Surf in Jersey? I asked the same question when my wife mentioned her parents live a block from one of the better surf spots on Long Beach Island (LBI). For the past few years I’ve been going to LBI during the summer to visit my In-laws. Each time hoping to get a good swell from a hurricane down south, unfortunately I struck out every time.
This year my wife and I went out to LBI to spend Christmas with her parents. Knowing how cold it is in December I wasn’t even considering surfing in 40 degree water with an air temp hovering around 30 degrees. I’m your typical Southern California surfer that runs from a water temp that calls for anything thicker than a 3/2 full suit. On Christmas morning I woke to snow on LBI. Something I have always wanted to see, snow on the beach. After opening gifts I decided to throw on my down jacket and take a stroll to the beach to test out my new digital camera.
It was snowing pretty good and the wind was freezing. As I approached the sand the waves sounded much louder than I ever remembered. Once I reached the beach I couldn’t believe there were waves. Although the wind was onshore the waves were still overhead and looked really fun for storm surf. Then I saw about 3-4 guys in the water, all of them stoked. Air temp in the 20’s, water temp in the 40’s and snowing; now that’s love for surfing.
The next day I went down to the beach again to check the surf. This time the wind was blowing even harder but in the opposite direction, offshore. The air was even colder today; probably in the single digits with the wind chill. When I got to the beach the surf was still 1-2 ft overhead but going off. Perfect left hand barrels on the take off, then rip able all the way to the beach. Today was crowded–about 5 guys in the water. I stood on the beach taking pictures for about 45 minutes freezing my ass off watching guys catch good wave after good wave. After catching 2-3 perfect lefts they would end up about 200 hundred yards down the beach. Every guy that walked by to paddle back out couldn’t stop smiling.
I learned a few things this trip. Surfers in Jersey are as dedicated and stoked as anyone else. I will never leave my board at home again when I go to Jersey. I’m buying a 5/4 full suit, booties, a hood, and gloves and leaving them in my in-laws garage.–Adam Cozens