I recently had the pleasure of sitting down with Sam Hammer--one of the most accomplished pro surfers ever to come out of New Jersey. While Dean Randazzo broke the line open for pro surfers in the state, Sam took the ball and ran with it like no one else. His career spans 12 years now and there's no sign of anything slowing down anytime soon.
Dean Randazzo-Legend, Inspiration, Ripper-has officially launched his new board line as a part of Randazzo Industries (www.randazzoindustries.com).The move is bound to cause a ripple effect throughout Garden State line-ups. From his teenage years, Dean’s been hands-on about what makes boards work and passionate about applying the ideas he’s conjured in his head.
Rob Kelly’s got it going on. He’s a well-spoken, head-turnin’ surfer with a solid air/barrel repertoire, a wicked competitive streak, one smokin’ hot girlfriend (think fire-breathing dragon standing on the sun kind of hot) and a spanking new Billabong contract. He’s got the vision to be in the moment of his realized pro dream, while working towards a business degree that will set him up for the days beyond his pro career. And he loves NJ. Wouldn’t want to be anywhere else… and his job has taken him just about everywhere else.
Chuck Patterson is a rad, renaissance guy. He’s a pro skier, kite-boarder, stand-up paddler, open ocean paddler, tow-in surfer and snowboarder. No kidding. Unlike most athletes who concentrate on one sport, Chuck has followed his passions and created a niche that allows him to pursue multiple sports as an all-around waterman. Inspired by his mom (a two sport pro in her own right),
I’ve had the fortunate job of interviewing Leif twice in the past few months. First for his earned spot in the WCT Quiksilver Pro NY contest and then for his Top 10 clip in the fall round of Taylor Steele’s Innersection film (A slew of submitted clips are whittled down via internet voting to a final Top 5, which all make it into the main DVD. When we spoke, we were still just a few days away from the final selection).
At first glance, the Grudge Match contest scene seems like another gathering of all the boys at one of their usual haunts--Casino Pier in Seaside Heights. SUV’s are lined-up like some classic car show; hoots fly from the gallery after a particularly sweet move; smiles, tacos and handshakes float around like sunshine. But pull any of these guys aside and you find that things are not always what they seem.
The Fosters Belmar Pro was the exclamation point on the stellar year of surf we’ve had in New Jersey. After a sweet spring and summer and the beautiful surf of Danielle and Earl, the weekend of overhead waves felt like the culmination of the lining up of the cosmos. Though the early rounds of the contest were small, waves began pumping in on Friday and didn’t stop until the final minute of the final heat. And it all came down to Michael Dunphy’s (VA) good karma in the end.
In a style that finally befits our surf scene, "Dark Fall" premiered to a raucous crowd, some sweet music (Chris Arena, Jumpship & ASG) and a venue (House of Blues in Atlantic City) that set the stage for a kick-ass surf film. It was an unreal scene and way more Hollywood than the typical showings in the local community center.
Approximately 5,000 people participated in this year’s Polar Bear Plunge, located in Seaside Heights. To help raise funds for the Special Olympics, they braved the icy waters and took the plunge. This was a fun filled day for all.
’Great. Flew 19 hours to get killed in West Oz.’
That was the last thought that ran through my mind, then ran for cover, as I watched the lip of a 10ft. wave detonate five feet from the nose of my board. Before I could even flinch, I was flipped, rolled and thrown backwards until I landed with a two bounce skip, driven deep and dragged for almost 40 yards underwater. The wave beat me like I called its momma ugly. When the pounding at last subsided, I climbed my leash, hand over hand, towards the surface. Though progress was quick at first, it hit a wall when currents swirled around my legs and the water hissed into an aerated, grip-free impact zone. I couldn’t move. Seconds ticked by with a painful laziness until the currents finally released me. I broke the surface scared senseless and immediately paddled to the beach.