I drove out to Long Beach this morning with Anya (a photographer who is also my nephew, Sasha’s, mother). I knew the waves were going to be good. I knew it was good on Wednesday, but I opted for a crazy uptown adventure mission: trying to get to the little red lighthouse under the George Washington Bridge. I almost surfed yesterday and was closely monitoring the cams on my iPhone (Surfline Premium app) from 7am until 10:30am. Jersey was firing. I never want to drive to Jersey. I need a super motivated surf bro for that because I hate driving alone on freeways. One person and I’m good, but with only myself in my head I get tunnel vision. Hard to find a surf bro in NY whose schedule matches up - it’s crazy out here - everyone is on a schedule and if they aren’t then, well, that messes up your schedule. Long Beach and Rockaway were ugly side shore with huge bands of chop running vertically down the beach. I saw a few smashable pockets but there was a neat academic fashion conference (I realize that the words “fashion” and “academic” are hardly spoken in the same sentence - I guess I am trying to change that) happening at FIT, and I was scheduled to work at the restaurant starting at 3:30pm. Not worth it. Plus Anya had free today.
The trip out to Long Beach is so short in a car. I picked Anya up in Williamsburg at 9am. I was listening to NPR. The EU is scared of Italy becoming “the new Greece” and current investigation has found that NY cops have been altering and tampering with violation tickets for decades. Astonishing. In forty minutes I was running up the boardwalk with strong offshores at my back. I looked up. Yep. Firing. 3-4 foot lefts. Back to the car. Today I wore my 3/2 fullsuit with a poly pro hooded longsleeve shirt; no gloves; no booties. Water temp was around 60 degrees. Air 50 or so. Maybe 45 with windchill. A guy told me I was crazy. I told him it was like a summer in California (except the offshores).
It looked super barreling but they were really hard to squeak into. The tide was quite low and it was obvious that you would have to be very deep and very inside to grab the good ones. I started off quick and caught a few runners. I felt a little rusty on my shortboard, but was paddling strong. I saw a handful of guys blow what seemed to be very easy takeoffs. To their credit, the wind was pushing hard up the face. But I didn’t want to blow drops or miss opportunities so I vowed to takeoff no matter how late I thought I was. I still missed the two best sets of the day because I was out of position, i.e., out of rhythm. Years of surfing and especially the past five years paying close attention to professional surfing has taught me that this happens to the best of us. Yes, even Kelly has bummer heats. I’ve seen them. They’re rare, but they do happen.
All in all it was so great to be in the water attempting to slide down tubes of universal energy until my feet got cold and the sets became fewer and farther in between. But there were still waves. And there probably still are right now. But for today two hours was enough. Anya and I ate at the LBD (Long Beach Diner) and then I picked up my fish from ding repair at Maritime Surf. The guy, Mike, did a fantastic job. They weren’t gnarly dings, just old ones coming undone, a little rail gouge (SUP idiot in Montauk), and the points of the tail had simply ground down over the 5 years I’ve owned the little magenta wave magnet.
The drive back is never as fast. We left Long Beach at 1pm and I arrived in the West Village, after dropping Anya off in Williamsburg, at 2:40pm. But I immediately got a parking spot less than half a block from my apartment building - not bad for NYC on marathon weekend’s eve.
In Fantasy Surf news, the Ripcurl Pro in SF has been on hold for two days. I didn’t do as hot has I had hoped in rounds 2 and 3. As expected, Dane Reynolds lost to Bede Durbidge. It was dumb to pick him, but then again, he’s just so unpredictable - it seems as though he might just freakishly win any random contest he enters. Anyhow, Dane’s the only man I lost in round 2. In round 3 Kelly, Owen, Gabriel, and Miguel advanced. They’re all on my team. But I lost Julian Wilson to Brett Simpson (who was on my original SF team because it can be like Huntington sometimes), and Davo to Parko, which if I was at all good at math or stat I might have been able to see coming. I remember almost wanting to put T. Knox on my team, and in hindsight that might have been a good idea. OB suits him well. Same with KP. Very stoked to see him beat Adriano, who rips to high heaven, but whose style makes me wince. Pupo and Medina are the next Brazilian level - they are so casual - I like it. Oh and I am still waiting to see how Kerr goes in round 3. Would love to see him put it together and take the thing. Him v. Slater in the final would be sweet.
Next surf for me is looking like Tuesday. I’ll wear the same set up except this time with booties.