Snow was falling when I woke up early on Saturday. It didn’t stop falling all day. When I went to bed that night it was snowing just as hard as it was when the day started.
Winter storm Jonas crushed New York. Slushy, partially frozen bay water filled the streets that boarded canals. By the time the storm passed, more than 2-feet of snow covered the ground.
As I sat inside on Saturday, snow coming down, I couldn’t help myself from looking at the surf forecast. Sunday was going to be big. Big and good.
I contemplated whether I had it in me to surf the next day. If I had what it took to put on a wetsuit in a snow covered parking lot and paddle out in freezing cold water the day after a blizzard. Meanwhile I was being baited by my younger brother in sunny California with text messages asking, “are you on your way to the beach?”
Well, I made it out! And for the price I paid it was good.
I surfed Lido Beach with about 40 other surfers in the water, and a bunch of people watching from the sand. It turns out the beach is the place to be after a record setting snow storm.
You’re probably saying, “Wasn’t it cold? Why would you surf in those conditions?”
My answer is, Yes, it was cold. Pretty much awful. But it was another day of surfing. It was another day to prove that I’m no “parking lot surfer” who spends more time drinking coffee talking about the waves than actually surfing them.
Well for one, I didn’t know it breaks this far out! But hey what should I know. I’ve only been here for 2 1/2 months. I do know that it’s been a swell run of swell for us here on the central coast. If I had a longboard I would have been way out there today, but the beach at Leadbetter was breaking like I’ve never seen it and there were several screamers to be had on my 6’2.
It’s December 24th and temps on Long Island are supposed to reach 72 degrees. Sure, you could count the number of white Christmases in New York on one hand, but this weather is bizarre with a capital B. Just check out the mountain cams for these two favorite Ice Tubes ski places in the Catskills.
Windham Mountain where there are apparently three trails open! C’mon man.
And then there’s Plattekill Mountain who’s not trying to fool anyone into coming.
These conditions were sorta predicted for the northeast thanks to the famous El Niño weather pattern, but for the sake of these great little NY mountains and the people who work and ski them we hope it gets colder and things start to happen soon.
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.
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 :-)
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.
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.
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.
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.