Winter is here and so is the East Coast surfer’s hope for real waves. Online surf forecasts are our addiction, we check for the coming week’s potential; start planning or daydream of a tropical escape.
When the weekend started the ocean was flat but the forecast promised solid surf for the afternoon. Hard to believe but I had a good feeling. I got on the road and headed straight to South Jersey; stayed in touch with a couple New York surfers who were en route. They had their favorite spot and I had my eyes set on finding the tasty Jersey spikes. We planned to meet at some point.
“In the beginning of the week, it looked like Sunday was the day to hit New Jersey,”Schine told me. “As the week came to a close, it became clear that Saturday was going to be the day. As of Friday evening, the swell hadn’t yet shown but the forecast was calling for a rapid build Saturday. I recruited my frequent Jersey travel companion, Alex Karinsky. We packed late Saturday morning and headed to one of our go-to spots in Northern NJ. We arrived around one thirty in the afternoon and were greeted with utter flatness. We weren’t deterred since we had been checking the cams and knew that the swell had already started filling in further south. In a half a mile we found head high barrels but all private roads offering no public parking. Frustrated, we headed even deeper south. Our drive had us checking twenty spots over a ten mile stretch, with the swell increasing drastically. Unfortunately, with size, the quality and shape seemed to go the other direction. After wasting hours hunting we decided to head back north. We checked our go-to spot again but the swell still wasn’t getting in. It really must have been an angle thing.”
Once we landed in South Jersey paradise walls were shaping with a classic concave drop and a-frames firing for miles. There was an after storm glow and sparks of sunshine to keep the winter day warm. From knee high in the morning to overhead barrels in the afternoon, it felt like techno Jersey. A few surfers were playing in the madness but it wasn’t the usual over crowded surf break. I knew that somewhere else it must be breaking much better. So I decided to head north to my favorite sand bar and eventually meet up with Schine and Alex. That was it, and everyone was there, an ocean community of surfers, photographers, locals watching a fierce show. The sets were lining up and getting bigger, the guys were flying through the fat, hollow barrels, dropping in for the free fall, and getting spit by the ocean and rumbled in the white wash. Energy, beauty, emotion.
Further North Schine and Alex found their spot. “On a whim, we pulled into a closed restaurant filled with tow away zone signs. We realized this wasn’t going to be the place to leave the car, but it gave us a view of the parking behind another building which showed the tell tale signs of other surfer’s. Roof racks, stickers and board bags were spotted. Despite tow away warnings, we parked amongst a few fellow New York plates, suited up and headed out for our surf. We were greeted with picture perfect righthand lines and, to our surprise, a mini pack of friends from New York. We scored, we didn’t get towed and we shared a sunset session with a group of friends. Unexpected magic.”