Liquid Lines

The Summer ‘Corn-versation’ and Where You Can Surf This Summer

The Answer Is ‘Everywhere.’ Just Don’t Blow It!
By JON COEN | Jun 20, 2018
Photo by: Diann Bayes/Flickr Corn always creates a conversation.

“Oh man. This corn is delicious!”

Someone recently mentioned how curious it is that a side dish can create such a conversation.

“Oh, oh, oh my god. This is amazing.”

“Wow. This really is good corn.”

“Yo, who got this corn?”

“Bobby.”

“Hey, Bobby, this corn is delicious.”

“Yeah man, where’d you get it?”

“Ahhh, over at that place, on my way to the house.”

“Which place?”

“The place with the good corn.”

“The place on Ninth Street?”

“There’s no corn on Ninth Street. That’s Bay Village.”

“Not Beach Haven. Right when you come over the bridge.”

“What, in Ship Bottom.”

“You mean Country Corner?”

“Oh yeah, they have the best corn.”

“That’s not Ninth Street. It’s Route 72.”

“Whatever, when you get down off the bridge it’s not 72 anymore. It’s different. It’s on the Island.”

“OK. But they do have good corn.”

“Remember that time we had that really good corn?”

“Oh yeah, that was Jersey corn.”

“Ohhhh, Jersey corn!”

“This is Jersey corn.”

“No, Jersey corn you don’t get till July.”

“Yeah, this is Florida corn.”

“You think so? I think it’s sweeter.”

“The white corn is sweeter.”

“No, the yellow corn is sweeter. The Jersey corn.”

“Jersey corn can be white.”

“But that other place gets their corn from Country Corner.”

“I don’t know. Pass me the butter.”

“I like Old Bay on mine.”

“Well yeah, but you gotta have butter first for the Old Bay to stick.”

“Well, of course you have to have butter.”

And we haven’t even got to the crabs yet.

These are the sounds of summer, a summer that is finally here. The last week was like spring. Spring was like winter. And winter was brutal.

We earned this. We earned every sweet slice of beefsteak tomato in balsamic vinegar with onions and fresh basil. We earned every late-night swim in the ocean or lagoon with the phosphorescent jellyfish illuminated by our kicking legs. We’ve earned every sway of the hammock, every $350 wait shift, every longboard session, every morning beach run, and every cold beverage in a coozie that we got at an event last summer that is coming up again.

WHERE CAN YA SURF?:The LBI beach local patrols all went on duty this weekend, and you can expect them to be full time through Labor Day with some going right through September.

Their arrival was traditionally dreaded by surfers, who after surfing a spot for the last nine months, suddenly were getting whistled out of the water (often by someone who wasn’t even on the Island the last nine months) at 10 a.m., and corralled to the surf beach.

In recent years, the beaches of LBI have gone through an age of enlightenment. The powers that be now realize that allowing surfing outside the flags is better for everyone. It keeps the crowd pressure and parking off a single beach and provides additional safety should a swimmer be in trouble. But mostly it keeps kids and their parents at the same beach instead of splitting everyone up to where they can surf and where they can swim.

Ship Bottom and Barnegat Light have had that policy for years. More recently Long Beach Township made the move toward it, and last summer, Surf City opened up surfing outside the flags. Harvey Cedars is getting there, claiming there will be a trial period at selected spots, although beach replenishment will likely be a much bigger issue there for summer 2018.

In short, you can pretty much legally surf anywhere on LBI this summer.

Now, here’s what I have to add, mostly to younger surfers: These changes represent some 20 years of progress for LBI. People did research. Surf shops have spoken up. National advocacy groups have weighed in. Petitions have been created. Minds have been changed. Casey Courts Deacon and Frank Troy had a whole damn PowerPoint presentation last summer at Surf City Borough Hall. The right to surf anywhere outside the flags has taken a lot of work.

Don’t screw it up!

I’ll be the first to admit that I agitated beach patrols most of my life. But that was before they chilled out. Relations between surfers and lifeguards, police and towns have become much better on LBI in the last decade. That’s been a result of surfers getting smarter, some changes in attitude, and a changing of the guard. Let’s keep it good.

With all the room, don’t press it with the lifeguards. Stay out of the swimming area. It’s their job to keep the swimmers safe. Maybe don’t ride that epic left past the flags this summer. Be cool.

And if that’s going to be a problem for you, the sun comes up at 5 a.m. It's light out until 9 p.m. Surf then.

SETTLING IN: Well, last week we were discussing how we were in an uncharacteristic pattern for June. And just about the same time you got flipped through to Liquid Lines, or used The SandPaper to wrap your fresh flounder, the weather made a pretty significant switch. We’re now in a much more seasonal pattern. 

In early June, we had a lot of low pressure, clouds, cool temps and north winds (and rain – there was lots of rain). This is more of an April/May pattern. And the north and straight easterly winds were helping to warm up the ocean. We actually reached the mid-60s, which is indicative of late June, although sometimes late June is more like the mid-50s.

We also got gypped out of a decent swell last week. Tuesday was forecast to have building waves with offshore winds Wednesday. Wednesday did have some surf, but not clean. The winds picked up again south in the evening. By the time the wind shifted northwest, it had lost size. And an 8:30 a.m. high tide ensured that if you tried to surf early or late morning, you were pretty much swamped. Although the wind stayed offshore all day, by the time the tide receded there was barely anything left of the swell.

Also, now that we’re back in a more seasonal pattern, the south and west winds are allowing that cold water from the depths of the ocean back into the surf. So not only have the waves been bunk, but it’s cold.

