Saturday, December 31, 2011

My Last Surf of 2011

This shot was taken at about 11:30am on Wednesday, December 28, somewhere in Northern New Jersey. I say somewhere not so much to protect the spot as that I actually do not even know where this is. Yes, I paddled out and yes, I surfed rights similar to this one, but I only have a rough idea of where I was because it was only my second time surfing down there. Clearly I need to surf there more, but I think it will take at least another year to figure where the spots are and to know where and what I'm actually surfing. As it stands I just kind I drive down and poke my car around in different corners looking for the best thing going, in a reasonable amount of time. After checking about 4 other spots my buddy, Juan, and I pulled up to this spot and watched the two dudes out there get shacked silly. Not wanting to spoil their fun, we checked another spot just up the beach, but it wasn't as mechanical, so we flipped back around, parked and paddled into this gorgeous lineup. The original two guys had gotten their fill of perfect shacks and had left, but there were now about 4 to 6 other guys their stead, only two of whom could actually surf, which made it pretty easy to get in position for the spinners. My second wave was the best backside barrel I've had in ages — since I left San Francisco definitely. I just sat there with my bum on the face, almost Indian style, watching this brownish green cylinder throw out in front of me with no sign of clamping shut. I came out of that first section, saw a second, and got greedy trying to do a fancy layback and then got sucked over. I was a bit mad at myself for ruining a perfect ride, but still, it was sick, and I shouldn't be too hard on myself. I was also shocked at how I can go from two weeks of academic sedentariness into 4-5 tubing backside pits with little to no awkwardness. There's always a little anxiety at first, but it disappears after the first wave, when the competence has been proven. After that sick one I got a bunch of long barrels that closed out on me near the shore (it's so cool how dark and deep the barrel gets when you're riding into the bottom of it). After a few of those I slid into another magic one and made sure not to try any fancy stuff at the end — just keep the line and come out clean, which is what I did. I am still trying to recollect all of these in my head. The silence. The vision. It all happens so fast. Just gotta go do it again. Or write about it. Or bring a photographer along. Pick one or combine a few. Definitely bring a buddy. I saw Juan do some sick backside hacks and witnessed him emerge from a rare left barrel (frontside for him — we're both goofy) that he found down the beach. At that point the tide was getting too low and the swell was dropping rapidly, making the rights too fast to make. As fun as closeout barrels are, they get old after about the 10th one. Still I highly recommend them to anyone working on his/her tube skills. The best way to learn how to barrel ride is to pull into closeouts. We surfed for about two hours then came in and still hungry for surf, changed half way (left the bottoms of our suits on) and drove around looking for another wave. But nothing really spoke out to us. We wanted ramps and walls to carve on and instead were offered fast, small racy rights with hard offshore winds. Looked great for bodysurfing, but not worth it with how cold the 30 knot offshores were making the air. I will post some photos, however, of the spots we checked, and they do look pretty darn good, but I'll admit right now, most of the waves are closeouts. At any rate, it was a great way to have my last session of 2011 and reminded me of why I was stoked to move to the East Coast: any time you move somewhere new it's like you're living your own version of The Search. Even though there's people who know Jersey and all other East Coast spots like the back of their hand, it's all new and adventurous to me. Keeps perspective fresh and inspired. Here's to "discovering" more waves in 2012!

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