Month: November 2012

The Triple Crown

If you are anything like me, you’ve been glued to your computer monitor over the past week, watching every wave of the Vans World Cup of Surfing. Even right now I’m only half concentrating on the task at hand, fully entertained by the effortless style of Billabong surfers like Jack Freestone and Taj Burrow. So far the conditions have been spot on at Sunset Beach, providing the perfect proving ground for our Pros.

Every year I look forward to this event, and year after year it never disappoints. Sunset is not the kind of wave to paddle into without bringing your A game. Its a big, burly wave with very little patience for those who second guess their take off or a tube ride. You’ve got to have full confidence paddling out, or else you’ll be coming in on a stretcher.

Hawaii heavyweights like Sunny Garcia, Shane Dorian and Occy have put their time in on this wave, and it shows. BIG cutbacks, huge turns and longer than your average barrels are all characteristics that make up a seasoned Sunset surfer. But some of the younger dudes like Brian Toth and Billy Kemper are giving the old heads a run for their money. Most of the competitors are riding much longer boards than what they would normally be riding, due to the sheer size of this wave. Step up tri-fins with sharp noses and tails give way to HUGE drop ins and BIG turns, while providing stability at the same time.

All told, this is one of the most exciting stops on the Pro Tour, especially when the conditions are as good as they are right now. Do yourself a favor and tune in to the Vans website, as this will only be live for a few more days.

Giving Thanks

It’s a good thing that Kona Sports carries all the best brands in training and workout apparel and equipment, because New Jersey citizens have a lot to be thankful for and A LOT of eating to do this Thanksgiving. Those of us whom endured Hurricane Sandy can finally breathe a sign of relief, and sit down to a well deserved meal with family and friends without worrying when the power will come back on. Most of us are back into our homes, but there are some that will have to spend this holiday in the company of old (or new) friends with the room to entertain. No matter what, I have a good feeling that everyone in NJ will be eating well Thursday night.

I am proud to report the amount of donations that I’ve seen come though our doors, and through the doors of all the local charity drop offs and donation locations here in Wildwood. We’ve personally gathered dozens of canned goods to donate, and there is more on the way! Facebook has been a great tool during the storm and its aftermath, letting us see just how generous people can be from all over the country and around the globe. It warms my heart to see a nation divided over an election, pull together for a common good. To help our fellow man in times of struggle.

I am very thankful for the condition of our barrier island here in NJ. We could have been hit MUCH worse than we were, and words cannot express just how lucky we are. I’m also thankful for my friends, family, coworkers and loyal customers, all of whom have been tremendously helpful in the wake of the storm. Kona Sports could not have done it without you all, and that is a FACT.

We’d also like to give a quick shout out to Hurley, Billabong, Nixon and The North Face, all of whom worked diligently before, during and after the storm to ensure that their accounts were safe. While some of us didn’t make it out of this so well, each of these companies went above and beyond to treat their accounts as family, and not just numbers.
Thank you for that. Hearing all of the news involving donations, food drives and charity start-ups is a sure sign that the surf industry WILL REBUILD. And I personally think that out this storm made us tougher, and at the same, time more compassionate towards our fellow man. The east coast surfer has always had a reputation for being tough, and if you need proof, just look around you. We’re NJ strong, and we’re thankful for you and all of your support. Happy Thanksgiving from Kona Sports!

Beasts From the East

Jersey Strong

Beasts From the East

It’s no surprise that surfers and body boarders have been spearheading the movement to rebuild the Jersey Shore. After all, the ocean is our second home. When Hurricane Sandy ripped through NJ and up the east coast, thousands of families were left with nothing. Once the storm subsided, we immediately began to rebuild. I am proud to have been in the company of surfers, body boarders, long boarders and SUP riders, all of whom put aside their animosity towards each other to rally together for a common goal. To help fellow east coasters in need. Companies like Quiksilver, Billabong and O’Neill are taking huge strides to donate to charities dedicated to rebuilding the Jersey Shore.

For the life of me, I’ve never understood why we can judge each other based on the board that we ride in the water. I feel that we have way too many similarities to even begin to make these crass assumptions. Even though a body boarder is in the line up with you, doesn’t necessarily mean that he can’t stand up. We’re all at different skill levels out there in the water, and its important to understand that. At the end of the day, a good day in the water is a good day in the water. And that feeling of accomplishment come to all of us, regardless of what we’re riding.

