Liquid Lines

Guidelines for Getting Along, the Surf Rundown, Water Temp Plateau ... and Goat Yoga

As Everyone Looks to Have the Perfect Summer, Here Are a Few Suggestions
By JON COEN | May 22, 2019
Photo by: Paul Boardman The sun is rising on an exciting LBI summer. Here are some suggestions as to how to get along when our sandbar gets crowded.

Surf City — Whoa, whoa. Slow down.

I know it’s been a long winter. Hey, they all are. But we’re here at the precipice of another LBI summer and everyone is understandably excited. Plus they just dropped the speed limit, so, like, literally slow down. No need to give those summertime “special” cops a reason to nab you.

For those who’ve been away since Chowderfest, it’s nice to see you. We’ve missed you. If you’re wondering what’s been going on here, well, there have certainly been some changes. Did you check out the zipline?

We’ve been busy getting this place ready for your arrival. Maybe busy is an understatement. It’s more like a panic. Each morning when the light turns green on Ninth Street, a tide of trucks with names on them come flooding onto the Island to fix roofs, wash decks and install new entertainment systems for summer fun.

But we’re going to make that leap into summer whether we’re ready or not. We’re pretty sure the deck has been hot coated, the flowers planted, the mini-golf fairways cleaned, the tuna is marinating, The Beachcomber is out, the grass is cut, the bands have been booked, and the shelves are stocked. In short, we’ve been feeling cute and posting some pictures that we might delete later.

But as our sandbar goes from ghost town to boom town, with everyone digging for their own version of summer gold, it can get a little hectic. We have yet to have Chris Christie kick everyone off the sand (a la Island Beach State Park) and our local cops have never been given reason to punch a young mother in the face in front of her baby (a la Wildwood.) It’s never a full melee. At the most, it's a bit of a kerfuffle on the pickleball court.

So to start the summer, here are a few suggestions. These are not rules, mind you. Those we don’t need any more of. These are just some guidelines for when things get a little nuts this summer.

• If you own a house on the Island, whether you’re a year-rounder or just a summer resident, it’s your responsibility to watch the parking on your street. You didn’t make that investment so you have to watch some gauche day-tripper unload his family and schlepp up to the beach from in front of your second home. Make sure your family’s vehicles are arranged to give everyone else minimal space to park in front of your house. Skip the beach day if you have to. Your time is better spent playing parking monitor.

• Make sure you get your exercise this summer. You could do it early in the morning, but really the best time to get your workout is when the sun is high in the sky, specifically on a weekend. And we all know the best form of exercise on LBI is a road bike. Never mind the fact that there are hundreds of miles of open roads just inland through New Jersey’s vast Pinelands. You burn more calories on the Boulevard. Make certain to ride side-by-side with all your Spandex-clad friends when the Island is experiencing peak traffic. Cars have to share the road, so make sure you’re well out into the lane when you ride.

• For business owners, municipalities and other local organizations, don’t worry about updating your website. Now that you’ve had Facebook for the last seven years and Insta for the last three, why would you give any love to your website? Your last blog post about the impending Hurricane Irma in 2011 was so riveting. Don’t bury that compelling content.

• If LBI isn’t your year-round residence or you recently moved here, make sure you explain how the Island could be better, if we did things the way they do “back home,” wherever that may be. By the same token, if you’re a local make sure everyone in earshot knows it.

• There are some remarkable mobile Bluetooth products on the market today, allowing you to blast your tunes wherever you go. Just remember that no matter what your taste in music, everyone else loves it and wants to hear it. Whether it’s mumble rap, electronic dance music, Bob Marley’s Legend (because that’s the only reggae record that was ever made) or that new overproduced country song, everyone around you loves it. Turn it up.

• If you’re going out to eat this summer, there are a few points of etiquette to adhere to. When you arrive at an overcrowded restaurant, make sure everyone in your party goes inside at once to see about a table. Especially if you have a big party, have the whole crew create a log jam from the sidewalk to the server station.

Once given an approximate wait time, have a member of your party, preferably an older male, cruise around the dining room to see if there’s a magical open table that the hostess just forgot about. It also helps if you check in every five minutes to ask “How long now?”

Once seated, be sure to talk about the dietary restrictions you’ve imposed on yourself as well.

• Next, we know the Island can get expensive. While there are a handful of surf and watersport outfitters that can point you in the direction of a quality bodyboard or beachchair, make sure to buy a cheap one at a discount shop or convenience store. It’s not only economical, but it’s easier. When it breaks at the end of the day, you can just leave it at the top of the street. No need to carry it home.

• Lastly, whenever you have any kind of conflict, make sure you take it directly to social media. When the renters next door carelessly overflow the garbage can corrals, the kid at the counter mixes up your to-go order, or a Frisbee lands on your beach blanket, don’t ever attempt to resolve the conflict with person-to-person conversation. Go immediately to one of the Island local Facebook groups and complain to our virtual society instead of having a rational conversation with your neighbor. It’s really the only way to get results.

SUMMER SURF, WINTER WATER: Is it possible that we surf the least in May, on average, of any month of the year?

