Liquid Lines

Summer’s Strong Start for Surfing, Plus Current Sand Sitch, Paddle Races, Yoga, and Music to Candidate’s Ears

Who Makes the Call for Candidates to Play Music By Artists Who Don’t Support Them?
By JON COEN | Jul 09, 2015
Photo by: Colleen Panetta Three weekends in a row of good surf. Two weeks back we ran a shot of Ron Panetta pulling in for Father’s Day. This week it’s his daughter, Allie. Not a bad summer so far for the family, and the rest of us.

Hey, it’s Shark Week!

The Discovery Channel decided that with all the shark hype this summer, it would move the week of sensationalized science and “docufiction” programming from August to July. There was a big debate at the last minute to change it to “Jellyfish Week” in light of recent incidents here, but they decided to stick with sharks. I hear Mary Lee, the 3,500-pound Great White, will be hosting. Should be a blast.

Being as we just celebrated the flag-wavin’, grill-firin’, apple pie eatin’ 4th of July, I thought it would be fun to talk about freedom. And for all you patriots who donned thigh-length red, white and blue swim trunks, what a great look ... But specifically I want to talk about the freedom to sit back and watch the 18-month debacle that will be the 2016 elections.

I figure that halfway through 2017, the White House will look more like the outfield of Yankee Stadium, only with more corporate branding. Seriously, if you can just look past how sad it actually is, you might just enjoy it for the comedy show it’s shaping up to be.

Take this latest news about Donald Trump. He decided it would be a good idea to announce his presidential bid to the sounds of “Keep on Rockin’ in the Free World” by Neil Young, the authentic 1960s revolutionary who wrote “Ohio,” one of the most culturally significant protests songs ever. Young wasn't feeling it.

I’m not saying that Trump’s big coming-out speech was particularly gracefully orchestrated, but who the hell decided that song was a good idea? It’s not like there hasn’t been a precedent set for the presidential set. There’s a long history of musicians telling politicians to go scratch when their songs have been used. Springsteen candidly let Ronald Reagan know “Born in the USA” wasn’t the soundtrack for trickle-down economics. Silversun Pickups did the same to Mitt last election. And while Charlie Crist was licking his wounds after losing the gubernatorial election in Florida, he got slapped with a lawsuit from David Byrne for using “Road to Nowhere” by the Talking Heads.

My favorite, however, is the tweet earlier this year by the pro-working class Dropkick Murphys when anti-union Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin came out to their anthemic “I’m Shipping up to Boston,” which went something like this: @ScottWalker @GovWalker please stop using our music in any way...we literally hate you !!! Love, Dropkick Murphys

The Foo Fighters may not be spring chickens anymore, but they didn’t want their music being associated with the McCain campaign in 2008. More recently, Tom Petty shot down Michelle Bachman for using his tunes. Wanna talk about candidates being out of touch?

And yes, a lot of these musicians seem to be left leaning. Neil Young had no problem with Bernie Sanders borrowing a few tracks. Fair enough. But the army of Republican candidates for 2016 can’t just come out to their interns playing a kazoo. Ted Nugent’s songs are on the table. Please, someone take him up on that offer.

Hillary Clinton released a campaign play list last month. Had she had some hip staffers, she might have used better language, like “Hillary drops her new mixtape,” but what can you do? Remember that Nas, Jay-Z and Common all rapped about Obama. Doubt they’re looking for words that rhyme with “Secretary of State” for lyrical inspiration this year.

So what artists are on that playlist? Kelly Clarkson! Ooooooh! Katy Perry! Ahhhhh! To be fair, I wouldn’t know Kelly Clarkson if she was busing tables at Wally Mitchell’s. I don’t know much about Katy Perry, either, except that my 6-year-old nephew likes her, but he may be over that already. Basically, it’s perfect for Hillary – accepted, safe and poppy. Like the music, I picture the official food of the Clinton campaign to be plain oatmeal – the two bland packets left in the variety pack that get eaten only when the cupboards are totally bare.

And since we’re all so familiar with Chris Christie and his unblemished record here at the Jersey Shore, we’re probably all aware of his lifelong man crush (not “crush” in the physical sense) on Bruce. But despite being the ultimate Springsteen fan, Chris Christie knew better than to piss off The Boss by using “My Hometown” last week when he announced his bid in his actual hometown. After all, he is Bruce. Knowing that coming out to “Born to Run” (ironic in so many senses) would only bring to national attention the fact that Chris Christie is about as popular in his own state as Raritan River-flavored ice cream, he chose to come out to Bon Jovi (who actually held a fundraiser for Hillary that same night).

