Expecting slaps and getting kisses
Last year, in SURFING's America Issue [June 2011], I wrote the following about the East Coast:
"My whole life I've pretty much pretended it wasn't there, at least in surfing terms. When I was a kid and I'd come to an East Coast section in a mag or whatever, I'd skip over it immediately. Couldn't be bothered…Nobody cares about the East Coast except East Coasters. But lemme tell ya, they care a lot…The waves probably get better than Southern California, just not as often. But they [East Coasters] swear it's true. They have so much pride!
But the similar type of pride that, like, Brazil has. They're the scrappy underdog."
A year and a half later I found myself at Penn Station in New York with Chas Smith and our assistant editor, Brendan Buckley. Somehow, someway, we planned on going surfing. While we waited for our train we ate falafel on the steps outside Madison Square Garden, our faces raised toward the Fall sun. Between us we had three tickets for the Long Island Railroad, two hangovers, a single pair of trunks and zero expectations. Just get us to the ocean, waves or not, to wash away the city. So we trained it to Long Beach and cabbed it to Balaram Stack's house and, with his reluctant permission, borrowed three boards, a wetsuit, a pair of boardies and his mother's car to drive us to the beach. We didn't even check it. Just ran up onto the boardwalk, with Balaram boards and low hopes, and were startled with the sight. It looked like the 2011 NY Quiky Pro was running on loop — perfect, offshore peaks broke up and down the beach with just a handful of guys in the water. "Oh my Gods" and "Are you kidding mes?" flowed uncontrollably from our mouths as we skipped across the sand and jumped in the water. The cool, cleansing water. Forty-five minutes was all it took. Forty-five minutes of splitting A-frames with friends in the groomed, head-high waves and I was a believer. My preconceptions of surfing on the East Coast washed away with the hangover.
When you expect a slap and get a kiss, that kiss is 10 times sweeter for the simple fact that it wasn't a slap. While I look back at my comments about the East Coast and cringe at how close-minded I was, I also have to smile. Had I gone to New York expecting to score and surfed the same waves I did, my expectations would have simply been matched. But use the contrast between my expectations and what I found was so great, it turned a day of good surf into one of the funnest sessions I've ever had. And so I know that this issue is a win-win. If you love the East Coast your beliefs will be reinforced by the pages that follow. And if you don't you'll ignore it, as I used to, until you one day find yourself on that lousy Right Coast with low expectations and a fortuitous cold front will pass and make you wonder why you'd ever hated. —Taylor Paul
Inside this Issue
056 THE NOT SO FAR EAST
The American Orient can seem like a foreign land sometimes. Different weather systems. No mountains. Brown seas. But we mustn't fear what we do not understand. Learn the language and seemingly weird ways and maybe, just maybe, you could one day find yourself in a slime-colored shack from a strong nor'easter.
068 THE STATE I HATE
Is Florida just a flat swamp full of rednecks and old folks? Crummy waves and Bible-thumping radicals? SURFING's editor at living large, Chas Smith, road-trips the place of his own prejudice and returns with a fair and balanced new view. Photography by DJ Struntz
074 SPOOKY LITTLE GIRL LIKE YOU
Dane Reynolds and Craig Anderson wait in a haunted house in Nova Scotia for a flaky girl named Leslie and a flakier man named Kelly. Canadian ghosts watch them punt and carve from shoreline mansions. Did Kelly show? Did Leslie? Did anyone get bludgeoned? The answer to at least one of those questions is yes.
Photography by DJ Struntz. Tale by Taylor Paul.
080 NIGHT AND DAY
Florida-native turned Cali transplant Evan Geiselman's two homes couldn't be more different. But he seems to be dealing just fine.
Words by Beau Flemister
086 EAST INJECTION
Could you have guessed that Balaram Stack had a spiritual guide? That Vegas had a beachbreak and it was called A.C.? And that some West Coasters pledge allegiance to the East? Get your dose of truth serum here.