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Just Beneath the Surface, Episode 1.3 drop

Summer's busy. It's busy as hell. And I know it's tough for folks to follow along with everything going on. Now that things are slowing down, I have a chance to share the project that has kept me on my toes this year. Thanks to Dave's Electric, Farias Surf, Mud City Crab House  the Ship Bottom Brewery and never ending support from the Southern Ocean County Chamber of Commerce  we've done an entire season - four episodes of Just Beneath the Surface  our mini-documentary series on the Long Beach Island Region.

This year, we've explored the secrets of the Pine Barrens, chased swell with LBI surfers, got a look at the life of a bartender, got invited into some unique homes, jumped on the striped bass blitz, captured some lifeguard action, paddled the bay, and learned about our shipwreck history. 

Of course, the Swells and Shipwreck episode is particularly close to my heart. And we had a lot of support form the surf community on this one, specifically the photogs and videographers.

JTBS Episode 1-3 from Just Beneath the Surface on Vimeo.

Episodes One, Two, and Three are all online at JustBeneaththeSurfaceNJ.com We have one more episode that we are premiering at the Ship Bottom Brewery, Friday, September 29 at 8 p.m. Hope you can all make it. Find us on Facebook. Sharing these videos enables us to keep going.

Just Beneath the Surface Ep 1.01

Just Beneath the Surface Episode 101 - Pineys and Paddles from Just Beneath the Surface on Vimeo.

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.

Pipe Masters Preview

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.

Matty Wilko by Ann CoenMatty Wilko, Pipe Masters by Ann Coen

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.) 

But recently, I spoke with the legendary Gerry Lopez and got the scoop on some of the history and optimal swell details for the Pipe Masters Preview.

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...

Surfing's Essential Sensations for Wavelength

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. 

Check out Surfing's Essential Sensations.

Great photos by Luke Gartside and James Parry.

"Caught in the Act" Wrap Up

The first artist reception at the Ann Coen Gallery is in the books. It was an insane week of painting, planting, power washing, preparing, and hanging our first ever show Caught in the Act. But it was also a pleasure to spend time with such a legendary and humble photographer in Ken Salerno.

“The Pope,” as he is known here, still won’t let us refer to him as an artist, but his documentation of the punk and hardcore scene in New Jersey going back over 30 years was truly amazing. Shown in conjunction with Steve Tozzi’s “Riot on the Dance Floor: The story of City Gardens and Randy Now,” at the Lighthouse International Film Festival, we are very grateful of how many who came to see the film also checked out Salerno’s work. We're thankful for Randy who helped promote the exhibit and want to congratulate Tozzi on a fantastic New Jersey premiere. Caught in the Act will hang through Thursday, June 12 and we will have digital files available upon request for the rest of the summer. Please contact the gallery if you are interested in purchasing one of the limited prints or skate decks.

City Gardens by Salerno

"Burned Out" feature in Surfer Magazine

Starting the new year right. In 1987 I got a subscription to Surfer Magazine From junior high through college and beyond, I would read every article – most of them twice. The articles in “The Bible of the Sport” at that time helped shape my life. This month, I’m stoked to have my first ever feature in Surfer. It was, however, an unfortunate event that got me the assignment. On September 12 of 2013, the Seaside Park and Heights Boardwalks became a raging inferno just as they were in the midst of rebuilding after Superstorm Sandy. This feature is about the history and mystique of Seaside, its importance to the economy, all of New Jersey’s common connection to this town, Sandy, the rebuild effort, and the fire. I just hope I did them justice in telling the story. There are some fantastic photos by Ben Currie, Ryan Miller, Ray Hallgreen, and Ryan Struck. The article is on page 74 of the February 2014 issue of Surfer Mag, on shelves now. Or you can subscribe to Surfer Mag’s digital edition.