One Kook's Safari with Bill Barlow

One Kook’s Safari> Chip Miller festival is Saturday

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Written by Bill Barlow Friday, July 18, 2014 10:21 am

A rider shows off his form on a summer wave. A rider shows off his form on a summer wave. There have been some nice shaped waves this week, but the water temperature still hasn’t come back from the big drop when Hurricane Arthur rolled by. Several days saw waist-high swell, short of the head-high waves Arthur brought, but plenty of fun for those who keep their neoprene handy, or are willing to shiver a little.

The latest water temperature was 62.

Lance Miller isn’t worried about the cold this weekend, though.

“That’s OK,” he said. “We’re supposed to have waves, and that’s all that counts.”

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One Kook’s Safari> Wave soundtrack

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Written by Bill Barlow Monday, July 14, 2014 10:57 am

G. Love talks surf culture, music, and hitting the break in Avalon 

G. Love has a couple of concerts in the area this summer. He talked about music and coming up surfing in Avalon. (photo by Emmett Malloy) G. Love has a couple of concerts in the area this summer. He talked about music and coming up surfing in Avalon. (photo by Emmett Malloy) Do any surfers listen to surf music?

More to the point, why does surfing get its own music to begin with?

Close your eyes for a minute and let it come to you: fuzzy guitars through a tube amp, guys wearing shaggy hair and matching shirts, whole songs about cars or shoes, and those great instrumentals. You hear that? A long, syncopated drum solo with a drifting back beat culminating in a small, mocking voice saying “Wipeout” before the guitar comes back in.

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One Kook’s Safari> Notes from the dawn patrol

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Written by Bill Barlow Monday, June 30, 2014 01:59 pm

Mike Monroe rides off into the sunrise on a recent early session. Mike Monroe rides off into the sunrise on a recent early session. How can I already be late?

It’s about 20 after 6 on a weekday morning. The beachside neighborhood is quiet. It’s been light for almost an hour as I head down to the water, one part dog walk, one part scouting trip. There are a couple of joggers, a car riding the wrong way on the tree-lined street delivering newspapers, but the neighborhood is quiet.

Not so when we reach the beach. Trucks and vans are parked on the street, away from the parking meters even though they won’t be in effect for hours. A line of young guys are walking up, climbing over the dune for their first look at the break, carrying boards long, short and in between.

It’s summer, and the wave forecast is good.

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Summer starts this weekend; for goodness sake, don’t go surfing

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Written by Bill Barlow Thursday, June 19, 2014 03:08 pm

This probably looks fun, but it’s really no fun at all. Really, you should look for another hobby. Maybe golf or tennis. This probably looks fun, but it’s really no fun at all. Really, you should look for another hobby. Maybe golf or tennis. There I was, with a broken leash, in a 30-foot swell at Fiji. Below, I knew, were the razor-sharp tangles of the coral reef. I spent most of the day cruising in the world’s biggest barrel, conditions were glassy with an offshore wind, and I was starting to feel a little tired. That’s when I saw the first fin.

OK, not really. I’m just trying to weed out some readers. Maybe I can drop things down to a dedicated few so we can get to the real topic.

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One Kook’s Safari> Nothing keeps these surfers out of the waves

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Written by Bill Barlow Saturday, June 14, 2014 10:25 am

‘They Will Surf Again’ planned for Rambler Road Sunday

Chad deSatnick sent along these images from a previous event from Moondoggie Studios in Cape May. He said the annual They Will Surf Again event, planned Sunday in Wildwood Crest, is amazing for the both the surfers and the volunteers. (photos courtesy Moondoggie Studios/Life Rolls On) Chad deSatnick sent along these images from a previous event from Moondoggie Studios in Cape May. He said the annual They Will Surf Again event, planned Sunday in Wildwood Crest, is amazing for the both the surfers and the volunteers. (photos courtesy Moondoggie Studios/Life Rolls On) Jesse Billauer was 17, just starting a pro surfing career, when he was told he would never surf again after he broke his neck surfing in Malibu. Almost immediately, he started thinking about ways to get back into the water. 

