If you’re a longtime Loch Arbor surfer, you’re most likely cringing at the thought of us giving up your secret, but bro, the spot rocks.
The stretch of beach from Allen-hurst to Loch Arbor holds swells of up to 15 feet. One local, who wishes to remain anonymous for fear of getting pounded by his boys for not clamming up, says that if you’re thinking of paddling into the lineup, you should be prepared to face the angry stares of locals who bemoan the spot as “ridiculously overcrowded.” And remember, no matter where you go, be cool. Proper surfing etiquette is strictly but lovingly enforced. While you’re out there waiting for a tasty one, here’s a little inside info to chat about:
You can get a board shaped in California or Florida, or pluck one off an Asian assembly line. Or Bill LaFleur, owner of Navesink’s Cosmic Bull, could customize a thin, high-performance shortboard or an old-school longboard for you.
“New Jersey surfers are some of the most committed and discerning on the planet,” LaFleur says. “Because of that, it’s a great feeling to see those smiles on their faces when they pick up their new boards.” Cosmic Bull relies on shaper Tom Eadon’s 41 years of board-building experience; the store is a local fixture but sells boards in Massachusetts and Costa Rica too. Cosmicbullsurfboards.com.
Why would wave riders ever leave Hawaii for our shores? The $15,000 purse at the Belmar Pro surf contest helps. Each year during the active Atlantic hurricane season, thousands of fans and surfers from around the world come together for a surf-filled weekend on Belmar’s 18th Avenue beach. Aussie Shaun Cansdell won the 2003 event and now surfs the Association of Surfing Professionals’ elite World Championship Tour.This year, hungry surfers like Ocean City’s Rob Kelly, Lavallette’s Sam Hammer, and Surf City’s Randy Townsend are hoping to hoist the giant check. The action is scheduled for September 6 through 9. Belmarpro.com.
In 2006, Dean Randazzo spent the summer in a La Jolla, California hospital bed, undergoing radiation treatment and a stem-cell transfusion to beat Hodgkin’s disease for the third time. Beating the odds is something Randazzo is good at. This Somers Point local is the only New Jersey surfer to compete on the World Championship Tour, and in the mid-’90s he was ranked in the top 44 internationally.
Here at home, he won the 2003 Garden State Grudge Match and the 2004 Red Bull Icebreak, made the finals of the 2005 O’Neill Belmar Pro, and aced the 2006 Manasquan Pro-Am just weeks after doctors released him. The Dean Randazzo Cancer Foundation’s Surf for a Cause contest each September in Margate raises thousands of dollars for research and aid to athletes waging their own fights against cancer. With the disease in remission, the proud Randazzo, a new dad, has set his sights on the East Coast competition schedule this season. Deanrandazzocancerfoundation.org.
There’s no shortage of lifestyle-inspired threads on the racks of surf shops and boutiques in coastal towns. But Jetty Gear is designed and created at the Jersey Shore by five local boarders whose passion for the surf/skate/snow culture is captured in their progressive designs, environmental initiatives, and a growing team of rippers. The collaboration that is Jetty Gear—by two accountants, a bartender, an art student, and a history teacher, all with strong connections to LBI—is available at 7th Street Surf Shop in Ocean City, Baroo Surf in Seaside Heights, Eastern Lines in Belmar, Fate in Manahawkin, Inlet Outlet in Manasquan, Ocean Outfitters in Wildwood, OG Surf Shop in Long Branch, Primal Surf in Brigantine, Offshore Surf & Extreme in Northfield, Wavejammer in Toms River, Suncatcher in Stone Harbor, as well as Farias Surf and Sport, the Surf Shack, and Surf Unlimited, all on LBI. Jettylife.com.
From the first days of the World Wide Web, hardcore waveriders hated the phrase “surfing the ’Net.” The act of paddling out and riding a swell back in seems far removed from the sedentary act of working a mouse, but about 12,000 surfers each month know that a few clicks on localswell.com will help them keep up with the scene. The six-year-old site offers local surf conditions, news, forums, an events calendar, and ads. But the Web surfers can’t stop gawking at the photos of “shooter” Tom Spader and a host of contributors, who post an array of beach-related images year-round. Localswell.com.
Every Shore community has at least one time-honored surf shop where you can find surf lessons for the kids, browse the new boards, or just sit back and watch the latest surf flick. Spellbinders in Allenhurst has been slinging wax and wares since 1987; three years ago, its second shop opened in Long Branch, the hometown of pro surfer Mike Gleason, winner of the 2006 Garden State Grudge Match. The Long Branch shop is run by Vince Troenic, who qualified for the World Championships in 1968 and owned the Islanders Surf Shop in Long Branch from 1972 to 1982. Spellbinderssurf.com.