Spring Fling: New Jersey Delivers on the Vernal Equinox

Although spring has sprung it still feels a lot like winter but no one is complaining with waves like this.

Although spring has sprung it still feels a lot like winter, but no one is complaining with waves like this.

“The beautiful spring came; and when Nature resumes her loveliness, the human soul is apt to revive also.” -Harriet Ann Jacobs

After a winter that covered us in blankets of snow, whipped us with bitter winds that felt like they came from a seemingly tyrannically abusive Mother Nature, yet also graced us with some of the best surf New Jersey has seen; I think it’s safe to say we have all been looking forward to the spring season to arrive.

The first day of spring this year arrived on March 20, rightfully known as the vernal equinox or spring equinox. For the science behind the first day of spring I would reference The Old Farmer’s Almanac, but in the simplest terms we start to get more daylight, things begin to warm up, and life starts to grow anew. As surfers with our uniquely connected experience in the ocean, we know the change isn’t instantaneous. The water is still under 40 degrees, we’re still wearing our typical restrictive winter bundle of rubber, and after only a few hours of surfing it feels like we’ve been paddling with 20 pound weights on each arm. Maybe that’s why stoke is so essential when the cold weather arrives, keeping the internal fire burning fierce so we can power through conditions others would cower from. But I’m getting off track here, this isn’t a retrospect on winter. We’re moving forward, like the natural cyclical rhythm of nature. Spring!

On March 20 there was a feeling of a spring day in the air of New Jersey. The sun was strong, the ocean appeared more friendly, the offshore winds although steady and strong didn’t seem as vicious, and the surf was looking quite appetizing. Surfers flocked to the beach and cars aligned in unison at most local breaks. It seemed as if spring had sprung with the more mild weather and head high clean surf. Surfers got their fill of fun waves and sun, but it was a short-lived affair. The weather the next day was a reminder that although it was officially spring, the day before seemed like nothing more than a teasing fling, as that wintery feel followed once again.

Looking out my window now as I write this the sky is dreary and gray. Couple that with some broken fencing in the backyard and a shed that is long overdue for a makeover, it’s looking a bit ugly outside. Yet just like waiting for a good set wave in a crowded lineup, a little patience is all that is needed, and in due time we’ll be shedding rubber and getting sunburned all over again.

Below are photos as once again captured by Christor Lukasiewicz on the first day of spring 2014. Enjoy.

Mike Hughes loosening up before his first spring session of 2014.

Mike Hughes loosening up before his first spring session of 2014.

Phil Browne entering the still nearly freezing water with his finless "Rabbit's Foot" by Ryan Lovelace.

Phil Browne entering the still nearly freezing water with his finless “Rabbit’s Foot” by Ryan Lovelace.

Chris Wilson ready for take off.

Chris Wilson ready for take off.

Fins free and sliding in the pocket. Surfer: Phil Browne

Fins free and sliding in the pocket. Surfer: Phil Browne

Nothing says springtime to a surfer like backlight barrels. Surfer: Mike Hughes

Nothing says springtime to a surfer like backlit barrels. Surfer: Mike Hughes

Stylishly slotted, Mikey De Temple made the trip south to enjoy some Jersey jewels.

Stylishly slotted, Mikey DeTemple made the trip south to enjoy some Jersey jewels.

Mike Hughes setting up for more tube time.

Mike Hughes setting up for more tube time.

"Behold, my friends, the spring is come; the earth has gladly received the embraces of the sun, and we shall soon see the results of their love!" -Sitting Bull

“Behold, my friends, the spring has come; the earth has gladly received the embraces of the sun, and we shall soon see the results of their love!”
-Sitting Bull

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Growing up in New Jersey, Shawn discovered and quickly immersed himself in the sub-culture of surfing and skateboarding in the mid 80’s. With a diverse and eclectic background, Shawn has walked the path of a competitive surfer, Hare Krsna monk, action sports industry player in NYC, DIY theology and religions major, and a touring punk rock musician. Now a father and self-proclaimed seeker of the “soul” of surfing, Shawn enjoys sessions with friends at uncrowded peaks along his home state’s shoreline and writing about his surf related experiences.

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