Thankful For Waves. The Cold Not So Much


Today my brother sent me a text saying it was 70 degrees outside and that he’d just surfed head high waves. My brother may have recently moved to Santa Barbara, but I’ll continue to surf the cold waters of New York. Not only did he miss out on our mother’s Thanksgiving meal by living in California, but he also missed some good surf in New York this past holiday weekend.


It’s only the start of the cold weather here, and clearly I’m not looking forward to receiving more messages about how warm and sunny it is in California.

These photos were taken at Democrat Point during the 2015 Thanksgiving weekend.

Coming at you live from Santa Barbara – Less ice but hopefully more tubes

My wife and I may have left our hearts in San Francisco (along with a pretty nice rent controlled apartment!), but we left ’em for the beautiful beaches of Central California. From here on in the new outpost for Ice Tubes West is Santa Barbara, CA.

We’ve been here for about one week, and I’ve already scored some nice little waves. While it’s been flat since then my alternative to surfing is to bike to the beach for a dip in the ocean, which I did today in my board shorts on a balmy November afternoon :-)

santa barbara leadbetter beach

Just Left Warm Water And Big Waves In New York For Colder Water And Smaller Waves In California

All the surf mag Instagrams are posting about the waves in New York last week. I was lucky and happened to be on Long Island when all the action was happening. Today I was back in San Francisco. The weather was great. Hot day at Ocean Beach kinda great, but the waves were tiny little suckers. Fine by me, but funny how the Atlantic had all the energy and warmth while the Pacific was doing just enough to let you surf.

Here are a few shots from today. I got out smack in the middle of the workday on account of me being in between jobs at the moment, so while it wasn’t all too awesome it was nice surfing OB somewhat to myself.


doug bottom turn ob 10.6


Of Course I Surf, I Grew Up On An Island

I moved to California over ten years ago, but I began surfing way before then – in New York. Whenever a landlocked person or someone adverse to the ocean asks me how long I’ve been surfing they’re usually amazed when I tell them it’s been almost a couple decades. To which I then inform the inquisitive person that I did, in fact, grow up on an island.

Well, I’m back on the island this week and was welcomed home to rippable surf. My brother and I shredded Gilgo on Monday, returned for more on Tuesday but had to give good old Robert Moses a try due to the rising tide. The swell was pretty scattered – a la Ocean Beach, San Francisco – but still plenty rippable.

Chris is the guy going left in the first photo below, and I’m doing my best stalled out turn in the pic that follows.

You may have longer periods of flat spells depending on which island you grew up or current live on, but let’s be sure about one thing – if you’re on an island you better be surfing.

Chasing Barrels

As California has been enjoying the beginning of El Niño, the East Coast has been stuck in a long flat spell. But we did have a short stretch of small surf over the weekend. In the water we were talking about the WSL and Lower Trestles, and I was claiming that it would be an easy wave to surf. It seems like a perfect ramp of water that you can carve up. I like to think that I’d be a power surfer, throwing big fans of water as I hit the lip and release my fins.

My fellow Ice Tubes rider, George, told me that Lower Trestles wouldn’t be for him because he sees himself more of a hollow big wave guy. Keep in mind that George is saying this with a hinge of sarcasm while we surfed slow, waist-high surf. But George did send me photo proof of his hollow wave skills… We make do with what we had this summer.


Stay Cool During This New York Heat Wave With an Arctic Blast From the Past

We’re in the middle of a week long heat wave in New York with temps consistently hovering in the high 90’s. Since everyone is sitting around sweating, I thought now would be a good time to share a photo from this past winter. Think of this pic as a reminder to a time when we were all complaining about how cold it was outside. So there hasn’t been much surf lately, big deal. At least the water isn’t freezing. Stay cool this week.

Cold days

Watch Out for Spearfishermen in the Lineup

ocean beach spear fisherman

This seems crazy. I know almost nothing about spearfishing, but would assume that good visibility in the water is a necessity for identifying a fish and being able to propel a spear directly towards it. I’ve opened my eyes during plenty of duck dives at Ocean Beach and didn’t see much more than the nose of my board. There wasn’t anyone surfing when this guy slowly made his way into the ocean, although three people did paddle out once the spearfisherman made it past the break. I felt I should have told the surfers about the guy snorkeling around them with a really sharp projectile object, but I guess that’s just part of the fun of surfing Ocean Beach.

Jaws Themed Surf Van

jaws vw surf van

Ocean Beach, SF, CA, is a fun, let’s say, place to surf. It’s also a great place to see all sorts of weird things. After a pretty lackluster but expected start to summer surf conditions here in northern California I scored some fun waves on a Sunday before the 4th of July weekend. While I was driving home I passed this Volks surf van as the owner was getting out to pick up a coffee across the street. Doubt I’m the first person to photograph this guy’s Jaws inspired artwork of a vehicle, but if you look closely I capture the owner’s dog in the back left window and it looks like the little guy is about to become shark food!

Gimme Two to Three Footers and I’m Out There

Surfing 039

I spent the 4th of July weekend on dry land upstate in Cooperstown, but received text messages from buddies on Long Island saying that there were waves at Gilgo Beach. When I texted back later asking what I had missed, I was told “fun, but nothing special.”

My friend George sent me this photo of the very waves he was describing in his response, jokingly saying “Does this count as head-high?”

If you’re looking to surf Long Island during the summer and get a report of 2′-3′ waves with offshore winds… then you better be out there. If I was home I would have gone and it would have been fun.

Surprising Sunday

Sunday wave 1

Sunday wave 2

Those trusty online wave forecasting sites don’t let you down too often, but this Sunday both Surfline and Magicseaweed were way way off. I went to sleep Saturday night expecting Sunday to be nothing more than blown out surf, but when I woke up it was a totally different story. The Island was getting clean five to six footers, so I texted the crew and we were on it by 7:30am.

Sunday was one of the best days I’ve had on Long Island in a while — compare that to last Wednesday, when there were fun little waist high waves but about 45 other people in the water at 5am… The wave forecasters had it right then, but with a little less than ideal projections I found it a much more enjoyable time.


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