Chad deSatnick, a lifelong Cape May surfer, was told the same thing after a spinal cord injury in 2001.

“My doctor told me I may not walk, and I will never surf again,” deSatnick recalled this week.

It wasn’t easy, but he is walking, and surfing. Billauer can’t walk, but he’s surfing, too.

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One kook’s safari> Surfer girl dreams big

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Written by Bill Barlow Friday, June 06, 2014 11:10 am

Lola Bourgeois, left, likes dance, but Zoë is determined to become a pro surfer. Lola Bourgeois, left, likes dance, but Zoë is determined to become a pro surfer. Every 11-year-old knows what he or she wants to do as a grownup. You remember, don’t you? For a few of you, that wasn’t all that long ago.

Mostly, you wanted to do something amazing.

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One Kook's Safari> Things are changing on the beach, and in the water

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Written by Bill Barlow Tuesday, May 27, 2014 06:09 pm

Where else but in the ocean can you spot a 600-something-pound carnivore, or a whole bunch of them, coming toward you and feel nothing but thrilled?

Seeing the first dolphin of the year is always cool, but after last summer’s brutal infection decimated the local bottlenose dolphin population, seeing pods of them cruising along the break just seems like a gift.

That’s how felt this week, when it seemed like the ocean was crowded with those big grey or black fins. Mostly, just a head and back would roll up out of the water, or a pair of them would, but once in a while, a dolphin would leap clear of the water, as if to get a better view of its surroundings.

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One Kook's Safari> The long and short of boards

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Written by Bill Barlow Monday, May 12, 2014 12:55 pm

A longboarder gets out to the nose of his board. Most agree beginners should start on a longboard, but a lot of surfers never get tired of that smooth, straight ride, and never want to trade for anything smaller. A longboarder gets out to the nose of his board. Most agree beginners should start on a longboard, but a lot of surfers never get tired of that smooth, straight ride, and never want to trade for anything smaller. Last week saw a whole lot of flat.

Day after day, flat and clean or flat and choppy, the occasional toe-biter of a wave that looked pretty but couldn’t really push a board.

Surfers could break out the skateboards, catch up on some videos or hit the road in search of better swell. I saw a SUP out cruising early one morning this week, but it looked as though he was just enjoying the view.

There were some good days recently, though, including a weekend with nice, clean shoulder-high sets. It looked as though everyone who owned a board and a wetsuit hit the water, catching waves left and right and every once in a while on the center, dropping over the whitewater falls in a brief but dramatic splash.

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One Kook's Safari> Welcome back to the break

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Written by Bill Barlow Monday, April 21, 2014 10:31 am

There were some exceptional waves over the winter

It’s not nearly as bad as you might think, says Colin Devine of trudging through the snow to hit some icy waves.

Winter is the best time for surfing on the Jersey Cape, generally. It’s when the big overhead rollers come in, and only dedicated surfers dare the water. For some reason, the very best waves often coincide with snowstorms. This year, as the drifts piled up and kids in shore towns searched for somewhere to sled, many surfers were piling on the neoprene and paddling for the outside.

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One Kook's Safari > Waves wait for no one

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Written by Bill Barlow Friday, October 04, 2013 06:43 am

Plenty of surfers hit the waves Tuesday morning, when sunny skies and a nice, friendly swell made all seem right with the world. Plenty of surfers hit the waves Tuesday morning, when sunny skies and a nice, friendly swell made all seem right with the world.

I’d like to think we are beyond a lot of the petty stereotypes of surfers as slackers and beach bums, more concerned with the waves than with the more conventional pursuits of career, family and shiny new gadgets.

There are far too many surfing doctors, lawyers and other grownup professional types for that old trope to hold up any longer. There are surfer entrepreneurs in every shore town, and I know at least one surfing minister.

But still …

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