It’s safe to New Jersey has the potential to get completely epic. When Winter Storm Stella started to develop into a beast of a Nor’easter, forecasts were all indicating over a foot of snow, joined by some heavy, blizzard-like winds. Every eight hours, though, the forecasts were changing, making the swell reports just as unpredictable.
All swell forecasts suggested the wind could go offshore in Ocean County by the middle of the afternoon and late afternoon in Monmouth County. Sixteen hours before Stella officially arrived, guidance changed once again. This time, snow predictions were way down and there was the possibility the precipitation could be a mix of snow and rain along the coastline. The Governor declared a state of emergency and schools were closed, along with most offices. Some counties were blanketed with snow and others received that winter mix along with heavy rain.
In the surf community, we were all pretty anxious for good surf after a mostly slow winter. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to drive to Ocean County and was hoping Mother Nature would deliver those offshores closer to home in Monmouth. By late afternoon live surf feeds were streaming overhead a-frames rolling through Long Beach.
At around 5:00 in the evening, I noticed the wind was shifting in a favorable direction, but the rain switched back to snow. I grabbed my gear and my son and headed to the beach. It was huge and starting to shape up just as we’d hoped. The snow tapered off and the front began to push offshore. I snapped a few shots in the fading light thinking we might luck into leftovers the following morning.
Sure enough, when I got to the beach the next day, Stella had left Jersey and she’d left behind some serious leftovers. It was still firing in the head high range with near-perfect shape. Winter Storm Stella was the best swell in years and this is my proof that it was absolutely epic.