I personally enjoy all types of water sports, both ocean based and fresh water. I’d really like to get into wake boarding next summer if I can. Those guys are pushing their sport at a faster pace than anyone else out on the water. Do yourself a favor and watch a wake boarding video when you get a chance. You’ll see what I am talking about. On days when the ocean is flat, stand up paddle boarding is the activity of choice for most of us long boarders. There’s something very calming, very introspective about focusing your mind and body on one common goal. To achieve the perfect paddle. This takes a lot more effort than most people realize. We all depend on the ocean for enjoyment, and agreeing on that is the first step to accepting your fellow waterman, regardless of what he’s riding.

So the next time you are out in the water, remember who’s got your back if we ever have to go through another massive natural disaster. That grom that snaked your wave? Yeah, he’s the one helping you rip out soaked insulation. The old head with the 20 foot long board? he’s going on a coffee run for everyone helping out. These are your friends and your neighbors, even though they take to the water in a different fashion than you do. Remember that. We’re all watermen and waterwomen. and we’re all JERSEYSTRONG.

The O’Neill Coldwater Classic

As the east coast works to rebuild their hurricane tattered shore communities, Californians were gearing up for quite the showdown at Steamer Lane. Relief efforts are well underway up and down the east coast, as we all try to give what we can to repair New Jersey, New York and Delaware. The storm ripped through these areas, leaving many without homes, jobs or any of the belongings that once meant so much. The storm put into context how quickly material possessions can be taken from your life by mother nature. While mother nature was busy taking things from the east coast, she was also in the process of giving the west coast some great weather and conditions for the O’Neill Cold Water Classic.

The competition began on November first and finished up just yesterday, November seventh. This stop on the world tour also signified a 60 year anniversary for the O’Neill surf company, who as we all know, were pioneers in the surf industry. Jack O’Neill himself opened the first real “surf specific retail site,” AND invented the surf leash, tethering your board to one of your extremities. He also took a dive wetsuit and augmented it, making it more flexible and thus easier to wear when surfing in cold water. Jack was a man ten years ahead of his time, and for that we are thankful. O’Neill continues to be an innovator in today’s surf world and this can be seen in all of the technology behind their Superfreak Boardshorts and Technobutter-infused Wetsuits.

Steamer Lane has a reputation for being one of the trickier stops on the world tour. Just getting into the water requires a leap of faith off of a slippery rock outcropping. Once in the water, you’ll recognize the intimidating grunts and howls of the local elephant seals that call this famous surf spot their home. The wave does not break in a predetermined pattern, and will actually throw 6-8 foot walls of water at you from a few different sources. This creates an amazing playing field for the pro surfers, whom have to be ready at a moments notice to take off on good wave.

The competition was fierce, and luckily the waves were consistent over the contest’s duration. Surfers like John John Florence relied on their aerial skills, nailing huge front and backside reverses and grabs. Other pros like Joel Parkinson supplied giant hacks and cutbacks, upping their scores in each 15 minute heat. There can be only one winner, and at the end of the day Taj Burrow was declared the king of Steamer Lane. He was carried by his peers to the winner’s podium as heavily favored contenders like Kelly Slater sat quietly out of the spotlight. All told, the conditions couldn’t have been better for the Coldwater Classic. 6-8 foot waves and sunshine provided an excellent proving ground at the last stop before the boys head to Hawaii. Make sure to check our site for all the newest products by Taj’s biggest sponsor, Billabong. Congrats on the win you crazy aussie, and here’s to another big win in Hawaii!

Signed, Sealed, Delivered

The weekend was a rough one for us here in NJ. Thousands of families are still without homes, power, and their belongings. Hurricane Sandy took a huge chunk of NJ into the ocean with her, and we will not be getting that back any time soon. It’s a terrible situation when the elements take from you things that you worked hard to earn. Imagine saving up money for many ears for a new house by the water, just to have the ocean swallow it up without a second thought. This is the grim reality for many New Jersey residents, and will not be easily remedied any time soon.

On Sunday I took the time to clean out my closets, drawers and everything else that held my wardrobe, picking the things that I was going to donate to the Hurricane Sandy Relief Efforts. Many people were forcibly evacuated from their homes (for safety reasons) without the time to pack bags for the lengthy amount of time that they would be away. Others had their clothes, and homes taken from them by the hurricane. Either way, there are many American citizens on the east coast in need of warm, dry, clean clothes regardless of the size or type. I ended up filling two trash bags with things that someone out there deserves more than me right now.

