It’s amazing the sights and attractions you don’t go to when they’re in your own backyard. Case in point, I live in NJ, love the ocean, dig wildlife and yet have never stepped foot in the Jenkinson’s Aquarium since it opened in 1991. I finally did so back in February and was super-bummed I hadn’t gone before. It was a great little place and one that every local surfer and fisherman should check out at least once.
We all remember our first.
How we lost our breath when we held her close. How she promised to show us things we never thought we’d see. How she was the most beautiful thing we’d set eyes on with her banged up nose, duct taped bottom, and yellowed skin. You didn’t care what your friends thought. Man, it was your first REAL board. You were on your way. You were in love.
Take a few minutes and check out Jessica’s videos online. This girl’s got a forehand hack that’d kill a horse and chucks enough spray to flood a small village. She aspires to be a power surfer (when’s the last time you heard those two words together? Bless her soul) and it shows. She throws everything she’s got into her turns, but does so with the style and grace that wins contests. Oh…and she’s only been surfing for 5 years. Were you doing turns like that after 5 years? Be honest. No, you weren’t.
There’s nothing sweeter than throwing on the 5/4/3, booties, gloves and hood and jumping into the icy Atlantic in the heart of winter. While it’s at once stupid, hilarious and damn life-affirming, I’m never happier than when I trudge back up the beach with a cold swollen face, shaking hands and a chill throughout my body.
Watching Jake Paterson commentate a contest is like watching John McEnroe just after he retired from competitive tennis and joined the network booth. He’s calls it like he sees it and doesn’t pull any punches. But it’s all built on the fact that he’s been there at the highest level, gone toe to toe with the best and often rose victorious. He knows the psyche it takes to win.
On the heels of Katia and on the back of yet another solid swell to hit our shores, the Belmar Pro went off in every sense of the word this past weekend. The event draws high profile locals (i.e. Sam Hammer, Andrew Gesler, Balaram Stack, Dean Randazzo), as well as, international pros (i.e. the Coffin brothers, Shea Lopez) who are after the points and prestige as much as the cash. It’s NJ’s biggest surf party with heaps of vendors, food, give-aways, stickers for the kiddies and bands. This ain’t your neighborhood comp. It’s serious. It’s respected. It’s the real deal. On top of everything else, this year TheSurfersView.com webcasted the finals!
Local surf legends. Every town's got that one guy who seems to be on an entirely different plane when it comes to their surfing. Though they may be awkward on land, they're in their element in the water, seemingly in sync with the ocean. No matter the conditions, they possess a fluidity and calmness that spits in the face of the biggest, baddest days.
Clay Pollioni is a cool guy. On the surface, he's the typical, moppy-blonde-haired surfer, who's got the kind of laid back style we all wish we had. But spend 10 minutes with him, and you'll realize that there is a lot more to this guy.
He eagerly stroked into the waist high waves with all the vigor of a grom. And each time, the three of us would stop paddling to gawk at his blazing lip bashes and careless kick outs just shy of the rocks on the inside.
“It’s a nice wave, mate. Just bullshit.” he said when he reached the line-up again and sat up on his board. .
‘Waist high and he’s that jacked’, I thought. ‘What’ll he be like when it’s actually good?’