Let’s Go Surfing! (But Why Now?)

Late February has been quite a tease down here in South Jersey, giving us a cruel, fleeting taste of 70 degrees and sunshine. This, of course, has me thinking about surfing. It happens every late winter. I start getting the itch.

Since I first paddled out into the waters off Long Beach Island almost 10 years ago, surfing has been almost constant obsession. Anyone who has ever known the sensation of surfing will tell you the same thing: you can never get enough.

Surfing, you see, is the closest thing I can imagine to flight. (The kind birds do, not airplanes.) Standing on a surfboard, gliding along the water, every ride is a revelation. It never ceases to amaze me that I can be propelled and supported by nothing but the impossible force of nature, a wave that traveled hundreds of miles across open seas and came to break here, on my beach.

Alas, it’s still too cold for my constitution. And that’s the catch for any New Jersey surfer: summertime is when our waves are at their worst—small, often un-surfable dribbles. The fall and winter is where it’s at. I just don’t have the stomach for it.

However, the guys who made the documentary “Dark Fall” certainly do. I had the pleasure of meeting these dudes last summer at the premier of their film, which chronicles some of the Garden State’s most intense, dedicated and famous cold-weather surfers. The beauty of “Dark Fall,” which was directed by New Jerseyan Alex DePhillipo, is that you don’t have to be a surfer to enjoy it. “Dark Fall” is poetic, meditative and inspiring, taking viewers on a journey through the harshest of seasons and the gnarliest of waves.

Check out the trailer here. And when the weather starts to warm, come paddle out. It will change your life, man.

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