I hear Bon Jovi tips well when he shows up at Joe Pop’s, so no disrespect. But when someone who speaks for the middle class like The Boss turns you down, you go with Bon Jovi?

Wow. He really showed us …

AND SOME SURFY STUFF: Overall, it was a fantastic holiday weekend. I have to imagine that every local business is breathing easy knowing that numbers are already up from last year and way up from 2013. Cloudy drizzle may have dampened some fireworks, but that’s about it. And that temperature? Any way we can get six months of highs in the 70s and lows in the 60s?

Just as we’re all still pretty much catching our breath from “that Sunday swell” on June 27, we did have some pretty decent surf again by summer standards.

We had some nondescript wind and weather move through on Wednesday, but once over the Atlantic, it was enough to blow up some fun knee- to chest-high waves. Thursday morning revealed some plenty fun south swell, a few nice long rights with a handful of lefts. The wind wasn’t doing much of anything, which made for clean conditions. Had the wind been a breath more and out of the west, the surf would have had exceptional shape. Interestingly, this bit of swell lasted right through high tide. To be honest, once the dawn patrol crew bailed, there was no one out. Then the rains came to kick off the start of the big weekend, and the swell was pretty much dead by morning.

In general, while last week’s full moon was totally gorgeous (or totes gorge, depending on who you talked to), it did play havoc with the tides all week, making for some pretty deep dawn patrols and evening glass-offs. The tide cycle came around by the weekend. This is the time of year you can get two highs or two low tides during daylight hours. And for the third Sunday in a row, we enjoyed waves in some form or another.

The 4th of July brought mostly onshore winds. Any surfer not working a double shift was on a boat or on a bender. But for those who stayed sober or didn’t slice up their hand with a clam knife, there was yet more sizable swell on Sunday morning. This was an interesting one as there were several swells in the water. If you looked at some of the buoy readings, you could see there was a 4-foot swell coming through at 7 seconds. But then there was a second, smaller swell, showing at 13 seconds. It’s hard to say if this played a factor, but with the power behind this one, it might have.

The secondary swell is a type that Surfline has been picking up on for the last few summers. They are caused by powerful storms off the southwest coast of Africa, near Namibia. Some jokingly call these “Namibia swells,” but that’s kind of what they are.

Don’t confuse these with hurricanes, or “Cape Verde” storms. Those come off the Atlantic Coast of Africa as well, but some 4,000 miles to the north, near the Equator. Namibia swells are caused by powerful winter storms deep in the Southern Hemisphere. Occasionally they will show up when there’s no other noticeable swell in the water and you’ll get a few unexplained 3-foot sets. They’re harder to pinpoint when there’s already surf in the water, but this Namibia swell may have given the surf a little extra mustard on Sunday. They’re not a significant source of swell, but pretty amazing to consider when they are literally formed by storms that were, two weeks ago, deep in the Southern Hemisphere.

Whether you could give a rat’s ass or not where the surf came from, it was another solid Sunday. Saturday’s wind relented overnight for relatively glassy conditions Sunday, from daybreak right through mid-morning. Combo swell or not, I don’t think anyone expected waist- to shoulder-high waves with the occasional head-high set. And at the lower tides, it was fairly hollow. Most of the barrel sections resulted in sandy-infused detonations, but there were a few tubes made.

The sea breeze was in full effect by noon, but the surf was by no means totally blown out. The bit of groundswell made it a bit walled, and the high tide added a funk. Tough to surf, but still rideable. I saw a few surfers ditch the board and go for a bodysurf, some with and some without handplanes. That seemed to be a good call. Why let all that juice go to waste in July? Monday was mostly down.

SAND ROUND-UP: The recent swells have all been as good in post-replenishment Ship Bottom as they have anywhere else on the Island, which is great news. As you may have read (repeatedly here in Liquid Lines), Ship Bottom residents and the mayor worked with the state Department of Environmental Protection and the Army Corps of Engineers to build a section of beach with a 1/20 slope as opposed to the traditional 1/10. Admittedly, it’s hard to say what difference this made. It’s possible that the sandbars were too far offshore to be affected. Either way, the slope down by the water has been excellent for swimmers.

