Above photo taken by Steve Domjan at the Bowl. Thank you Steve, you could have been sailing you

  • Above photo taken by Steve Domjan at the Bowl. Thank you Steve, you could have been sailing yourself instead of taking photos of me.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

I paddled out at Robert Moses Field Three yesterday.

I paddled out at Robert Moses Field Three yesterday.
The swell was big; but rideable. Though not much, for me. I have not surfed since the Spring with Mustang. I first did a drive by at 12:30, and it looked clean and perfect. But no one was surfing there at all. So I re-checked Gilgo [a crowded kook zoo], RM 4; & RM 5, [3 guys out: but the water was this brown foam, and it was breaking haphazardly].
I settled back on RM 3. The waves were breaking cleanly and consistently, about a quarter mile south of the pencil. It's a bit of a walk and a lot of paddling for me.
The water was crystal clear, but you could feel some tiny jellyfish chunks that had been broken up by the churning shore break.
The worst part was exiting the shore break. So once out you; just stayed out. It is the best place I have found when the wave period is 12 seconds or greater. Best time is an hour before, to an hour after low tide. Yesterday "Magic Seaweed" had RM as 5 feet @ 14 seconds. Low tide was 11:00.
Last year during hurricane Bill, I had the best surfing of my life there. It was one of those days you keep re-living over and over in your head. One of those days, like my first Demo session in a Nor Easter:… I will spend the rest of my life trying to recreate those moments.
Lauralee got to get some sun on a warm empty beach. I got some needed IN the water time. I surfed from 1:00 to 4:00. [I think we both overdid it a bit.] The first hour was great clean one and one half overhead size swell on the outside. It was jacking up for about 30 seconds or so. Dropping in was so much fun! But the swell just disappears; no impact zone to contend with. Unlike the inner bars that were just closing out, churning sand, and crushing everything. After 3 hours, we called it a day, and headed back to the parking lot.
On my dashboard I had my Fishing Permit, and the letter from George Gorman to Surfrider dated 2006, that states we can use the 4X4 Fishing Permit, or can purchase a Fall Fishing Permit for $15. And that this allows surfers to use the "closed parking lots" at RM 3 & RM 4 from September 15th to January 1st to park for surfing.
But of course when I arrived back at my truck I found State Police Sergeant "B" trying to ticket me. "What kind of permit do you have there son?", "The right kind Sir, Why do you ask?". "Well we got a phone call from a fisherman about someone illegally surfing Field 3”.
The entire time I was at field 3 there were only 4 cars in the entire lot. Three fishermen and one surfer: myself. One of these three fishermen had actually taken the time to call the Cops! I was nowhere near them. We were separated by a quarter mile of Ocean. I pulled out my copies of my documentation. [I never give the officers my originals; I’ve been harassed before.] I then explained how the “off season” parking works; showed him the letter and the maps.
“Well I’m the officer in charge of these here parts. How come I’ve never heard about this?”, “I couldn’t tell you that Sir. My name is Frank*********** by the way Sir; I work with Surfrider, if you would like to call Ron Foley, or Betsy Winterberger, they know who I am. I’m sure they could vouch for me.”,” You’re right Sergeant, if you ask about the Fall Surfing Permit at the office over there at Robert Moses they won’t know what you are talking about. You have to talk to Belmont. These are copies, so if you would like you can keep them.”
“No, no, I’ll check Monday. Personally, I have no problem with you surfers; it’s the kids who come down here and drink. You know the fishermen are just worried about your safety…If you get hit with one of their 8 ounce casts…” I interrupted, and pointed to my LIBBA plates. “Look I am a member of both LIBBA and Surfrider. I know the whole line of B.S. that Willy Young and Chuck Hollins are feeding you. My wife has only been surfcasting 10 years, and she could hit that sign 50 feet over there. If a fisherman hits a surfer with a treble hook, they are either incompetent, or it’s intentional.” “Let me ask you something; here is mine, and my wife’s fishing licenses. When you are done with me are you going to check those guys for NYS Fishing Licenses and beer?”
“No we were told that we don’t need to check for that”…”your paperwork seems to be in order. But I still have never heard anything about this Fall Surfing Permit”.
So I asked politely” Look Officer, I understand you are just doing your job. And you have no idea how much I appreciate how difficult your job is. But could you do me a favor, and not write me the ticket; It would mean I’d have to miss a whole day of work, to go to court, show the Judge the same documents I just showed you, so he could dismiss the charges”. Thank you Sergeant “B”.
Now this is the second time in three weeks that the NYS Police force have overstepped their authority. In the last case, after legitimately ejecting Surfers who drove their trucks to Democrat Point from the water: the Police continued to eject surfers from the water who had walked the mile and one half each way. Surfing is legal at Demo, so long as you walk in.
This is getting out of hand.

Thursday, September 16, 2010


Brewster in the blue, I am in the green

It was an Ezzy day. Brew in Blue. Me in Green.

I guess I was taking off, or landing?

Gotta' love the carve!

