This has easily been one of the greatest undertakings of my life. Several years ago, I had the idea to do a series of mini documentaries that focused on the Long Beach Island region. Every year, thousands and thousands of people come from near and far to experience what a special place this is. But I wanted to do something a little deeper.
Sure, everyone comes to our little sandbar to swim in the Atlantic and eat cotton candy. What I wanted to show was just beneath the surface, the characters, the work ethic and the way of life that has created this community by the sea.
After a whole lot of work with the talented guys at Oak Leaf Media unwavering support from the Southern Ocean County Chamber of Commerce, a pilot episode, gathering local sponsors, and a lot of time in post production, I am very proud to release the first episode of Season One, "Pineys and Paddles."
The whole idea is to be the antithesis to every reality show you've ever seen about New Jersey. Get past all the bullshit and you can find the real New Jersey, and our life lived on the water. My goal isn't just to bring more visitors to our area, but to make the current visitors more engaged.
We will release three more episodes through 2017 that we are very excited about. Look for some free diving, shipwrecks, ripping surfers, interesting homes, life behind the bar and chasing striped bass. Thanks to the Mud City family of restaurants, Dave's Electric, Farias Surf, Volatile Media, and Ship Bottom Brewery.
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.
Ok, so maybe this is an excuse to post the new Tim Barry video for "The James" that Archie and I watch now every night when I put him to bed.
But I was fortunate enough to review the whole album, Lost and Rootless on Chunksaah Records, for Eastern Surf Mag. Of course, Barry's former band AVAIL still influences me every day, but I've now reviewed three of his solo records going back ten years and done a full interview for ESM's "On the Record." Personal and stripped down, this one is another keeper.