Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Surfin' the A train

For me surfing has always been about the hunt. In these days of surf camps, online weather forecasts and on-location wave cams, it’s easy to miss the thrill of the chase. We are wave tourists, chaperoned to the best breaks in town, waves to suit all levels, minibus available, free wax. “The A train is a rite of passage for any New York surfer,” they told me at Mollusk Surf Shop on Metropolitan Avenue.

And a post on wannasurf.com said of Rockaway: “By far the ugliest place I’ve ever surfed (imagine East Berlin circa ’79). All this place is missing are the guard towers and rolls of razor wire in the sand.”

Another post added: “Don’t swallow the water. Barrels off the jetty. Localism fierce.”

Everyone seemed to agree on the last point.

“Wouldn’t suggest you surf there,” one post warned. “Your car will get broken into, and you’re going to stick out like a sore thumb.”

Jack Frost Nipping at Your Surfboard

There are many great surf stories, but few of them are about the waves. Most pros are unable to articulate anything other than “fun” and “super fun,” even after surfing 15-foot pipeline. As any real surfer knows, the best part of a trip is the trip itself, and a train ride on the A is testament to the rule.

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