That’s my wife Betsy in front of the famous mansion “The Breakers,” the summer home to the Vanderbilt’s located on the coast of Newport, Rhode Island. Newport is one of these towns I love because it’s just frozen in time and architecture. There’s one beautiful colonial home after another. Each one well designed, and unchanged from it’s original structure. It’s also home to Glided age of American home building. Where the industrial leader’s of their time summered in some of the most amazing, over-the-top homes. This is the town John F. Kennedy chose to have his wedding.
I came here to surf a spot called Ruggles. It’s one of the most unique waves I’ve ever surfed. Mostly, because there is no beach or parking lot. The wave breaks right in front of these historic homes. I surfed it on an easy chest high day, but I can see the potential for it handling much bigger surf and remaining nice and clean. It’s also one of the best views I’ve taken in from the water.
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.
Published November 30, 2015
long island , Surf
Tags: democrat point
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.
Published September 16, 2015
long island , Surf
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.
Published July 29, 2015
long island , Surf
Tags: heat wave, winter surf
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.
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.
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.
Published May 3, 2015
long island , Surf
Tags: Gilgo beach, Surf
Warmer weather is finally here. So are the crowds. Winter is over, but the four-wheel driving season has officially begun. The Parks Department must sell a ton of permits, so scenes like this are likely going to become more common as we get deeper into summer. But, I’m enjoying the waist high waves and warm weather while thinking back on colder days when no one else was around.
Published March 30, 2015
long island , Surf
Tags: gilgo, long island, Surf
It’s officially Spring but the phrase I’m hearing most these days is “I’m over being cold.”
The north east had it bad, snow and cold has beaten everyone down, but I was reminded that the name of this blog is Ice Tubes so as long as the waves and the cold keep coming I will keep dealing with freezing headaches.
There were waves for the passed three days. Forget that it snowed all day Saturday, and forget that your wetsuit is never fully dry, just focus on the fact that their are waves now but soon it will be flat and you will wish these three days were back.
Yesterday I sat in front my computer watching the snow fall outside. It was March 5. Hearing reports of good waves I went back and forth on wether or not to make the trip over to the beach. The call to go was made a little late in the day, but we got there with enough time to get a few fun ones.
Winter surf is part of life when you live in New York. Let’s call it a love/hate relationship. You know you’re doing something crazy but that’s part of rush. It’s the rush that helps get you through changing out of your wetsuit as the feeling quickly leaves your fingers.