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DelMarVa (NJs) - Aug 29, 2002
"Just Like Dolly"
Thursday, August 29, 2002
Naval Jetties, Delaware, East Coast USA
Overcast with periodic light showers, air low 70s, water ~74F (trunks)
3-5', w/some larger ones; SE 9 sec early, NE 7 sec later, early offshore, later light and variable
Low at dawn --> high
Kirk "Weekday" Mantay, Mike "Punchy" Phillips, Toddzilla and Rod Rodgers.

P1010001.JPG Build-up, following the models all week. Anticipation... conditions... winds? It's the East Coast... Last minute decisions and agonizing more over how wind may just blow everything out.

Up at 3:15 am, preparing for the 4 am arrival of the morning owl, Kirk Mantay.  XL cappy and a thermos full of rich coffee, hot bagel and the car packed the evening before. Rain all night. Early morning rendezvous: more rain and wind. Todd and Punchy Flips are waiting in the designated parking lot near the Bay Bridge. Short talk and handshakes... Rack the boards and let's get going!   Plugged in some Mantay special CDs and roared eastward.

R2 Report:  "Just Like Dolly"  (Well almost... but then again, some were almost...)
Crossing the Bay Bridge the whitecaps were showing.  Wind blowing hard on the other side.  We opted to Rt 404 and the northern Delaware coast... and maybe even some Delaware Bay mysto spots.  Buoys showed a good 10-12' swell, 8 sec swell running and wind was forecast to be 10-15 kts from the south.  Halfway down Rt 404 the rain started to slacken and looking at the tree tops asked myself, "Where's the wind?"  Stopped for a quick discharge and refueling stop at the WaWa and again the silent question, "Where's the wind?"  As we reach the turnoff for Cape Henlopen it's decision time on where to head -- up the Bay or IRI or elsewhere. Finally, I ask the crew, "Where's the wind?"  Wow, there's no wind.  Let's go straight to NJs and check it out.

The gate is not yet open and about 6 cars are parked along the way.  Oh shit... it is crowded already... how did all these people guess that conditions would turn around?  Regardless, we trot down to an overlook to see for ourselves.  We see four people in the water spread out from the jetty to the cove, offshore winds and the shoals pitching over with probable 8' barrels.  Mysto - where's the boat?  Cape May is also visible across the bay. We jam back to the car, un-rack the boards, grab our stuff and scurry down to the break. I am a short distance behind the pack having to pop in my contacts first.

Mantay scores first wave and sets the bar... it's the only picture I shoot with the camera for the next four hours... the shot should be better but you gotta understand it was a one hander in motion (see pic below).  I am in the water for roughly the next four hours.  Everyone scores tons of waves.

The morning's waves can be divided into three distinct phases.  Phase one featured waves from the ESE, strong current off the point, semi-glassy with peaks working from the point, 2nd peak and 3rd peak and beyond.  With the advil taking a while to kick in my lower back was still tweaking so I divided my time between the nice ones off the deep jetty peak and the 2nd peak, catching plenty of fun waves with 2 to 3 others on the point.  Mantay is ripping the 2nd peak scoring one left after another.  Todd is catching a fair share way down the cove... every now and then you'd see him walking up the beach with a big smile.  Punchy was exploring all the breaks and loving life.

Phase two represented a crossover period where the waves on the point became very disorganized with a ESE/ENE mix.  Rides became very short and not much to mention.  After catching one of the rare ones all the way to the beach I mentioned to Todd that we may be headed south to explore for some larger swell.  "WHAT?!?!  You want larger waves???  These are about the biggest I have ever been in!!!"  I just grinned and paddled back out for some more.  Within about 15 minutes Phase three was well underway.  Swells had shifted to a dominant ENE, size improved, the current off the point disappeared and sets rolled in at 2nd Peak.  This looked more like the swells that the offshore buoys were showing overnight.  Weekday continued his mastery of the 2nd peak lefts and rights scoring repeated long rides and some cover-ups.  Todd was having a grand time catching what he termed "the best wave in my life." Punchy aspired to the "Weekday Nose Ding Special On-The-Rocks."  He failed on the getting hammered, dinged and stuffed columns, but picked off one after another inside jetty peak for several nice rides.

