Garden State Grudge Match on; Battle of the Banks postponed for now

Head-high? Check. Hollow? Check. Cold? Ch-ch-ch-check. With the most important elements in place, the 2009 Smith Optics Garden State Grudge Match began this morning at Casino Pier. And before Jersey's best surfers could start trading blows for bragging rights and a big $5k check, they were already feeling the pain.

"It's 35 degrees up here and just coming in," shivered longtime Jersey journo Tim Donnelly. "Glad I ain't out  there right now."
Come tomorrow a new Jersey boy will hold the belt – and the other 35 fellas will be nursing hangovers to finish up the most punishing comp east of the turnpike. Stay tuned.

Meanwhile, the Battle of the Banks decided to postpone this past weekend's event.  It wasn't the waves. It wasn't the wind. It was the road that killed attempts to run  Saturday, as overwash shut down morning traffic right about S-Turns, leaving half the competitors stranded on the wrong side of the contest site. By the time HWY 12 opened, it would've been too late to run the comp, so they've postponed for another swell between now and Nov. 30. (Still, some of the team – and a few free surfers – scored some Lighthouse drainers before dark, the perfect reward for sticking it out.)

Check out footage here and photos here from Saturday's action, and stay tuned for the thrilling conclusion to the Garden State Grudge Match. Keep warm and carry on. Peek the conditions live here.