HURRICANE IRMA | with Dusty, Mitch, Balaram & Gleason
photos & words / tom carey

I love the East Coast. There’s something about it that draws me there. The people, the pizza, the beauty, I don’t really know. The waves are a funny thing. It can go flat for a long time, but when it cranks it’s unbelievably good. The coastline bends just enough for you to work around the wind, jumping from New York to Jersey or North Carolina.

I jumped at the chance to meet Dusty Payne in Boston for a few days before the swell approached. Dusty is a huge Patriots fan so going to the opening night game was a definite yes. It was my first NFL game and to experience it in Boston was a dream come true. The people there are crazy, but in an awesome way. They’re so loud and obnoxiously funny but at the same time they’re the nicest people in the world. And they love sports. We sat in the season ticket holder zone, allowing us to really experience the fans and the vibe. The fans are harsh. They didn’t take well to the Patriots losing opening night. They let them know how they felt talking shit on the defense all night. A few fights almost broke out between the home team fans. Arguments almost got ugly between a few liquored-up diehards, it was quite the spectacle.

The next day we ventured up to Maine to check out a wedge that we heard might have been working. Unfortunately it wasn’t, but that didn’t stop us from exploring the coast and enjoying the sites. Maine is beautiful and somewhat untouched. It’s a breath of fresh air for someone from Southern California. We had seen enough of New England so we decided to head down to Jersey to catch some swell from a few lingering hurricanes. New Jersey was holding. Mitch Coleborn, Mike Gleason and Balaram Stack met up with us – and that my friends, is a dream team on the East Coast.

Freight train rights lined the beaches from Monmouth to Manasquan. The water was still warm as the hurricane sat just off the coast sending waves for weeks. The funny thing in Jersey is everyone likes to surf together. It’s a small surf community in the Northern Jersey but they all seem to surf together. We fell into that trap for a bit too. The waves pumped for three days straight then took a day off, which was just enough time for us to venture up to New York and check the city out. Balaram showed us a good time luckily. It was fashion week and you’d think we’d go out and tear it up but instead we jumped across a few roofs and hung out in an old water tower with some amazing views. Someone brought a dozen eggs; let’s just say they didn’t get eaten.

With rent through the roof in New York, Balaram chooses to live in China Town to keep the rent down but across the road is Max Fish, the raddest bar in New York. We opted for a cheap hotel nearby that night. It was disgusting. It was like some heroin den out of the movie Seven. Dusty took one look at the place and bolted for a nicer hotel nearby full of models in town for fashion week. I ended up taking a shower with a bucket. I guess you get what you pay for in New York.

The next day we jumped on the train and headed back to Jersey. Balaram showed us some clips of him jumping off the top of the train into the Hudson. It was pretty nuts. He somehow slipped out of the top of the train and had a filmer waiting for his jump. He ended up getting caught as someone saw the video. He was arrested and fined several hours of community service, what a madman.

After a days rest we were back in Jersey and surfing some fun overhead right-handers. It seemed like Groundhog’s Day after another four days of epic surfing. The East Coast might not have waves every day of the year but when it pumps it really fires. It’s not the easiest surf trip but with this years’ consistent hurricane activity is was a must and I’m sure glad we went, she’ll always have a special place in my heart.