My wave of the day came late in the morning.  After walking around to the southside of the jetty, paddling out and drifting into a semi-deep position on the jetty's point (with the ENE/NE swells you don't want to be too deep as the waves were tending to break right into the rocks), a large wall rolled in setting up perfect for a takeoff.  Turning and stroking only once I was on it.  Down the line were two humps, Punchy and Weekday.  I rode the wave high over Punchy and made a hard turn back into the curl for a full spray on Weekday, made a hard bottom turn driving me up to the lip, floated down the next section, pulled into a fat curl that just spit all over me and rode down into the cove.  This wave made the trip -- it was just like Dolly in its shape and form -- easily my best of the spring and summer

Candy Striper and the Hot S**t Grommet.  Our friend the Candy Striper joined us for about 45 minutes today but was a non-factor.  He stayed by himself and out of the way, rather subdued in his full length wetsuit.  The HSG showed up late in our session wanting to prove he could catch every wave of the day by constantly paddling in and out of people.  There was a need to establish some order in the line-up so I simply kept position and made a drop on a large, close-out wave that I had no chance of making, but *I did have position*.  Afterwards, I winked at him letting him know that he would have a line on that but there's a limit to the snaking. Postscript:  Todd had an eye popping expression on his face as I made the drop thinking there was going to be a full on kerplunk on top of him as he was positioned inside and paddling out.  I angled left towards the jetty, smiled and let him know what was going on.  Overall, a very mellow crowd with lot's of waves and encouragement passed around.

Super crowded as we left for the day and "Lifeguards."  After four hours in the water we were tired and happy campers.  Escaped the ensuing crowds by a hair.  As Todd and I drip dried by the dune these four dudes were walking up the beach with their boards and acting all goofy.  Then they pulled out their rashguards which had something about Delaware Lifeguards printed fore and aft.  Ha Ha.  More arrivals as we walked to the parking overlook.  Then an oversized SUV with at least 6 boards showed.  This bunch started pulling on their spring suits and full suits... like, "What's wrong with this picture???"  We told them we were quite comfy in our trunks and rashies.  They were actually a friendly enough bunch but everybody tried clustering around the jetty (see pic below) -- dangerous situation -- quickly becoming kooksville.

Cruised the coast checking out spots along the Gordon's Pond stretch.  Many small jetties similar to the ones that used to dot the Ocean City stretch, but none of significant wind breaking or wave channeling size.  South Pond featured set of nice top-to-bottom curls dominated by a mix of shortboarders and bodyboarders. This break is next to a high rise condo and metered parking. Has potential.  We cruised on to Indian River Northside.  There was plenty of swell energy in the water but everything was breaking very close in with the higher tide.  This has been a problem at low tide, too, over the past year at N-IRI. Southside was very small with nobody out. The beach is eroding away with an now exposed cement structure on the 10 yds of remaining beach.  IRI-North is in a  disgusting condition -- all this does is drive folks to other breaks.  The beach is also eroding badly at NJs.  For one thing, Delaware needs to ban all those 4WD vehicles ripping up the remaining beach and the dune structures.

Lunched on Cubanos at a restaurant in Dewey Beach just up the street from DBS&S.

Wrapped the day up sharing a fine red wine and dinner with temporary Baltimore resident, Dan King, talking story about the day's surf, Blue Crush and other "surf movies," our alt.surfing soap opera culture, Joanne VanMeter's upcoming trip to the Maldives, hiking the Appalachian Trail and other good times.  Dan King now sports a fine ASC baseball cap.
Sore but lovin' it the next day.  My co-workers notice a certain glow.  I just smile.

Kirk's Visual Image of a
Tropical Storm Dolly

Kirk reports, "Here is a still image
of the storm's center, taken at
very high speed, from NWS's E-3
Hurricane Chaser."

Quiberon, Bretagne, France

My best wave of the day was
something like this but maybe
a foot smaller.

8th St., OC/Md

Here's a pic that landlubber
Neal Carver picked off
the local webcam.

The Weekday Report: "Thursday Surf Wrap II"
How unlikely. Wednesday 5:30pm, "Rod, I'm going to bail. The wind is going to howl, it's going to suck." Wednesday 6:00pm, "Fine, Rod, I'll go."

Got up at 3am and tried to pile my 9'0" into my rental car (a Ford Focus), only to realize that the seats only "sort of" fold down. So I rode through downtown Baltimore (and then I-95) with the back 4' of my board sticking out the open trunk, driving with one hand and holding onto the nose of the board with the other hand. Beautiful.

Cranked Jack Johnson and Los Straitjackets en route to the coast, very low hopes, trying to create some positive wave vibe. Tried to increase the positive vibe by eating the Mike Law zen surf diet: black coffee and nutrigrain bars instead of donuts and diet mountain dew (the Bruce zen diet I got hooked on this winter).

