|Cristobal charges into New Jersey waters on August 29. All photos in this post come from Harold Wintters.|
“New Jersey has waves?”
I get these questions all the time when people ask about my lifelong passion for Garden State waves. Yes, we get waves. Good waves. But like everything worth chasing, the timing has to be right.
Everyone seems to have an opinion of the Jersey Shore, even if they’ve never been there. Most of the people who have been to New Jersey probably visited the Shore during summer, when the beaches are packed and the air reeks of Coppertone and body spray. Here, tourists bask in the reaffirmation of their long-held stereotypes. Is the sand cramped with orange-hued sunbathers? Yes. Are there d-bags who shave their stomachs and strut around with chests puffed out? Oh, hell yes. Are there waves? Most of the time, no.
The water is calm and clean and cools the hot skin. On summer mornings, the sea is a green glass sheet. While everyone tans on the beach and wades into the shallows, surfers linger around, waiting for something — anything — to happen. Even though it’s gorgeous and sunny out, surfers struggle through the summer months.
But when a tropical storm charges up the Atlantic, everything changes.