Liquid Lines

Winners and Losers and Fun Times on LBI

Surf Beaches, Skatepark Talk, Surf Flicks Add to Positivity
By JON COEN | Jun 07, 2017
Photo by: Gianna Adams While the future of the Earth is uncertain, at least things are looking positive on LBI. And the Hardwork Movement from Philly crushed it at Hop Sauce Fest Saturday.

Don’t you love all this winning?

What a relief. We are finally pulled out of that silly Paris Climate Agreement. I was actually losing sleep at night picturing Chinese and Indians (both still in the accord, by the way), people just laughing at us.

I was sick to death of scientists telling us what’s good for us. When you’re dealing with complicated issues like atmospheric heat, carbon emissions and sea level rise, the last thing you want is a bunch of geophysicist, meteorologists, oceanographers and other folks with a decade of higher learning telling you what’s going on with the Earth.

The Paris Climate Accord is a worldwide agreement that the Earth’s climate is changing due to human activity. The goal was to alter our fossil fuel use to slow down that effect and keep the overall rise in average global temperatures to within 2 degrees Celcius. For Americans, that’s about a 3.6-degree Fahrenheit difference.

The Earth 3.6 degrees warmer? Who the hell cares? I mean in the last week, we saw everything from the high 40s to high 80s, right? Why should the good ol’ USA have to fork over $3 billion to bail out the rest of the world? It’s a hoax anyway. That’s more than any other nation pays! Thanks, Obama.

What Fearless 45 didn’t mention in pulling out of this “bad deal” was that we have 321 million people in this country. So, had we fulfilled our pledge to this international project to try to minimize the challenges humanity will face within our lifetime, it would have cost the U.S. under $10 per person. Of course, developing countries pay far less. But those freeloaders in Germany had pledged $12.40 per capita, the UK will pay $18.77, and those damn Swedes, who are hanging on by a financial thread under the weight of all those war refugees, pledged about $60 per person.

And Americans consume more energy than any other nation, the equivalent of 1,857 gallons of oil per year. That means per person, even considering our sustainable practices, we still contribute the most greenhouse gases. Compare that to, say, those freeloading Germans, who each use about 1,006 gallons of oil per year.

And I hate to use any coal miner analogies here, but as coastal residents, are we not the canaries? Let’s take our lifestyle and our affection for living on a sandbar out of the equation. Let’s not use flowery hippie language about sharing the Earth with other species or the health of the ocean. Let’s look at the economics. Climate change is a very real threat to the New Jersey Shore economy, which brought in about $20 billion in 2016.

How long will our little 125 miles of coast be contributing to the GNP when our streets flood on full moon high tides, storms become stronger and more consistent? Will people pay for surf lessons on the Boulevard? How much money do ecotours make when there’s no eco?

A wave of U.S. cities and states are going to keep themselves attached to the Paris Agreement and some private citizens will continue to fund it, folks from both political parties. If nothing else, it’s a nice way to tell the world that our whole country isn’t behind Tweeter-in-Chief’s decisions.

The debate over humanity’s role in climate change doesn’t really exist in the rest of the world. It’s largely an American thing. Look, if you want to argue that the Paris Accord wasn’t ideal because it didn’t have more hard lines and enforcement, that’s totally fair. You could convince me that it was symbol over substance. But neither of those reasons are why we got pulled out.

The first step to fixing a problem is recognizing that there is one. When it comes to something that every nation in the world beside Syria and Nicaragua agrees is a mounting issue, cooperation is fairly important. But if a problem doesn’t wear a hijab, this guy and about 30 percent of the country is in no hurry to deal with it.

Are you tired of all the winning yet?

SO MUCH POSITIVE ON LBI: Meanwhile, as prospects for Earth look bleak, we can at least look forward to a few things that are looking positive on LBI.

First off, Hop Sauce Festival was last Saturday and things were looking fairly nasty in the morning with northerly winds, rain and shivery temperatures that you’d think we’d be done with by June. But shortly after the gates opened, the skies cleared and the rest of the day was brilliant. Thousands of folks came to LBI and most of them were pretty darn happy. We also had two actual, live hip-hop crews perform on LBI, the Hardwork Movement at Hop Sauce and the Ill Doots at Tuckers afterparty. Until this weekend, you were more likely to ride a ski lift on LBI than hear live hip-hop, much less two acts in the same day.

The Jetty Rock Foundation also announced that proceeds from this year’s Hop Sauce Festival would go to support an oyster shell recycling program where shells are picked up from local restaurants and delivered to shellfisheries to bring back the oyster population and also filter our bay.

Keeping with the positive flow, last week I mentioned that Long Beach Township had announced at the end of last summer that from that point forward, surfing would be allowed outside the flags on all beaches. I’d called the LBTBP to confirm, but didn’t hear back by press time.

Then this week Mayor Mancini confirmed that, in fact, all beaches would be open to surfing outside of the swimming areas. The beach patrol will set the swimming areas at their discretion.

“We’re opening it up to surfing, kayaking and SUP. This should make things less crowded for everyone and we don’t foresee any problems,” he told me.

The one concern he does have, however, is that of conflict between fishermen and surfers. This will largely be up to the anglers and waveriders themselves to figure out.