We got to NJs around 7, to find the gate closed with 6 cars parked outside. @#$(*&#$!!!! Got out of the truck and felt the wind---OFFSHORE! 5mph max, from the WSW. Paddled out, checked out the scene. About 6 guys out, scattered throughout 1 wide takeoff zone + the second peak. Awesome! Todd and I paddled out at the 3rd
peak, Mr. Carver's signature spot. Pretty quickly, I paddled into a little peak that grew from stomach high on the paddle, to chest high on the drop-in, to shoulder high on the ride. I didn't even pull a turn, just held on down the line, and pulled out over the lip before the closeout. Todd got a nearly identical ride a few seconds later (a right though), and got his first closeout barrel on the NJs inside.

Felt dialed in, paddled to second peak. Wave count continued to be fairly low, but every ride was amazing and very high quality and long ride (except for the occasional face plant on drop-in). The size actually was a stability bonus yesterday, as when you stood up you had sufficient time (1 whole second) to decide if you were going to drop in real low or ride right below the lip.

Rod's friend the Candy Striper showed up and set on 2nd peak with me. We shared waves and I enjoyed getting covered up on the inside on some of the smaller (3-4 ft) waves. It felt great. I had a couple rides in the 5 foot range but there were a ton of sneakers that rolled in, easily 6'+ and clean if you wanted to sit and wait 25 minutes for them. Rode too far inside and smashed my foot on a rock underwater. Nice move, X Lax.

I eventually moved outside to the 1st peak but the wind was picking up but variable, and the NE swell was filling in. Got a few waves out there that weren't real memorable due to the fact that they got closed out by 2nd peak. Moved back to second and picked off more waves!!!

Mike likes to sit inside on 1st peak and pick off the smaller waves but he eventually moved to the outside b/c the smaller waves were closing out. He got some nice long rides on that tiny 6'4" or whatever. Todd hung in there and got some long rides and I didn't see his board tombstone in the offshore winds half as much as mine did. Rod only got in 1 fight and had the biggest waves of course. He even sprayed me on a turn off the lip.

Crowd started getting way ridiculous and we headed out. What a great, BIG session, how unlikely is that? Had lunch at a Cuban place in Dewey, checked the other spots (NS Indian River is dead by the way, that place is trashed).... headed back. Thanks guys for going, and thanks Rod for dragging me out on a day that I was SURE
would be victory at sea/unridable! Goes to show what I know!
- Weekday Mantay

Quick shot taken as I was walking
down the path to the Naval Jetties.
 Kirk's first wave in the cove.

Punchy's Thursday Wrap Up
Met Todd, for the first time, in the cold rain at Bay50 at the butt-crack of dawn. Rod and Kirk showed up and we were off at a bit past 5am. The ride down was filled with anticipation... Rod even had the marine radio crankin'. We seemed to think we were going to get the swell of the year, coupled with gale force winds. In fact, Kirk even proposed checking Slaughter Beach and other mysto points within the DelBay just to see if they'd be breaking. But all were hungry for surf, so in the end we b-lined it for Naval Jetties.

Rod's about right, there were a few 6ft bombs that came through, though I  caught nothing more than 4ft. But there was some power out there, my 6'6" was generating more speed than I can remember in a long time. I had my pump foot working too, and was able to get a few 40+ yard rides with some  good carving faces. Oh yeah, and I blew so many opportunities from stalling, losing balance, etc - well, it was a tune-up for GP2K2.

Did I mention that the winds were not a factor at all - maybe 5mph, couldn't pick the direction. It was a clean, clean morning for a few hours.  Rod caught so much wave time off that point - just ride after endless ride - fun to watch.

Crowds varied - we traded waves with maybe 4 other guys for the first part of the morning. Then for maybe 25 amazing minutes, ASC was in charge of Naval Jetties - great rides all around the group. By 10am things got very crowded again. As we were packing up the car around 10:45, the crowd must have been 15-20, with more coming into the parking lot. It was getting ridiculous.

Thanks for the ride down, Rod - this trip was a stoker for Hatteras. Sorry ASC, I brought the Digicam down, but didn't manage any pictures - too much fun in the water....


Waves declined in size by late
morning w/increased chop.
Catching one inside the jetty.
The crowd really picked up
after we'd punched out our four
hours of water time.

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Last updated on 09/01/02