It’s been a lucky summer. This week, tropical storm Bertha hit New York with a spiky angle, tropical sparkle, clean and punchy waves. As always it drew in a surfing crowd.
I photograph most swells, it is my search for the perfect wave. When I read the forecast for Bertha I knew I had to get up early. I landed in Rockaway at a favorite local spot for sunrise. The break was in full play, surfers were shredding, taking airs, finding the curl and fighting the crowd. It was high energy, I like that.
Mid morning I ventured to Lido Beach where I found an endless ocean of A-frames and a beautiful beach with sand dunes. People were indulging the waves and sunshine, there was a surf high floating in the air. George Bates told me:
"I had hoped the waves would be bigger but it seemed like the storm was further out than I anticipated as it's eye looked well situated under Nova Scotia when I checked the morning National Hurricane Center site and the swell had peaked overnight. I got reports from surfers in the lineup who were out at the crack ass of dawn that the early morning session around 6 a.m. was consistently well overhead and barreling.
Was insane that my friend Brian Rea, a former New Yorker who surfs Malibu consistently, just happened to show up to NYC on one of the best swells we've had since winter. Long period swell like this is such a treat out East as you can paddle out between sets without getting your hair wet. Last time I was on waves of this quality and size it was during a winter storm—between the paddle out through constantly breaking sets, fighting currents, and the weight of a suit with boots and gloves on, that's enough to drain you.
We get waves this good and relatively easy to surf so infrequently that sleep is always light for me on a night before a swell like this hits. Great day for everyone out there. My fave moment out there was when I was in the lineup with about five 14 year old groms and they were just having the best day sharing stories of waves right after they rode 'em. So good."
By one o’clock the clouds stormed in, the winds shifted and it got messy. New York waves are inconsistent but when it’s good, it’s really good.
Photos and words by Andreea Waters.