All images courtesy of Blueharborcat. Thanks

Sailed Stehle Wed with Pete R, Brewster, Joe Elvis, Upwind Mike and (I'm sorry I don't know the name of the guy in the car with the "windsurfer" plates). Sails ranged from mid 5's to 6.9. I sailed the 6.3 Ezzy Wave, and the 110 ltr RRD on a 9 ½” Weed Wave. Lots of ramps, lots of swell, mostly powered.

It was a nice night of sailing; especially for one that was not forecast.

I spent last night after I went to the gym glassing the rail on my Fish. I thought I was done with it: I had finished wet sanding the tail, and was going to wax it up for Igor, when I discovered the crushed rail. It must have been hidden under all the surf wax. It would have been easier to have just stripped the whole board and just re glassed the whole rail. But it's too late now, and I will probably have some decent swell this weekend.

Shame I'm going to miss tonight. - just can't go two days in a row. I have to let my body heal. At my age it takes at least 48 hours. Well at least I can get some work done. Business has been really tough lately. And hopefully, the wind will hold till Friday afternoon. It’s already starting to crank outside now. Hope you get some…

Sunday, September 12, 2010

I broke one of my own rules tonight.

I went windsurfing alone.

No buddy system: just me.

I got a text from Phil that he was heading to the ocean for a sail or [if the wind didn’t come up] a surf. I was busy, all day; I even forgot to eat. So at 3:00 when I saw the wind come up, I just wanted to go.

I tried to text Phil, but saw on LIwindsurfer that Sasha was powered up at Heckscher on a mid six sail. So I decided to go for the sure thing. I later discovered that Phil had a great ocean session; so I wish I had gone to Gilgo with him. But by the time I found that out, I was on my way home.

I arrived at Heckscher at 5:00. I saw everyone was on 6.5ish sails, so I rigged my 6.9 Ezzy, and the 125 ltr Sumo. I was way powered, to overpowered in the gusts. I thought of going back in and switching boards, but I didn’t want to waste the time. It gets dark shortly after 7:00; so I knew it was now or never. After about an hour, I realized that everyone had left, and gone home. I was alone in the Great South Bay, just blasting.

And I thought…Sailing alone at dusk is dangerous. But not nearly as dangerous as continuing to work across the street from the former World Trade Center after 911. I’m sure people who saw me from shore might have thought, “what is that guy doing, sailing out there all by himself, in the rain?”, “that’s crazy”. No. I think watching the progress at Ground Zero from my office window…that was crazy. I didn’t know any better. I thought I was doing my part, if I didn’t, I was told, ”the terrorists will win”. So I went to work every day. Wiped down the 1/8 inch of dust that would accumulate on my desk each night. And what was the point? We didn’t even have working telephones. I had a $1,500 cell phone bill for 3 straight months. Yes my company paid it; but that’s crazy.

Watching the snipers on the roof when I bought my egg and cheese an a roll each morning; that’s crazy. Breathing air that’s not safe, when your Government tells you it is; that’s crazy. I always used to get Tonsillitis if I had a cold that dragged on too long. Now, I get a sinus infection every year. And I have a friend who gets chronic pneumonia. What was the point.

In 2006 I found work here on the Island. After 20+ years; no more commute to the City.

I didn’t see the towers fall. I felt it. I smelled it. I breathed in the souls of 3,000 people. I’ve never published these photos, shot from my office window before.

So danger and crazy is all relative. I am only happy when I am in the water. No time to think; just act; just be. I’m glad I’m alive. But I need to live…I need to remember, how to live...

I will never forget.

Friday, September 10, 2010

It has been blowing all week since the Hurricane that never was. So I jumped at the chance to leave work early yesterday.

Snuck out just a little before 4:00. Arrived at CIB to Pete R and his son rigging 5.8's and 5.2's. I didn't want to chance being underpowered, so I rigged the Ezzy 6.3 and the 110 RRD. Joe E joined us later. I hit the water about 5:15, and sailed till about a half hour post sunset. I'm glad I chose the bigger combo, as the wind and waves varied quite a bit. I think Joe was also on a 5. something. Check everyones Blogs on the right hand side of the screen. It has been quite a week. I especially like the photo sequences Chris took of Mike B.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

hurricane earl

The Weather Channel put it best. In the course of their coverage, they showed a sign outside a restaurant on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. It said Jim Cantore deserves an Emmy Award for his coverage of Tropical Storm Earl. The pleasant looking anchor woman thought it was a compliment of the channel’s coverage. She didn’t realize it was a full blown insult.

Maybe it was because of the 5 year anniversary since Katrina: the Hurricane that destroyed a city and showed just how piss poor our Governments response can be, when you have an uninformed President, and an inept, political patronage, appointment. “You’re doing a good job there Brownie”

This heavily hyped storm wasn’t a dud, but it was hardly epic, and it pretty much missed Long Island all together. It’s been a pretty good August. I’ve sailed the ocean a few times had some nice Nor Easters off Demo with Southern swell. And the temperature hasn’t been too hot. I can’t complain.

But the coverage of Earl had people canceling their Labor Day plans up and down the east coast. The amount of revenue that must have been lost…I could not even begin to guess.

