Johnny Meehan – Rye Rocks kingpin, now in his 60s, and still the epitome of hardcore. Photo: Brian Nevins
In a welcome respite from the grip of La Niña on the seasonal east coast (warmer temperatures, lower swell, smaller surf), a classic winter pattern has set in to produce two big storms turning into a major swell event for the next few days. The first storm formed on Thursday then lifted northward, heading into Canada yesterday and bringing sub-zero wind chills to New England and eastern Canada.
Photo: Brian Nevins
But as scary (or romantic) as this story already sounds, it’s going to get even more dramatic once the second storm crosses the southeastern United States before turning left and heading northeast. tomorrow. And it will be the day for key locations along the East Coast – cold, blustery, offshore winds and the biggest southerly swell we’ve seen this winter. But before we get ahead of ourselves, here’s a temperature gauge, so to speak, on the foam and frost circulating around New England this weekend:
Photo: Brian Nevins
“New Hampshire came out strong this morning,” reports Brian Nevins, a former Surfer Magazine team shooter and by far the most prolific and dynamic surf photographer in New England history. “Crazy cold, but still pretty when those mornings roll around. I think we bottomed out at 4 degrees F air temperature just before sunrise.
Forecast: Wrightsville | External banks | GB | Jersey | New York | Rhode Island | Maine
Photo: Brayden Rudert
Before signing on to paddle himself for a few hypodermic head baths, Nevins magnanimously backs another local lens, up-and-coming Portsmouth, NH-based photographer/videographer Brayden Rudert, who frequently films coastal action from Rhode Island to Maine. “Nothing beats a swell at home,” says Brayden, “even when it’s below zero with the wind chill. When a solid, consistent swell lines up like this, New England has plenty of good spots to check in. Just deal with tides and less than ideal weather.
“The surf was already pretty aligned at first light,” he continues. “The tide just needed a little time to fill up. The sandbars were choppy and the current was strong so it wasn’t particularly easy to be in the right spot, nor was there a definite peak. But it was a welcome sight after such a bad flat period. I’d rather swim than shoot from land, but sometimes the conditions are just too unruly to shoot from the water. I actually tried swimming that day as well, but a frozen lens port rendered most of those shots unusable.
Photo: Ralph Fatello
One man who knows all too well the pros and cons of this region is legendary photographer Ralph Fatello, who has been documenting New England’s surf culture through his “Surf Free or Die” franchise since the days of VHS/DVD. of the 20th century. “Today was damn good,” Ralph concludes. “It was 4 degrees. But honestly it felt like 3 degrees.
Take-out? No matter how cold you think it is wherever you are surfing for the next few days, it could always get colder. Ask anyone who lives in New Hampshire.