Ship Bottom Surfer Braves Hurricane Sandy
In the face of one of the greatest natural threats to life and property on Long Beach Island in documented history, some brave (or crazy) souls have chosen to stay put on the barrier island to weather the impact of Hurricane Sandy. One is Chris Scarpinato, a Ship Bottom resident and Wave Hog Surf Shop staffer, who decided to stay on 12th Street to look after his grandmother, Maryann McCourt, and the house, located on a lagoon, that his family has owned since 1959.
One of his photographs of the rising floodwater was posted on Wave Hog’s facebook page Monday morning.
By noon on Monday, the water was already up to the doorstep and would likely enter the house once it rose another 1 to 2 feet, he said. Overnight, the winds had ripped siding off the east side of the house. “I’m surprised we still have power,” he added.
“There’s not really much you can do,” he said, though he worries about the storm surge expected with the next high tide.
Still, despite have made “pretty minimal” preparations beyond shoring up the property and stocking up on rations, water, ice and other supplies, Scarpinato described the experience as “more exciting than terrifying,” to be at the mercy of nature and to witness the Island under conditions “as intense as it can get, pretty much.”
As for the aftermath, “that’s going to be a real fun time.” (In times of high anxiety, a little sarcasm never hurts.)
As a surfer, he added, he isn’t too optimistic about wave conditions for the rest of the week. “We might be able to get some waves Tuesday or Wednesday, but it’s not going to be anything as good as guys are anticipating.” The winds likely won’t cooperate, he said.
In the meantime, Scarpinato is keeping in touch with other people on the Island, and in particular a couple of Ship Bottom friends on 14th and 21st streets, who “seem to be OK, so far.”
“A little bit of elevation goes a long way.”
One of the advantages to being on the Island is the scarcity of large trees that could fall and damage power lines or structures. —V.L.