I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead: Don’t Deny a Good Wave



1.) When there is swell predicted for a certain date or time, and a surfer goes to the beach and there is little to no swell.

We got skunked.

This past week, any surfer in the Monmouth area could tell you this was the case. With Hurricane Eduard directly off of the east coast, everyone was preparing for some mid-September tubes. Instead, spots in South Jersey, North Jersey and parts of NY were given better waves. People in Central Jersey were dumbfounded. Why would the rest of NJ catch waves and not us? Well, when Eduard came up our coast, he drifted further east than anyone had guessed. As a result, any part of our coast that juts out to the east received better waves simply because of the proximity to the storm.

All summer, when swell was predicted, it always seemed like Long Branch was getting the worthy waves while my friends and I were getting the scraps. This week it was reversed completely; the spot I surf in Wildwood Crest was going off, while Long Branch looked like a wave pool.

As a surfer, you feel as though you have the worst luck. I can guarantee that you are not alone. Everyone gets the, “should’ve been here earlier man,” when they are about to start a session. Even more often it is, “I’m surfing later, it won’t be any good till then.” Meanwhile you have all afternoon classes. It is really hard to not dwell on those facts and just reject being a surfer all together. To counter the love/hate relationship that many of us have with surfing, it is better to focus on one day where it all worked out.

For me, that one day was August 13. There was not a high chance for many great waves that day, but the forecast did show a little bump on Wednesday of that week. Naturally, I did not expect much, but Tuesday night I set my alarm for 8:00 am. As I arose from my slumber, I contemplated shutting my eyes figuring that there would be an absence of surf. I justified it in my head; it was my day off, and my only day to sleep in until the weekend. Slowly, the idea of a few more hours in my cocoon of warmth sounded better and better. As I began to drift off into a short hibernation, another side of me awakened.

I’ll sleep when I’m dead.

I threw on a long sleeve and board shorts and skated down to the beach, questioning my decision. As I hopped off my board and walked onto the wooden path laid before me, the salty breeze lifted my head to a glorious site. I was ecstatic. No reason to wait around, I slammed my naked foot to the pavement and was back to my house in record time. I shook my sleeping brother, knowing that there was no way he would miss this. As he rolled over, Sean grunted in disapproval, his dormant mind refusing to believe me. I grabbed my new board and told him to leave as soon as possible.

On my way back to the beach, I met up with my neighbor and long-time friend Shane. We walked together onto the beach. As the first wave broke in front of us, our brisk walk turned into an all-out sprint. Shane had to be in the water that instant, and I was right behind him. Even Sean was able to make it out, thanking me for waking him up.

We were having the time of our lives, surfing the best waves of the summer with no one else in the water except for our friends, the surf instructors, who had the unfortunate task of work that day, while Shane, Sean and I had off.

I asked my friend Andrew Moon, a freshman at Monmouth, about his favorite surfing memory this past summer.

“The boys and I had seen the swell forecast building throughout the week and were stoked to finally score some warm summer waves. We arrived to the spot and watched with amazement as overhead bomb sets were consistently rolling through the lineup,” Moon said. “The first set wave that came through was right in front of me so I paddled into it and took the drop. After dropping in, I stalled and was instantly in a standup barrel; the greatest feeling of surfing. This is why locals love summer.”

Summer is a magical time, and when you score like Andrew and I did, it just can’t get much better. Everyone has ups and downs, and surfers may feel like they have more downs. I think I speak for anybody who loves surfing: that one perfect day makes up for hundreds of weak sessions. In the end, surfer or not, you can apply this perfect day scenario to whatever you do. Don’t dwell on bad days; one amazing day is worth the excitement!

Look out for waves on Thursday of this week, and find yourself that perfect session.

PHOTO COURTESY of Chris Norcross