"Biggest swell of the year."
"Biggest south swell in two years!"
"Epic US Open"
"Mex is bombing."
"Did you see Trestles?"
"Summer mega-swell hits California."
Alright already. We get the idea.
We know, we know. The West Coast was insane and nine hundred surfers scored the waves of the year (all at Lowers, all at once.)
Over on the East Coast, we're happy you scored. We don't blame you. When we get waves, we can't shut up about it either. But while it was all time best south swell anyone can remember, we actually had a little bump too.
We're not used to getting waves here in July, and we're especially not used to it when it's not of a tropical origin. Sure, last July we had over ten days of waves from the madhouse of Miami to the quiet points in Maine, but that was directly from Hurricane Bertha. This last swell had little to do with any tropical system. There may have been some tropical juice mixed in when that front pulled a low from Florida north, but there was little in the way of tropical characteristics.
What we did get was a few days of waves, anywhere from waist high to two-foot overhead. The water was near 70 (even warmer south) the whole time, and our sandbars, jetties and piers just lit up. It was almost a bonus that it wasn't some long-distance groundswell because just when we get our collective anticipation going for those and the wind, tide, and swell all line up, we get nothing but dumping close outs. (A few of you in Orange County probably have a good idea of what I'm talking about.)
And unlike the West Coast's recent swell event, we can usually find a low-key spot and surf with our friends. (Think California in the 50s.)
Friday morning was the anticipated day, and it lived up to its expectations. The Smith Optics Garden State Grudge Match Qualifier was held (on call) in Seaside Park, NJ and had dudes charging down like their hair was on fire.
Everything I heard about the Outer Banks was positive as well. Those duck hunters down there are hurtin' with this economy, so every wave is like a gift. They got the brunt of the swell, which translated into some hollow fun.
Donovan Frankenreiter has been touring the East Coast and scoring. On Friday evening, he was playing the historic Stone Pony, borrowed a board from Lightly Salted Surf Shop, went out off the jetty and picked off a few fun ones. I was in town that night, though I was there for the Underdog show (sorry Donovan is a good man, but I was there for Jersey Shore hardcore, not the blues) and folks were buzzing about his session.
Saturday was a surprise. We awoke to more consistent lines and oily glass, and the early week has been the bonus. The swell just won't go away.
Was it as good as the California? Probably not
If this weekend had been a circus, we would have been the bearded woman or some other side show. But when have we ever let that bother us?
I'm going up the street to check it.