Last week, I had the opportunity to announce The Cold War surf contest in Asbury Park. It really was the culmination of an amazing NY/NJ surf community, stellar event production, next level surfing, and the rebirth of Asbury Park. Directors Timmy Donnelly and Rob Cloupe did a fantastic job with this one and the coverage has been insane. Calling the event with my good friend Matt Pruett was a damn riot as well.
You can read the full Fight Club rundown I did for ESM with photos from the legendary lensman/Photo Editor Emeritus, Mez, who has been waiting out much of the New Jersey winter waiting for this to go down. And congratulations to Team Gesler.
It had been a while since we were back in the Rockies, but in January we did a weeklong adventure to Crested Butte, Colorado. The first days we got dumped on, then days of bluebird skies, then another snowfall... and no one there. And Archie stole our hearts in the Cubs program, where they discovered he's a goofyfoot and has unreal balance.
Admittedly, I am not much of a sports fan. No Sunday football in our house; no fantasy teams. Not even soccer like all my punk friends. And baseball can pretty much suck it.
But if there is one event of the year I watch, it's the Pipe Masters. I covered, and Ann shot the Pipe Masters, for about six straight years. The last few years, I have watched it via webcast from a warm living room while swell has been building for the next day in the cold Atlantic.
This year, I started writing some writing "Break Breakdowns," for the World Surf League, including the Billabong Pipeline Masters. (Full disclosure: the only time I surfed Pipe it was tiny with sand on the reef and they wound up moving the event to Off the Wall that year.)
Surfline is calling for a new west/northwest swell to fill in tonight. If they run tomorrow, the trials and first round action could see sets of 15 to 22-foot, and possibly bigger. The swell holds for Thursday and is supposed to be triple overhead and flawless. The swell, combined with the fact that there are six (holy shit, six?) surfers who could possibly take the 2015 title at Pipe means it could be one of the most dramatic season finales ever. Keep an eye out for my report on the title at GrindTV.com.
So, yeah, I'm kind of excited about a sporting event...
Earlier this year I did a feature on Gabriel Medina, Tyler Warren and John John Florence's boards, talking to Jon Pyzel, Johnny Cabana, and Warren about shapes for Surfing Life Japan Pretty interesting stuff, if anyone can read Japanese.
We've been listening to Against Me! since they broke out of the Gainesville scene with Reinventing Axle Rose, 13 years ago. I remember seeing them at the First Unitarian Church in Philly in 2003. Then in 2012, former frontman Tom Gable came out in a Rolling Stone interview that he would be transitioning to a woman. The punk community basically took it in stride. Laura Jane Grace became a voice for transgendered people years before the nation started having the dialogue we are having now - and the band continues to make great music. Additionally, Against Me! is one of Ann's all-time favorite bands and she had the opportunity to shoot them last year in DC.
On Friday of Labor Day weekend, I interviewed Laura Jane and covered Against Me!'s Red Bull Sound Select show at the Stone Pony in Asbury Park, where her story is extremely relevant. It was the same day their new live album 23 Live Sex Acts dropped. The story recently ran on Asbury's music scene site Arcade-Radio.com with photos by Drew Gurian.
By now, you have likely seen Kelly Slater's bizzaro sorta flyaway air-reverse that he sorta landed at the Hurley Pro Trestles. The event only has one more day to finish up, but they're on a third lay day in a row. In fact, I am in San Clemente now. I surfed Lowers this morning with no crowd, at one point I had it all to myself ....apparently Californians don't like the rain. Got a few fun rights despite the dying swell and south wind, the did the long hike back in a downpour. Pretty surreal for California considering LBI is 77 and sunny today.
Before the event started, I interviewed Van's team rider Curren Caples about Lowers and the contest. Trestles is said to be the ultimate skate park wave, so why not interview the skater who surfs like we all wish we could?
Earlier this year, I started writing for Wavelength, Europe's original surf magazine. While we were away this winter, I penned a piece about the essential feelings of surfing that was recently published at Wavelengthmag.com. They're basic virtues that most modern surfers, anywhere in the world have experienced in some form. I had some help from Nat Young (the tour threat, not the legend) Cy Sutton, Brad Gerlach, and Doc Rosenblatt.
It's a tough thing to shoot anything in New Jersey between November and May around LBI. Let's just say we're not at our most photogenic. But there are those special days, those moments when winter at home is as beautiful as anywhere in the world. We took advantage of one of those days last January to shoot the Jetty Fall/Winter 2015 Mens and Jetty Womens line.
The line itself is what you have come to expect from Jetty - awesome flannels, hoodies, sherpas, chino pants, along with staples like super soft t's and hats. It's all about staying warm on those short days, a few winter waves, and steaming New England clam chowder.
We did the entire shoot within blocks of our house. It's amazing how your neighborhood can look if you have the right perspective. It doesn't hurt to have good neighbors either. Our fantastic models, the incredibly easy-going Johnny Skolnik and Melissa Moscato, stuck it out through the wind and snow to get the shots. Keep an eye out for more images from this shoot as Jetty begins to market it's fall line.
1) When I surfed Tahiti, I thought I was going to drown. Lost my board in big surf, half a mile from shore, all alone. And I never even surfed Teahu'poo...
2) After covering years of WSL contests via webcast (and a few live Pipe Masters) when it was part of my job title, I haven't watched a whole lot of events the past two years.
Had to get that out of the way. The WSL recently contacted me to do some event previews. And hey, it's Teahu'poo. A new media company took over the ASP last year and this year it's called the World Surf League. They've tailored their coverage to a wider sports audience, to which everyone has his or her own opinion. Anyway, I wrote them a preview of the Billabong Pro Tahiti.
When I was a little kid, my father was still lifeguarding, so I was around the beach a lot. I started surfing at about 13 and for the next 20 years, lifeguards were little more than another inconvenience between Memorial Day and Labor Day. But the last few years, some of my friends have become lieutenants and even captains of local beach patrols. Here in Ship Bottom, we have a great relationship with the guards.
This summer, I was hired to co-direct a mini-documentary for Red Bull Surf and Rescue. The program sheds a light on the watermen and women of New Jersey - the history and the passion for lifeguarding. This was my first time being so involved in a film project. I learned a ton and sincerely enjoyed doing this. I did, however, see parts of Randy Townsend's upper legs that I can never unsee.
I have to thank my bud Keith Wescott at Red Bull for putting me on the crew, the Funk family, Jenna Parker, and Randy for being so easy to work with, Robbie Beach for nailing such crucial shots, and Chris Immel for teaching me more in a week than I have learned in a really long time.