Between the mostly lackluster swell, onshore winds, still chilly water and the amount of things we need to do to prepare for summer, getting in the water has not really been too appealing. For year-rounders, we surf all winter when the water is cold and the waves are firing. There’s no question. We surf all summer when the waves are bad because the water’s warm, even if it means a groveler or a longboard. And it’s not just about the comfort factor. It’s simply convenience.

In another month, the summer sandbars will be set up, the ocean will be warmer and we won’t need more than a light wetsuit. Everywhere on the Island will be breaking about the same. Many of us will be on the beach more just because it’s summer and the weather is nicer. Whether you live on the Island or you’re just here more in the summer (work, family, etc.), it’s just easier to jump in and surf little waves. So in conclusion, I am confident that most of us surf the least in May.

The middle of last week saw that Mother’s Day nor’easter clean itself up, which was decent. There were a few shoulder-high waves on Wednesday (not to mention some massive dolphins) and then small, cleaner surf on Thursday. Then it was mostly down until Monday’s weather system moved out for some clean, little lines on Tuesday, barely 2-foot. None of this has been fantastic, just average May waves.

This week also saw Subtropical Storm Andrea form, our first named storm of 2019, off the southeast coast. Andrea moved north and is currently falling apart out in the ocean, unlikely to deliver any waves. And if you’re thinking “Wow, a named storm in May? That’s pretty unusual,” well, actually, it’s not. We get these weak storms pretty often this time of the year.

Locally, while ocean temps were above average in April, we’ve made little progress the last few weeks, leaving us right about at average for late May. Tuesday morning was downright chilly in the low 50s. (Most Memorial Day weekends don’t see a lot of swimmers.) As opposed to Labor Day, there are rarely epic waves for this holiday. 2019 does look to produce some surf, though. This is nothing to get terribly excited about, but the models point for a little system delivering waves on Friday and then possibly further building on Saturday for another shot on Sunday.

PLENTY O’ SAND: For those who haven’t been reading Liquid Lines all winter, I should bring you up to speed on our beaches. And for those who have, here’s an update as we go into summer

LBI’s sandy parts are about as big and healthy as they get right now to start summer. Like, so much girth that we may have to change our name to Wide Beach Island. Now, as many of us know, the prevailing southerly littoral drift of summer has a way of building up our beaches. Well, should that happen, we could see some very naturally occurring super-wide beaches.

Not every beach is massive. But even the spots that are traditionally a skinny stretch of sand are in decent shape. Other spots, particularly mid-Island, are huge.

All this is because we barely had a single northeast blow this winter. In fact, that messy Mother’s Day nor’easter was about the worst we had. And nor’easters are what cause the most beach erosion.

The storm two weeks ago did manage to move some sand around in the surf. All winter, spots that are usually a deep hole had good sandbars. And then just when we should start seeing good sandbars set up everywhere, they got a little screwy. But I doubt it will take much to fill them in again. This is the time of year. You’ll find plenty of sandy real estate on which to hang out this summer, and the best news is that no one will have any pumping going on at their local beach this summer.

SO MANY HAPS: Last weekend, Wave Hog Surf Shop had its annual board swap and there were some classic beauties laying out in the yard in Ship Bottom from Wave Hog and Brighton Beach Surf Shop as well as those brought over by shapers, sellers and collectors.

Manager Max Dimon said it was a good turnout and the weather was definitely right. He did note that there may have been less of a social gathering, but more buyers who came for a specific board.

Mike Lisiewski will hold another swap at Brighton Beach Surf Shop on June 15 from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Then at 4 p.m. they will hold a memorial paddle-out for Richard Lisiewski, Michael’s father who founded not only Brighton Beach Surf Shop but Matador Surfboards, the first surfboard label north of the Mason-Dixon line. He was really New Jersey’s first shaper, a member of both the East Coast and New Jersey Surfing halls of fame, and beloved by those who knew him. All are welcome to come take part, even if you weren’t close. It’s about honoring his legacy.

In upcoming events, I want to mention that next Friday, and every Friday after, there will be Beach Goat Yoga at Veterans Memorial Park in Beach Haven.

Yes, you read that correctly, Namaaaste Goat Yoga will have you doing yoga, apparently with goats.

I write a column that often has to do with people surfing in the snow, so I am all about strange activities. But now, goat yoga is coming to LBI, so there’s that.

This Saturday is the Arts & Craft Beer Festival hosted by the Make Shift Union and Tuckerton Seaport. This first-time event will bring craft beer, live music and over 50 different art vendors to the Seaport from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Entry is $5, which benefits the Seaport and includes a $5 Union Market coupon valid as of June 1. Sounds like a solid new event for Clamtown.

Next Saturday, June 1 is Hop Sauce Fest and also the Hop Sauce Tune Up paddle race, both in Beach Haven. The race is at 9 at the Taylor Avenue waterfront followed by the fest, which is at Veterans Park.

This is a big time of year for festivals. Then once we get into summer, the proper beach and bay events will start popping off.

I sincerely hope everyone enjoys the weekend. Despite my antics at the top of the column, I think we can all be cool to each other and have a fantastic summer. Just turn up the tunes, man.

joncoen@thesandpaper.net

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