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Defining Knee High Surf

Have you ever read a surf report that called for knee high surf and wondered to yourself what that wave actually looks like? I always have, and now I wonder no more because I scored some pretty fun knee high surf yesterday. Truth is that we get these type of small wave reports all too often on the east coast, and you really can’t dismiss them because they can turn out to be pretty good days. If you can get in the water on a mild October day with knee high clean conditions, why would you pass that up?

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Surfing ’till The Sun Goes Down

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Ice Tubes closed out the beach tonight. As we move deeper into fall, the hours of daylight are fading. I took this photo around 6:30pm tonight at Gilgo Beach, New York. It seems that here on Long Island we swap out daylight for waves this time of year, and you just have to take advantage of every bit of sunlight you can get.

And not that you need a reminder, but it’s only getting darker and colder.

Surfing Off the Dock of the Bay

While riding the Fire Island ferry today from Bay Shore to Ocean Bay Park I overheard another passenger say, “Look over the right side of the boat someone is going to try and surf the boat wake.” I quickly looked and saw two kids sitting on their boards in the bay just off the end of the dock waiting for the boat wave.

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I’m pretty sure the ferry boat captain was in on this stunt because as soon as he saw the surfers jump into the water with their boards he gunned the boat towards the dock to build up as much of a swell as he could. Although neither of the surfers caught a wave off the dock, I still thought their idea and execution were close to perfect.

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Shark Tracking

This past weekend I was hanging with a group of open water swimmers, and they started talking about great white sharks in the waters off Long Island. I’ve always known there are sharks throughout the north Atlantic – recently I’ve read the reports of sharks along the shores of Cape Cod – but here on Long Island I thought the only place you would cross paths with something as big as a great white would be miles and miles out at sea. Turns out I might be wrong.

The swimmers told me to check out a website called OCEARCH. The site lets you “observe the navigational pattern of sharks that have been tagged with satellite tracking technology all for the purpose of shark conservation.”

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So, chances are there are sharks swimming in and around the waters you like to surf. It shouldn’t freak you out, really, but it’s still a little unnerving to know that you’re treading water with big toothy creatures.

As OCEARCH importantly notes, “sharks play a crucial role of maintaining balance in the delicate oceanic ecosystem as they have an effect on all levels in the food web below them. Unfortunately sharks are being slaughtered every day putting the shark at risk for survival. The navigational and migratory data being collected from OCEARCH will be used to support and devise successful conservation and management strategies which will affect policy for global change.”

Tropical Storm Andrea

The first named storm of a very early hurricane season showed up in New York this weekend. It brought flooding rains on Friday and blown out surf on Saturday, but by Sunday it cleaned up nicely with solid chest high surf.

I sorta fear what an active hurricane season would do to our beat up shores. It’s only June 9 – the water and the air doesn’t seem warm enough – but this morning I got waves that don’t usually break in New York until late August.

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Good Morning Sunshine

Winter waves are fun but dark winter mornings can be brutal. Sometimes, no matter how good the waves are, you just need some sun in the sky to provide a little warmth and comfort. The other day I got in the water at 6am while the sun was rising and clean waste high waves rolled in one after the other. Summer surf may bring the crowds but it also brings something that we’ve been missing here in New York the past five months – sunny mornings like yesterday. Hope you got out there.

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Spot Check: Fort Point

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Can a photo make a surf spot look better then it really is?

Ever since my brother moved to San Francisco I’ve wanted to surf Fort Point. With the Golden Gate Bridge as a backdrop, every picture looks unreal to me. You’ve got a wave that breaks in the bay, essentially, and hoards of tourists gathering around along the parking lot and above you on the bridge looking down. It makes me wish that Fort Point would break during every trip I made out west…

Doug has surfed Fort Point and tells me it’s not really worth it. It can be a pain to get out, when it’s good it’s crowded (duh), and the crowd isn’t necessarily all that friendly. He also says it only really breaks when there’s a huge swell pounding the coast.

I’ve seen it break once, and it was waste high with what looked like one of the easiest paddle outs. The photos and the spot both seem good and worth it to me.

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Ocean Parkway Is Open

I heard from a Babylon Town employee that Ocean Parkway is set to reopen today. The parkway has been under construction since early November following Superstorm Sandy, but all of that looks to be behind us now. We should be able to look forward to having two lanes of traffic moving in BOTH directions.

Rebuilding Ocean Parkway Post Sandy

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Post Sandy

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Ocean Parkway was damaged during Superstorm Sandy. To the point where most of south side has been closed. It’s been a slow go in the recovery process – homeowners waiting for insurance checks that just don’t seem to becoming and many of the beaches are simply “closed.”

But for the past few months they have been working 24 hours a day six days a week to repair and reopen Ocean Parkway and Robert Moses State Park. Large earth moving trucks are transporting sand from Cedar Beach all along the damaged areas of the beach.  The new dune is now an impressive 18′ wide wall of sand. Top soil, beach grass, and shrubs are being planted to help sure up the dunes.

It’s great to see this progress.

A New Board and Waste High Shorebreak

I’ve wanted a Mini Simmons style board for a longtime. In fact, I ordered a custom shape way back in January and in timely fashion….I got it on October 1st.

This past Wednesday (10/3) on Long Island was waste high with supper foggy conditions, but I figured I had waited long enough to get this little 5’3″ boogie board looking thing that I’d take it out for a try. Here are some shots from that session.

My review: the board worked great in less-than-epic surf. It’s fast and made small Long Island shorebreak worth the effort of going to the beach. Life’s too short to not mix up the boards in your quiver, and these funky shapes are starting to stick with me.



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