SUMMERTIME BLUES | GREETINGS FROM NEW JERSEY

Greetings from New Jersey. Photo: Fiona Mullen

Greetings from New Jersey. Photo: Fiona Mullen

It’s hellishly hot. The air is thick and sticky, the humidity seems like a thick sap dripping down the side of a tree. There is just enough of a slight breeze out of the west to make the heat temporarily bearable. I’m sitting in my car, broken down on the side of the rode, awaiting the arrival of a tow truck.

As I watch time creep slowly forward, there is a jolt of anxious energy that works it’s way through my body. I worry if I’ll be late for my scheduled surf lessons. I’m even more worried about what’s exactly wrong with my car. I know worrying is not only a waste of time, but an energy drainer, and negativity attracter. I figure while I sit here I shouldn’t get wrapped up in my head. I’m lucky enough to have a pen and pad with me.

I choose to write.

The weather extremities we experience with the change of each season are drastic in New Jersey. I take notice as my body steadily heats up, my skin glistening as it becomes covered in a thin layer of sweat. With a change of scenery, I could fool myself into thinking I was somewhere in the tropics. If it were four months from now I would be freezing in my current attire of boardshorts, tank top, and flip flops.

Living in the North East teaches you a lot of things if you pay attention. The duality of living on this planet and the impermanence of any situation. Also once again is the reality of the need for patience. Apparently, patience is a subject I still need study and practice in.

I sit. I wait. Not unlike surfing.

As I’m somewhat forced into this state of contemplation, my gears stop grinding in worry, and slip into the gear marked “S” for surfing. Although the surf has been weak overall, I’ve surfed a good amount this summer. I’ve had enough consistent water time to force my body to show me the signs that I may actually need to take some rest. My ankles, back, knees, and hips all feel it. Most days I’ve surfed were knee to waist high at best, the most minimal of conditions to warrant paddling out. There were a few days with a bit more to offer, but knee to waist high has certainly been most prevalent. It makes me happy my girlfriend ordered that 8” mid-length when she did, my worst nightmare is to have to attempt to surf micro waves on something I have to actually force to move. There was a time when I considered myself a fairly good small wave surfer on a shortboard, now it’s just about the last thing I would want to do.

Paddle, pop up, cruise. Less is more. Simplicity.

A longer board is truly a necessity on the East Coast, if you want to log in the maximum amount of time in the water. A big board gives you the smoothest of glide on small and weak waves. You’re doing less, the board does more, and the feeling is blissful and serene. If it’s only knee high and clean, no need to complain; be relaxed, and cruise.

As two girls speed past, foamies strapped to the roof of their car, I wonder if there’s another day of small mini peelers awaiting me in the ocean. Just as the tow truck arrives I can feel the sweat start to bead then flow down my back.

Time to cool off with yet another summer session of meek surf.

Summertime Blues? Not so much.

No complaints here.

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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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