cane season

13Aug10

This time of year is so fresh, so rife with clouds and change. As a school child, I loathed it. The ominously close, turbulent skies and intermittent sunshine signified a darkening in my soul that came with going back to school. I vividly remember sitting on the schoolbus and lamenting the drizzle and cloudcover. Flash forward 25 years and I’m remiss to loathe anything about it. With a little understanding, this time of year just feels good.

On the Atlantic coast, June through November marks what is known to it’s inhabitants and weather enthusiasts as hurricane season. The weather patterns don’t usually pick up strength until August, when rapidly warming ocean temps clash with dominant air pressure cells to generate to telltale soupy grey skies and winds that hang low over land. Far from the ocean, this type of weather feels like punishment. Less than 200 miles East, it’s very, very different.

From now until the ocean water grows cold in late fall, tropical depressions and super low pressure systems will bring dependable surf to our coast. There is no strong, reliable surf without the turmoil and grey skies of August and September. It wasn’t until my roaring 20s that I discovered this secret that turns my beloved Jersey Shore, the object of ridicule by many, into a bona fide Private Idaho, Shangri-la, mini mecca, or any other reverant name you can attach to a place. These fluctuations in bariatric pressure cause the waves to built into organized swells, with specific velocities, wave heights, and currents, that when the conditions are right, create surfable New Jersey shorelines.

I’ve been out in hurricanes with waves of 10-15′ and there is nothing on the planet that makes me feel more alive. I look back fondly on the days when I was surfing Ocean City with “Hamburger”, pounded by beach break, paddled out and felt what it was like to be your own ocean-going vessel.  I knew right then a 9-5 job would never do.  I need the freedom to drive out to catch a swell, regardless of what day of the week it is, or how far away.  I wait for the day when my son is old enough to join me in the water. Until then, yearly hurricane season sabbaticals with have to tide me over.

6'2" Lost fish

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