Since I started snowboarding, it was always very deeply tied to surfing and skating. Even though I've always been merely average at all three, I've has this fascination with the crossover - surfing a big north swell at Holyoke in the morning and running up to the Poconos for the twilight session, hiking a hit in Northern California and then checking the jetty at Humboldt before dark, riding at Whistler one day and then making the trek out to Vancouver Island to surf the next. I love it.
So I was fairly excited when Red Bull asked me to work with them on Switchboard, an event that involved surfing in Asbury and riding Mountain Creek... in the same day. And while we're at it, why not skate the bowl at Fourth Union? (Thanks Uncle Derek.) Unlike so many events that are designed to spotlight the elite, this was all about a bucket list experience that anyone could enjoy.
Yep, the surf was ridiculously flat last Saturday when we all met on the beach (23 degrees - nice touch, New Jersey) so we had a few hearty souls jump in the drink for effect. My bud, Dave Werner is a very good sport.
We skated the bowl and then headed up to Mountain Creek, where I learned to ride over two decades ago. I helped direct the content with photographer Kyle Arcomano and Foreword Films.
While this was based at the college demographic in California for a few years, in New Jersey it was everyone from awesome Dads with kids to pro surfers. Every got in some laps, a few surf turns and messed around in the park before all the high fives and hot waffles at the base. Great time, great people.
And they used this old man's blunt stall as the feature image at RedBulll.com with my story, which is hysterical.
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.
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.
In terms of the surfing world, especially the East Coast, this major news. Thanks to Red Bull, I took part in a swell chase mission in the Northeast with my friends Sam Hammer and Mike Gleason as well as global big wave chaser, Ian Walsh.
What it turned into was more of a gamble on a ledge, some 12 miles offshore. What we got absolutely blew our minds. I was sitting on a ski or the boat next to perhaps the most critical wave on the East Coast for two days. Men's Journal ran my piece on this pretty amazing and rare New England discovery. It was big and steep. Seeing the pros not making it look easy, I didn't even try to get one. But man, am I inspired for fall barrels.