Since Ship Bottom, Great Lakes Dredge and Dock Co. has pumped from 106th Street to 116th, with big dunes already built well south. Currently, the project is in the midst of the stretch from 106th Street (Beach Haven Park) toward 34th Street in Beach Haven Terrace. They were right around 116th Street through the holiday weekend, with a 1,000-foot area closed off to beachgoers. This isn’t any easy feat on such a massively busy weekend, but there were no reported incidents.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like this section of the Island will be as fortunate as Ship Bottom. The general profile of the beach is different and the project required pumping sand farther out, into deeper water. Hopefully, sand will shift quickly to form new bars offshore, but even the strongest of summer swells don’t usually do much. Hope for the best.

Great Lakes Dredge and Dock took a guy they hired on Friday and put him on security duty on Sunday night. He’s the guy that keeps spectators out of harm’s way. He’s also the guy the public can ask for information about the project. But guys with two days on the job don’t have a whole lot of experience. The operation is scheduled to move south the rest of the summer, and then to Beach Haven in September. Beach Haven met with the USACE and DEP on Tuesday to discuss some modifications.

I had one surfer by the name of Glenn, representing the Beach Haven Terrace Crew, write to me with this suggestion: “I think it's time to make an offering to the surf gods and I'm suggesting a simple but significant sacrifice. I think it’s time to burn a few boards, I don't know, maybe to take place at every other beach entrance? I know we all have them, that one board way back in your shed that can be your sacrificial burn. We could even do it in unison just like in Lord of the Rings by touching off fires one by one, beachfront by beachfront. Heck you can do it on your own private time, when you feel the time is right, but it needs to be done. All this in hopes to bring back our precious sandbars that we love and cherish! It might seem a little extreme but also harmless at the same time and, hell, it may just work.”

The other suggestion is even more community activism, the mayor understanding the value of good beaches and sandbars, more folks at the DEP working for a solution and more USACE officials making changes to the sandbar-killing projects of the past.

GOOD STUFF, GREAT CAUSES: If anyone is looking for a really fulfilling way to spend a Saturday, the good folks at the Best Day Foundation are hosting Best Day Asbury Park this Saturday, July 11. The organization gives challenged kids a day at the beach and even a chance to surf. It has become a huge hit with families of autistic children. And for those of us who enjoy a life of riding waves, it’s pretty inspiring to see a kid transformed by an experience in the ocean. They are always looking for more volunteers. Go to to sign up. There are few better ways to spend a Saturday.

Also, the paddle race season is about to really get stroking around here. The next local race is South End Surf N’ Paddle’s LBI Paddle Classic on July 18. This is the second race in its summer series and promises to be a lot of fun with proceeds benefiting Alliance for a Living Ocean. Call the shop to register, 609-492-8823.

Island Surf and Sail’s Ladies Paddle Challenge is right around the corner, too, on July 31. Both of these races have multiple divisions, and everyone is encouraged to race, despite experience level. They are both fairly short and within most comfort levels. And everyone tends to have a great time.

I also want to point out that you can actually get some sand in your stretch this summer. Several local yoga instructors are offering beach yoga. Check out Liquid Bliss Yoga Thursday through Monday mornings at 80th Street in Harvey Cedars with various teachers at 8 a.m. You can also take advantage of Firefly Gallery's yoga with Crystal Dawn Froberg Saturdays and Tuesdays on North First Street in Surf City, also at 8 a.m. Sun salutations with the actual sun.

Beach Haven's Heather MacConnel is again making jewelry. You may remember her “My Girl is Water” project a few years back, where she donated over $1,000 to the Jersey Shore Chapter of the Surfrider Foundation. But Sandy hit that fall, and then-chapter Chairman Joe Woerner saw fit to donate all that money back to our local Alliance for a Living Ocean, which had been so hard hit. Now MacConnel has released the “Waterdoll” collection of pendants and decided to skip the middleman on the donation. You can find the jewelry at Sandy Banks in Beach Haven, Gifted by the Sea in Brant Beach and Firefly Gallery in Surf City. She will give 20 percent of proceeds for all sales in July and August to ALO.

Next Friday, July 17, is a reception for the launch of a new book of poetry by Surf City's Corinne Gray Ruff, illustrated by Julie Goldstein, at the gallery at 1418 Long Beach Blvd. The book is titled The Sea. It’s an inspirational gift book for all ages, blending sea artistry and sea philosophy, that also highlights a collaboration by two women who are forever tied to Long Beach Island. The reception begins at 6 p.m. with fun baked treats by Passion Flour and music by Nicotine and Brown.

This summer is off to a very good start wave-wise. Look for another bump to ride mid-week and then smaller surf through the weekend, but nothing totally flat. Enjoy Shark Week, but don’t let its computer-generated monsters keep you from wading into the bay.

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