What is it like to be a Surfer from New York City?
New York is known for its Skyline and fast city life, but, until the pro contest in 2011, who knew it was also a haven for surfing? Until I experienced it for myself I would have not even thought about surfing waves overlooking the skyscrapers of New York. I have only surfed in New York 3 times. The waves were always fun, but all I really remember was the insane cold. Let’s see what it’s like to be a Surfer from New York.
Can you introduce yourself? Whats your name? How old are you?
"Hello, I’m Kevin, a 37 year old landscape architect living in Brooklyn, NY."
When did you start surfing?
"I started surfing about 12 years ago. Although those first couple of years were mostly spent paddling to the lineup and trying to catch waves and not really surfing the waves."
Were you raised inNew York City?
"I grew up in Jersey City, NJ just outside of NYC. Not exactly the mecca for surfers."
Since when do you live in New York City?
"I’ve been living in Brooklyn for the past six years."
How are the waves usually in New York? How does the forecast usually look?
"I usually go surfing in Rockaway, NYC. It is about a 40 minute drive from my apartment or a longer subway ride. People generally don’t think that there are waves or even an ocean in New York City, but there is and the waves can get quite good. The waves depend on the various storm systems that pass through the area and generate waves. The best time of year to surf is during the fall hurricane season or the winter due to the winter storms. During this time the waves can get quite big and powerful and really fun to ride. The summer does offer some opportunities to surf but the waves are usually smaller and the crowds much bigger."
What are your favorite conditions to surf?
"I am partial to conditions in the chest the head high range with the swell and wind conditions lined up perfectly. Glassy days are hard to come by in NYC, but when they are here they are quite perfect. Especially when the air has that first bit of crispness to it, but then the sun warms you up in your wetsuit as you pull into a beautiful wave."
If you are a tourist in New York, are there special risks you have to deal with if you surf in NYC?
"Surfing in Rockaway is relatively safe and not a concern for a tourist. We do have rock jetties on the beach so if you aren’t paying attention you could get swept into the rocks during a big swell, but for the most part everyone surfs and gets along well with each other."
Would you ever choose any other place to live if you would have the choice?
"Hmmm, interesting question. I traveled the world for over a year in search of the next great place to live and ended up back in Brooklyn."
What is stereotypical for a surfer in New York?
"Most surfers in NYC are very friendly and chill. NYC is a very fast paced, career orientated place to live and so surfers tend to stand out in this city. When the waves come, you won’t see your surfer friends for a few days as they all disappear to the beach to surf as much as possible."
What does surfing mean to you?
"Surfing is pure enjoyment for me. It gives me a chance to get out into the ocean and be in nature when I’m generally surrounded by concrete and buildings on a daily basis. One of the great things about surfing is that you will fail many times in the quest to get better and understand the sport. This failure only strengthens you and makes you more resilient and you can recognize that in every other surfer who is out in the water with you. We have all face planted or taken one on the head or had a serious hold down before, but we all keep surfing because that feeling of catching and riding a wave is unlike any other out there. Time slows down and your senses become heightened."
What do you do for living and how much time do you actually get in the water?
"I am a landscape architect who helps build parks and playgrounds in NYC. Luckily my work day ends quite early so I can always try to sneak an afternoon session in during the week if there are waves."
Thank for that great interview, Kevin!