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The Inertia

“Today was f*ing mental.” That was the first of several messages from a handful of East Coast photographers Tuesday to The Inertia, most of them wrapping up all-time sessions and now sharing a few selects.

Brian Shannon was shooting the same swell over in Nassau County, snapping guys like Balaram Stack in the kind of barrels that are made by the ocean for magazine covers.

“We’re living in scary and anxious times right now,” Shannon told us, “but I think what keeps some people’s peace of mind is being able to take a walk on the beach or have a surf at a safe distance, which is what happened this past Tuesday on Long Island.”

The waves were noticeably smaller where Shannon shot at Lido than some of the other images rolling in, but his were far more inviting.

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“I can’t feel my legs,” James Katsipis said after swimming in some absurdly solid surf a couple hours away in Montauk. “Fifteen feet at 9 seconds,” he said. “Pat Schmidt took a walloping on one.”

Schmidt did take a walloping on one, getting hung up in the lip and enjoying a genuine body slam.

It may or may not have been the exact same moment when another brave soul even further north took an equally brutal spill off of Nantucket. But adding a little shine to that badge of honor was the fact that Parker Hall was the only surfer in the water. He’d never seen a combination of offshore winds and size like this so he took the bait.

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“With it being such a rare opportunity I thought I’d try and, while unsuccessful, seeing home produce waves like that was exciting enough,” he says.

“The report was looking like it could be the biggest swell we’ve had in a while,” photographer Justin Roethke told The Inertia. “Went out that morning, saw Parker suiting up, [and] he sent it solo ’cause no one else would paddle out with him. The waves were double overhead plus — huge, heavy wedges. The first wave, he took off, grabbed rail, and packed a closeout. The second wave he got pitched off the lip and free fell 10-15 feet.”

Both spills looked painful. But there are undoubtedly a lot of surfers in a lot of places who would gladly take either beating right now, with surfing prohibited in much of Europe and parts of California.  New York and Cape Cod are two places where surfing is still permitted, albeit with some access points and parking lots closed. So surfers surfed where they could. And plenty of them ended the day with a solid story or two.

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