On a positive note, I noticed a few things while I was digging through the back of my drawers and closet. I noticed how the surf style travels in a circular pattern, always returning to its roots after an undetermined period of time. One good example of this is the pullover hooded sweatshirt. For the last 4-5 years, zip ups were 90% of my orders for mens and womens apparel orders. But there was a time when pullovers, like this Hurley Icon Pullover. dominated the market. Recently, I’ve seen more companies manufacturing pullovers instead of zip ups, and the style seems to be returning. The pullover keeps you warmer, fits the body a little better than a zip up, and it is also less expensive.

Another trend that seems to be returning full-force is the use of neons in the color pallet. Men’s and women’s wardrobes are now allowed to have some of those day-glo greens and yellows that we can all remember from the late 80’s and early 90’s. It isn’t rare to see surfers and skaters decking themselves out in crazy neon colors, like you can see here in these Volcom womens snowboarding pants.
Even one of the most distinguished surfers on the pro tour right now is rocking neon. Mr. Mick Fanning, the poster child for the Rip Curl E-Bomb Chest Zip Wetsuit, can be seen from space in his neon green wetty.

So the next time you’re cleaning out your closet, take some time to remember what the styles were back in the day, and how we are heading right back in that direction as we speak. Please think about donating anything that you can to the Red Cross, whom have been a HUGE help in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. Please feel free to message me if you’d like more info on how you can help those poor NJ souls who are in need of everything from food and water to warm clothes and dry shoes. At the end of the day, we’re all on this planet together, and every little bit helps.

New Jersey Will Rebuild

Well, Hurricane Sandy has came and went. But boy, did she leave her mark all over the Garden State. I’m still knocking the sand and salt water out of my ears, after a complete thrashing by this category 1 hurricane. She took a hard right almost directly into the Delaware bay, and hooked in completely engulfing everything from Rehoboth Beach Delaware all the way up to Manhattan, NYC. It came ashore with 90 mph winds, pushing 25 foot walls of water into our dunes and seawalls. They were no match for the ocean’s power, and our barrier island quickly flooded. We did everything that we could to prepare for this storm, but you can only do so much with the time allotted. Luckily, our structure withstood the barrage of wind, water and debris, and came out unscathed. Sadly, this was not the case for some of our fellow shops.

The storm took a sharp turn north once it came ashore, and proceeded to wreak havoc on the barrier islands to the north of us. Shops like Heritage, 7th Street, and Faria’s took on a ton of water, damaging their buildings and all of the products and equipment inside. These friends of ours are now at the beginning of what will be a long process of rebuilding what once was a local haven for surfers, skateboarders and New Jersey youth in general. Each shop needs all the help that they can get right about now, and this is a great opportunity for our small beach communities to come together a support local small businesses.

The storm affected every part of our lives here in NJ. Thousands of people are without homes, and many lives have been lost. The storm has also affected the surf industry on every front. East coast warehouses are without power. Without power, these suppliers cannot ship goods to the retailers that can’t even begin to think about the latest holiday orders that are technically supposed to be arriving as we speak. The surf world took a huge hit with this storm, and it’s not going to be a quick recovery to say the least. We’re all going to have to take a step back, and reevaluate the industry after this catastrophic event.

On a positive note, my good friend Cory is spearheading a movement to help rebuild the Garden State. Cory is a fellow surfer and owns the Jetty brand surf company, and was affected first hand by the hurricane. He quickly bounced to his feet in the storm’s wake, and immediately began helping those around him. Based out of Long Beach Island, they took the majority of the storm head on, and it left thousands with nothing. To help the cause, Cory designed a t-shirt geared towards promoting the relief efforts here in NJ. 100% of the profits made from these tees will go directly to those who put themselves into harms way to help evacuate, protect and save those affected by Hurricane Sandy. This generous act is one of many efforts made by surf companies around the world to help the east coast. I’ve also been told that Hurley and Quiksilver will be running similar campaigns to help get New Jersey back on it’s feet.

Even if you don’t live in the storm’s wake, do yourself a favor and look into how you can donate to the cause. Hurricane Sandy was deemed a national disaster by President Obama, and this status is held for only the worst of circumstances. The Red Cross are working tirelessly to care for those in need, and any donation would be greatly appreciated. At the end of the day, we are all affected by mother nature’s wrath, and these are the times when we need to have compassion for our fellow man. Even if he did steal your wave during the last big swell.