The Lost Surfboards Of Hurricane Sandy
A Dick Brewer shaped balsa board signed by Laird Hamilton and lost during Hurricane Sandy is returned to its owner
The devastating effects of Hurricane Sandy linger on in New Jersey. Houses and even whole neighborhoods remain in a frustrating limbo as insurance companies, federal and local relief workers, volunteers, safety inspectors and families push through the piles of red tape and endless forms which are the exasperating, even discouraging, precursor to rebuilding. But every-resilient community perseveres and reconstruction continues with steadfast resolve. Throughout, the unrelenting and impartial tides of the Atlantic Ocean beat a steady and reassuring cadence for renewal.
Because the ocean, which when pitched to frenzy by the windy daughters of nature can be terrifying and devastating, also has a calm and playful side. Surfers respect the duality of the seas and are usually un-phased by the extremes of storm and tranquility.
Eric Beyer, the owner of Beach House Classic Surf Shop in Bayhead, New Jersey is no stranger to the caprice of the Atlantic. Beyer founded Beach House Classic in 1996 with the mission of staying true to the old school surf shop vibe. In his words, his goal is to nurture the “stoke and soul” of the surfing community.
Having reveled in a 35-year (so far) love affair with surfing, Eric understands that a board is never just a board. It’s an extension of the being, personality, and, well, the soul of the surfer. Among the many cherished possessions pulled from their homes by the merciless wind and waves of Hurricane Sandy were personal surfboards. When Eric learned this, he was, true to surfer-form un-phased. But he did decide to take action.
Eric created Sandy’s Surfboards, a virtual message board that seeks to match lost and found surfboards with their rightful owners. There have been many successful and happy reunions. In late June, for example, Eric was astonished when a fellow community member opened her trunk to reveal a Dick Brewer shaped balsa surfboard, which she found washed up on the bay. He was even more astounded to see that despite nearly seven months in the water, the board still clearly held the imprimatur “To John” with a still clear signature of surfing legend, Laird Hamilton.
This is the kind of find that goes up on the wall of a traditional surf shop as testament to the wild vagaries of the sea. Right? Not for Eric. Whoever “John” was, Eric figured he was missing his board, and perhaps a whole lot more. Eric took photos of the board and sent them to Laird directly with the hope that Laird would remember the board and “John” and help Eric reunite the two. It worked. “John,” whose house was destroyed by Hurricane Sandy, welcomed the return of his board: a testament to resilience from which every surfer, and everyone affected by Hurricane Sandy, can take heart.
In the surfing community, many physical treasures may be lost, but the “stoke and soul” will continue to survive.