One Kook's Safari with Bill Barlow

One Kook’s Safari: Looking for a surfer-to-English dictionary?

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Written by Bill Barlow Saturday, August 23, 2014 08:08 am

A goofyfoot longboarder takes a backside ride off a point break. Some surf jargon sounds pretty gnarly, but most of it is just descriptive. A goofyfoot longboarder takes a backside ride off a point break. Some surf jargon sounds pretty gnarly, but most of it is just descriptive. A few days this summer, the waves rolled in too small to push a board. A couple of other days saw essentially no waves at all: a flat, blue expanse to the horizon.

It looked lovely, but there was nothing to ride.

A couple of other days were complete blowouts; there were strong waves, but they were breaking all over the place. Each wave was plenty strong enough for a ride, but it could break almost anywhere, and there was no form to the wave aside from that wash of whitewater.

I came back in after trying my luck on one such morning while the lifeguards were setting up for the day.

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One Kook’s Safari: So far, ’14 has been an excellent summer for waves

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Written by Bill Barlow Saturday, August 16, 2014 08:00 am

Greg Beck said he knew the waves were going to be good on Wednesday.

Everything was in place for a nice session in the early evening, after the Peck’s Beach Surf contest finished up. He expected some nice clean, summer waves.

“We didn’t think it was going to be that good,” he said.

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One Kook’s Safari: All-day play in big Bertha waves

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Written by Bill Barlow Thursday, August 07, 2014 03:54 pm

Well, so far the Jersey Shore is two for two on hurricanes in 2014.

Arthur and Bertha treated us nicely. We have yet to see how Cristobal, Dolly and Edouard and the rest will do, but this week, there are a lot of surfers walking around with noodle arms from paddling.

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One Kook's Safari: Are you ready to fight for a ride? I'm not

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Written by Bill Barlow Sunday, August 03, 2014 10:00 am

The guy in the center won this race and got a nice ride at Waverly Boulevard in Ocean City this week. When the waves are firing, there can be steep competition for rides in the summer. By the way, take a look at the foot of the guy trying to get out of the way of the surfer on the right. The guy in the center won this race and got a nice ride at Waverly Boulevard in Ocean City this week. When the waves are firing, there can be steep competition for rides in the summer. By the way, take a look at the foot of the guy trying to get out of the way of the surfer on the right. I was about ready to drop the “Kook” in the title of this column.

It’s been a couple of years now. I can actually catch waves, even some pretty big waves. OK, relatively big waves for South Jersey, although I gave a pass to those amazing blizzard-powered monsters that rolled in last winter, and waited for the Hurricane Arthur swell to ease up a bit before heading in.

I can’t walk the nose, I find shortboards squirrely and pretty much unridable, but I’m out there paddling for the peak fairly regularly. I was about ready to declare an end to my kookdom.

Then I hit Waverly.

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Leave the world behind and go surfing

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Written by Bill Barlow Saturday, July 26, 2014 09:59 am

A surfer cruises past some swimmers on a recent ride. A surfer cruises past some swimmers on a recent ride. Somebody’s phone is ringing.

Somebody’s phone is always ringing.

There’s one on the wall, another in your pocket that also dings when you get a text or email or Facebook notification. For some reason, you also downloaded Facetime and HeyTell and told Angry Birds it was OK to remind you to play it every day. You even paid extra for an app to accept faxes (in case anyone still sends faxes) and a special telegraph adaptor to receive messages from the Old West.

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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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