And yet, there’s still a positive feeling around the Island. The first bit of good news is that the sandbars are in good shape, unless you’re in Harvey Cedars or soon to be in Surf City, where beach replenishment is going to bury the bars. The second bit is that these are the longest days of the year, which means almost 16 hours of daylight to line up the right conditions. Like I mentioned earlier, summer has been a hard-fought battle. The first true warm-water day that hits 4 feet will be a holiday in the water.

There’s not a whole lot else to report on for waves, but the surf was miniscule by Friday, although that straight-east wind did help the water temperature. Saturday actually felt like a summer day. Not only was the weather stellar, but so was the forecast, two things that had yet to happen so far in 2018. It was kind of nice to see the streets full of smiling faces again. And the beach actually looked like summer. Never thought we’d see that again, the sun glistening off the blue/green water with the texture of the light onshore wind.

MURPHY’S LAW: Last winter, many locals went out to Hamilton, N.J., to protest the Trump administration’s plans to open up oil drilling off New Jersey and pretty much every coastline in the U.S. While the rest of the developed world is moving away from fossil fuel dependence in an effort to curb climate change and sea level rise, he’s figuring someday he can advertise his New York condos as being in a tropical setting and his D.C. hotels to be oceanfront.

I know, I know. This is supposed to be about surfing. Why does it have to get into politics? Can’t we just sit back while America gets made great again?

Well, we bitch about needing a beach badge to surf. How are we going to react to a black tide of crude on the best swell of the summer?

Fortunately, every elected official in New Jersey basically told the administration that it could go to hell with that plan, even the Republicans who can’t wait to march in the military parade and rub the presidential bone spurs.

But New Jersey controls the waters within 3 miles of the coastline. And so after our current governor politely declined a city of oil rigs off LBI, he took it a step farther. Murphy passed legislation that would make it illegal to have the pipelines, docking or other structures and gear used for oil drilling within state waters. No matter how you feel about state taxes going up or his leanings, he’s doing his best to prevent a catastrophic spill that could cost most of us our livelihoods. You think a rainy June is bad for business, how does an oil slick in the Queen City grab you?

So, we’re safe from drilling.

Well, not quite. The party that has always bellowed for state’s rights is now floating a plan within the House Natural Resource Committee that would financially penalize the states that block offshore drilling. Essentially, ours and other states would have to pay fines for not allowing our offshore waters to be leased. You might go so far as to say the federal government is far more concerned with big oil than with the people of New Jersey.

What’s completely upside down is when you look at federally dependent states. Mississippi and Alabama, two very clearly “red” states, top the list of states that are essentially on federal welfare. They long ago sold their coastlines to the oil companies. New Jersey, on the other hand, is the 47th least dependent on the federal government. Tourism makes up 6.5 percent of the state economy (over $38 billion), much of that being at the beach. So for all the talk of economics, taxes and individual responsibility, we’re pulling our weight without running the risk of a Deepwater Horizon-esque environmental disaster. And pillars of morality in Congress want to punish us for that.

OK, NOW IT’S SUMMER: Now we’re flying headlong into the season. Buckle up, buttercup.

This weekend is Shapefest down at South-End Surf ’N Paddle. I might also add that it’s free.

While Florida’s The Ellamano Beat will be bringing its progressive roots music to Beach Haven again for the event on Saturday night, the entire day is a celebration of the craft of surfboard shaping. In addition to locals Randy Budd of Pine Knot Surfboards and Vince Balas of Planet Blue, you can expect to watch Mike Karol of Stoke Surfboards, Tony Lannarone of Clean Ocean Surfboards and Kenny Briel of Savage Surfboards mowing foam this year.

South-End has built a second shaping room, and it’s really becoming a cool hub back there. Good summer event if you want to learn more about shaping or simply nerd out about tail rocker.

If you’re a parent and haven’t enrolled your kids in any type of camp for the summer, much of those activities are already booked. There is still availability, however, for Barefoot Adventures Camp, at Bayview Park in Brant Beach. Partnering with Yoga Bohemia, South-End Surf ’N Paddle and Om Girl, this is a little more than a traditional kids’ summer camp, offering yoga, literature, team building, culinary experiences, creative writing, meditation and stand-up paddleboarding.  It runs from 9 .t.o 12:30 p.m. three days a week for campers ages 9 to 11 and 12 to 15. The cost per week is $310.

If you’re thinking “Man, I wish I had been able to go to that as a kid,” well, they offer an adult version. This is held in Beach Haven and includes paddleboarding, private yoga, snacks, your bike rental and adult cocktails. You can find all the details at BarefootadventuresExperience.com.

If you’re looking for more “drop-in” style activities, every Thursday, starting June 28, Alliance for a Living Ocean will host its weekly Bay Day, a critter-round up and seining event also at Bayview Park, at 11 a.m.

If you have never been seining, it’s kind of a must-do for kids in the summer. Basically they have to get their feet on the bay floor whether they like it or not, and the net catches all manner of bay life. Everything gets returned to the bay, but in the interim, kids can learn hands-on in the most literal sense.

Also on June 28, Farias Surf & Sport welcomes the Salty Crew Find Refuge Tour. Looking to “Find refuge in the sea,” the Salty Crew will come through the Ship Bottom Farias with raffles, giveaways, food (and beer for those over 21), and team rider signings.

Salty Crew has done a good job the last few years of creating a smaller hard core brand that’s based on the fusion of surf, fishing and diving with ambassadors from each, and it’s really resonated with the locals here.

That’s what we got for the rest of June. Being as we were robbed of the early part of summer, go out and make the most of every minute.

joncoen@thesandpaper.net

Comments (0)
If you wish to comment, please login.