With my busy grad student schedule I have either two half days or one whole day a week to surf. Last weekend, when I wrote the post "Tal Vez", I over-amped on Dane Reynolds videos and pulled the trigger prematurely. I surfed the crappiest day in the window. Don't get me wrong—I still had a blast at gusty west wind Long Beach. But the next day Jersey fired and I was stuck at home doing research. C'est la vie as they say.
Yesterday was the beginning of my spring break and the only day in the next few weeks with swell, so I decided that an all day surf mission was in order. My buddy Juan and I drove out of Brooklyn around 8:30am and went straight to 67th St. in Rockaway. The dawn patrol crew was just coming in. It was waist high and starting to get closed out. We decided to keep looking. We skipped the Long Beach jetties, which in hindsight could have been a bad move. I know it was good there, but I surf there all of the time and craved a different kind of wave. We kept checking spots further east and then further east still. Nothing was quite right and the winds were starting to funkify, which looked ominous for an all-day driving mission. Fear of getting skunked set in. But there was plenty of pulse and more pulse the further east we drove, so I kept my hope alive.
After a million text messages (from Juan to friends—I was driving safe), we got a healthy tip. At 1pm after about 4 hours of searching we scooted up to a Hamptons moon-scape and to heaving top-to-bottom rights breaking in about 1 foot of water. The winds were pretty strong out of the Northwest, but they curved around just right for this little zone. There were three of us—all goofy. Rubber space men with three-finned probing tools. The water was in the 40 degree range. Icebergs to the face. Just being out there seeing these slabbing pits made all of the driving worth it. There was no where on our journey that offered waves that packed this many pounds per square inch. Juan picked up a few off the bat. I got a left soul arch close-out. My left should was behaving funny. I knew I was out of rhythm immediately. Connor, the local with the knowledge, scored the backside barrel of the day. I refused to know limits, and despite the fact that I was out of rhythm, continued to chucked myself over the ledge with abandon. While Juan was getting little pocket rides and slashing cutties I was getting pitched into oblivion. I have not had such an off session in ages. To top it off I swung on one of the bigger, squarer sets and fell from the very top straight into the sand, right onto my tailbone. The shock that rang through my body at the moment was tremendous. I got absolutely trashed and came up hogtied. Clearly hurt, I continued to surf. I had one redemptive wave at the end where I picked the right line and stayed in the pocket, straightening out at the very end. When the tide pushed in the waves shut down. Sore and limping, I walked back to the car.
We checked another spot after. It looked to have massive potential. Instead of hitting it immediately we warmed up in Connor's car. He told us a story about a Russian gangster buying boats from he and his dad's company. The gangster needed to make sure that blood didn't stick to the deck. He made Connor deliver the boats to sketchy spot in Queens, and also made him drive to the Bronx, and had his hit man sit with him the whole time. After Connor told us this crazy story we checked one other spot. By the time we got back to surf the wind had switched onshore. We paddled out anyhow. The ocean was hating me. Rip current; white water spray in the eyeball like a paint gun; arms that felt heavy and wouldn't move. I saw Juan catch a few, but even he, who had a good run at the previous spot, had a few sections deny him. It was just funky.
In the end, I am glad to have spent the whole day searching for waves and checking new spots. The world just opened up a bit for me and I've finally started exploring the east coast thanks to my new found surf buddies. Next time with those winds and those conditions I'd probably stick to Long Beach, but now I know. It is small this way today. $20 says the spots we surfed yesterday were probably fun as heck this morning early.