These conflicts shouldn’t be escalated. During the summer, sandbars migrate closer to the beach and surfers are often within casting distance. But most surfers (at least local anyway) also fish. There’s really nothing that can’t be worked out between levelheaded individuals. And now that you can surf on pretty much any beach, remember that we didn’t always have it this good. Stay out of the swimming areas and be respectful of the guards.

So now there remains only one town on the Island that corrals all the surfers into one beach, which is Surf City. As is pointed out often with irony, the word “Surf” is in the name of the town. Might there be some residents and taxpayers in Surf City speaking up to keep the good news flowing?

And while we’re reporting all this positive news, might as well keep the ball rolling. Apparently, Mayor Kirk Larson wants a bowl to skate in Barnegat Light. Is all this for real?

I’m not sure if the mayor is looking to drop in and carve the transition himself, but he now wants folks in his town to have the option to take a few runs.

Pretty much every beach community on the coast of New Jersey from Wildwood to Long Branch has a good skate facility. Now the mayor and council of Barnegat Light are discussing a concrete bowl. Councilman Scott Sharpless, a longtime surfer/snowboarder, will be diving into this project.

Possibly even more so than the new surf beaches, news of a possible skate bowl is a gamechanger for LBI, where you currently have to drive about an hour to find a decent concrete public skatepark. Can you imagine how good life will be when you can ride waves, chase fish and carve a bowl in the same day?

As this gets discussed in the coming months, it will likely require community support and fundraising. So if you skate, or have kids who skate, get ready to support this. I, for one, can’t wait to grind that coping. And hey, since MTV is bringing the Beach House to LBI, I won’t be running out of things to write about all summer.

SOME WAVES, SOME NOT: Most of us know this, but confirms it every day in their Seasonal Forecast: “June and July are the weakest months for surf in both terms of average wave size and number of days over chest high. Slightly above average surface pressures and more zonal flow are expected to take hold over much of the western Atlantic ….” Yada, yada, yada.

Summertime is here, sorta, which means we can’t expect anything too exciting for surf.

This past week wasn’t so much lousy as unlucky. Last Wednesday delivered up some southerly swell that panned out to be in the chest- to shoulder-high range last Thursday. I say unlucky because the wind and tide pretty much couldn’t get their acts together all day.

The wind was offshore for dawn patrol and there were some rideable waves even though it was dead low tide. The tide push would have made for a few decent lines midday, but the wind went south. When the wind went back offshore, it was dead high tide and far too deep. Then the wind went west/southwest in the afternoon and evening when the tide was OK. The swell was mostly over at that point so a longboard or groveler was definitely the call. Friday morning was clean with a few belly-high lines, but that low tide again was seriously inconvenient. The wind came up for the rest of the day. There was a small leftover again on Saturday if you missed it. This could have been a good run of swell had things come together a bit more.

As Surfline noted, June is not known for waves.

The ocean is still too cold to really go swimming or surf in trunks – except for little kids, who I am convinced don’t have nerves in their extremities. Despite temps struggling to hit 60 mid-week (nice sleeping weather, not beaching weather) the onshore flow should warm it up a bit. If you’re looking to be playing in the ocean, however, the air temp isn’t going to help.

RESULTS AND GOOD STUFF: The local 2017 paddle race season is now underway after Saturday’s Hop Sauce Tune Up. The race was held early in the day in fairly brutal northerly winds.

Michael Fithian of Rumson won overall in the long course. Michael Jacobus finished second and Surf City’s Mark Temme took third. Lynda Cubelo finished first among the women.

Chris Larocca and Ship Bottom’s Caroline Unger aced the Men’s and Women’s short course, respectively. Among the women’s short course, Ship Bottom’s Colleen and Allie Panetta took second and third.

This weekend is the Lighthouse International Film Festival. In addition to all the great features and docs, there are several surf films this year.

One of the highlights of the festival looks to be “Crest” by Mark Christopher Covino, who follows two descendants of an Irish king in their journey to surf an island their forefather once ruled over. It will be shown with Graham Willoughby’s short film, “Shapers,” about Asbury Park surfboard shaper Jeff Mansfield, at 6 p.m. on Friday at the LBI Museum, Beach Haven.

Those are followed, also on Friday night, by a block of short films: “The Accord” by RC Cone about growing up as a surfer in Iceland and the highly anticipated “Under an Arctic Sky” by Chris Burkard, also at the LBI Museum, starting at 10 p.m. The latter chronicles six surfers on the frozen shores of Iceland with the arrival of a historic storm. Considering how much time we spend in cold water, we should certainly relate to these films.

Saturday night at 10 p.m. you can catch “Gaza Surf Club,” an interesting perspective of the surf culture in a country between Egypt and Isreal that is under a constant state of turmoil. I know we’re pretty committed to important things like collecting bottle caps on the dock on June weekends around here, but the film festival comes to town once a year. Go get some culture. Or perhaps you’re really feeling adventurous and you’ll go see something besides a surf film …

In closing, I am all for being reckless. Paddle out on a broken surfboard in trunks on the next big winter swell. I don’t care. But climate change is something we’re going to have to reckon with. We’re already leaving our kids a planet that has been kicked in the teeth. We can slow down the destruction of the world without killing your job.


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