure I do).

I vowed that in 2010, I was really going to do some damage.

If you plotted my movements from late August through late September on a map, the New Jersey coast would dominate most of the track. Sandy Hook. Cape May. Monmouth and Ocean Counties. Ocean City. Multiply each by at least two; try and plot your course. I slept on friends’ couches and floors, in multiple states. A couple of those map lines would reflect trips to and from the Northeast for a three-day two-night mission chasing Igor.

When you’re that busy, you don’t have time to think about much else. Thinking back on it now, I wonder what I was chasing. I appreciate the reminder of those times as we’re on the downswing (or is it upswing?) of winter. I wouldn’t exactly say that I did damage in 2010, but I am happy with my progress so far. I forgot how hard I’ve worked for it.

  • Mez

    @ struck re: ‘surf industry paranoia’ comment. this isn’t the west coast, we ( the photogs ) all try to get along and encourage each other and grow our coasts talents together.
    we’re different all mostly in the best ways.
    pt. pleasant beach / jenks is my home where i grew up surfing and learning our craft, your welcome to shoot there and anywheres else.
    if anybody gives you shit just let me know.
    keep up the greta work and as always, thanks for your contributions to ESM- we, and the east coast, are all the better for it-mez

  • RyanStruck

    For awhile I believed a lot of what I was told or read. I took most of it as fact. “shoot with the best surfers” “poaching” “pro surfers” “$ for photos” “localism” etc etc. I see a whirl wind of different paths in surfing. I’m an outside observer looking in. To represent any specific branch/aspect/industry to anyone with an affinity towards it (i.e. surf photography to surfers) can be a difficult task.

    I was trying to speak on my general ignorance of how the surf industry operates and show what a challenge navigating new unfamiliar dynamics can be. Especially for someone just starting out. I’m a beginner and i do not mind admitting that. Shooting surf is my passion. I didn’t grow up in the surf culture and I have limited experience within photography itself. I feel very fortunate to work in the field of photography full time. I basically just dove into it head first. I’m driven by it. I try to educate myself by judging trends and topics of importance. I’m extra careful to not step on other’s toes and since poaching seems to be an important issue I was (and am still to an extent) extra cautious. I have sought advice on specifics to get a better gauge of the matter. I haven’t had a dedicated commercial shoot in surf; I’m sure I would get proper perspective then if there was another photographer in the area.

    It even gets weird taking a photo of someone you may know, but not know personally. I’ve had published photos of people I’ve never met, isn’t that weird?! I even double checked at a later date that it was ok I shot a particular photo. It was of course, but I did feel relieved once I confirmed that. At some of the more high profile locations it seems all bets are off… I want to prove my ability with my own images and not on someone’s good name that they worked hard at establishing. And I don’t want to interfere with another’s work whatsoever. I’m flyin by the seat of my pants… and I’m pleased with the outcome. I am not sure how I’ve become so lucky in life.

    I’m still exited to see the rest of the world and my experiences abroad are perspective altering in a most excellent way. But the East Coast is like no other; it’s my home. Jenks ain’t got nuthin on North Jerz anyways…. :-p

    I appreciate the encouragement Mez, it means a lot. Thank you.

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