Thursday we actually had some heavy wind. But it had nothing to do with Earl. It was your basic cold front. I wish I had gone windsurfing, but went out n Segue instead. I figured it was my last chance to take down my Genni, and check my mooring. I ended up sailing with a single reef in the main, and 70% jib. I would have been cruising on a 5.5 at least. But I’m glad I took the day off. I never did clean my gutters, or find a source for sand bags…but the power went out in my office. So I would have been frustrated beyond belief.

Friday I touched up some glasswork I have been doing on my surfboards all morning. I loaded my Smallest board in the Van, made sure I had a boom small enough for my 3.7, and headed to CIB. 15 guys spent 3 hours bullshitting and just talking. Something we rarely have time for, while we waited for the wind that never arrived.

Saturday. The brave hit Da Meadow early then headed to the ocean to break some gear.Dommer chronicled the action on Flicker. Me; I arrived at Da Meadow about 11:00, for the outgoing mid tide. I started with a 6.3 Ezzy, and my 110 ltr RRD and I stayed with it all afternoon. It was just exactly what I needed. But hardly a Hurricane, or even a small craft advisory.

Now it has been blowing ALL week since I’ve been back at work. And I’ve missed every day because I have to pay my mortgage, and I’m pretty sure the bank won’t accept the excuse that it was really windy all month. But I’m not sure. I’ve never actually tried that excuse.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

OK it’s been awhile. So I have a lot to cover.

This sort of tropical weather pattern we have been experiencing has made for some interesting sailing, windsurfing, and surfing. Last week was so cold during the Nor Easter, that I wore a 4/3 in the ocean. This Sunday was so warm: I just wore swim trunks.

The non-typical wind directions for this time of year have allowed me to explore new destinations. Not just the same “tour of the mooring area”, or Tack up wind to “Stepping Stones” and broad reach back home. I’ve had a few nice sails up to Larchmont, and Bayville in the east. And two sails up the East River towards Manhattan. I never made it all the way to the City. Once I sailed up through “Hells Gate” and back, the other, I explored the old “Worlds Fair Marina” by Citifield [formerly Shea Stadium], and of course LaGuardia Airport.

I’ve also been able to spend quite a bit of time exploring City Island’s mooring fields. Sailing there is a time capsule to my childhood. So many boats from the 70’s… some derelict; some beautifully preserved. And my favorite thing… at least 5 Cape Dory’s in that fleet.

Sunday the 22nd brought the 3rd or 4th East, South East I’ve been able to enjoy at Heckscher. Yes. I know I complain about that place. But it rocks in an Easterly. The problem with Easterlies, is they are not dependable. In fact Sundays' wind was not predicted by anyone! I sailed a 5.5 all day; switching between my 110 ltr and 90 ltr boards. Most guys rigged two sails [~4.7 ish, and ~5.5 ish] I just changed my down, and out haul; and switch boards.

Tuesday night, the 24th; Dommer and I sailed Demo in a Nor Easter. It was cold. It was big at times. But it was not the epic, clean, side off, Nor Easter that Demo can produce.
As the Nor Easter’s weakened, LL and I shared a few evenings on Segue. Lastly; I tried to surf Sunday. But was denied, when I dropped my 9.6 in the parking lot and split the rail; ARRGH!. So this week I’ve been in repair mode for the upcoming storm. It’s gonna do something. What? I don’t know. But I want to be prepared.

I have a meeting with the State today, [Thursday]; we had an ‘incident’ Tuesday morning, where some surfers were ticketed, and ejected from the beach. Some were there Legally: some were not. But all were told they had to leave. This is not the first time the NYS Parks System, and the NYS Police have overstepped their authority. And while Surfrider was swamped with reports of this incident… we can barely get three people to show up to a meeting, or a beach clean up. Where were these people when we successfully lobbied NYS for the “Better Bottle Bill”? How about when we fought against the “LNG Island” the government wanted to build right off our shores. We dodged two bullets when ‘other interests’ [Donald Trump] defeated the “Wind Farm”, and when BP screwed up in the Gulf, creating a moratorium on “off Shore Drilling’… But as soon as someone gets kicked off a beach, they just come out of the woodwork.
I have been getting kicked off of the beaches for 30 + years. I have gotten sick from the water I so love, on countless occasions. In one instance I dropped 40 pounds in less than a month! This is why; despite the fact apathy among watermen, is at an all time high… I will continue to work with organizations like Surfrider, and LIBAG, the Long Island Beach Access Group.

This afternoon, I think I’ll take Segue for a sail. It looks sunny, warm, and breezy. Then I’ll remove the Genni from the roller furling, and make sure my ground tackle is in order. I am even thinking of daisy chaining some fenders around her hull to protect her from the boats that will inevitably chafe through their mooring lines. We will have to see what this storm brings… Great windsurfing, epic swell, closed beaches and erosion? Who knows? It could be a wonderful playground, or I could be stacking sand bags as the bay invades my street. I hope it is safe for us all and we don’t sustain too much damage.