Winter 2015 was brutal for the Northeast. The last of the record snow didn’t melt until July 15 of last summer. And one of the most iconic photos of the weather ordeal was Jonathan Nimerfroh’s near frozen slush wave, or what he has called the “Slurpee Wave,” that made the rounds of international news sources.
Now, as summer crowds start to return to Nantucket, famed transplant surfer/photographer Nimerfroh will have two more slush waves, “Lost at Sea” and “Beach Break Bliss,” on display at the Samuel Owens Gallery, 46 Centre Street, Nantucket, Massachusetts. (For those on the island, the opening reception of Lost at Sea was May 21.)
Nimerfroh and his wife had been in San Diego for 10 days doing some photo work and escaping the harsh winter of 2015. He returned to Nantucket to find winter wasn’t letting go any time soon. In a season place such as Nantucket, where the economically slow winter is generally for organizing his business, their bank account was dwindling and the high season was far off.
After another blizzard with several feet of snow, he emerged from his home to check things out in his 4-wheel-drive truck.
It was 15 degrees with winds blowing 50 mph on the coast. Nimerfroh found himself alone on the beach watching slush waves, a natural spectacle few people have ever seen. He began shooting and filled up a digital card, despite the threat of frostbite.
“What I first noticed was that you couldn’t hear the ocean. The water was so dense with ice and slush, the breaking waves weren’t making any noise,” he told GrindTV.
At first, he didn’t think it was a big deal. But that night, he and his wife met some friends for dinner and he found the entire bar crowded around his phone, looking at the photos. When he got around to posting them to Instagram, the digital freeze spread like wildfire.
Boston’s CBS affiliate called and ran the photos with the weather on the news. Then came the surf media, CNN and The New York Times.
“I stayed up for three days and nights fielding requests from all over the world. I think it just captured how crazy that winter was,” he recalled.
The two new pieces will hang all summer, including a surfboard featuring the artwork. His slush waves can also be found in the Samuel Owens Gallery in Connecticut, which is open year-round.
“As far as going viral is concerned, he had it coming to him,” says Codie Gerwe, Samuel Owens Gallery consultant. “He’s so full of passion for surfing and photography.”
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