Citizens of the Wildwoods and frankly all coastal communities in the State of NJ live in a windy, cloudy, salty, wet, underpopulated ghost town in the winter, and most of us here wouldn’t have it any other way. High winds and coastal storms provide waves, and that’s a fact. For the surfers in our area, a nor’easter blowing 60 mph NNE winds and then switching to 10-15 mph WNW is music to our ears and far more important to us than a sunny day. We live for surf, and coastal storms are how we get it.
The Wildwoods have been notoriously occupied by watermen/women since the 17th century, and still to this day, our island is occupied by that same character of watermen/women. Populated as early as 1630, Whalers frequented to the Wildwoods, formerly known as Holly Beach and Anglesea; followed by the Lenni Lenapi tribe who visited for our ‘fertile fishing grounds’, and later inhabited by Scandinavian fisherman who depended on fishing for survival in the 1850s. Whether you’re looking at our town’s historical significance as an old fishing village; or as it now, a place predominantly driven by tourism, our citizens have always lived and breathed salt air – it’s a part of us. We fish, we surf, we paddle, and we work to put food on our table, pay our rent, bills and expenses to support our hobbies. For most of us that consider ourselves watermen/women, our hobbies are either surfing, fishing or both; but one thing is for certain, the history of our island and its inhabitants still remain strong, the same and resilient to change who we are.
People don’t get it. We’ve all heard these questions and exclamations before, more than once: “How do you surf in this weather?”, “Aren’t you cold?”, “You’re crazy?!?”, but what people fail to understand and comprehend is the joy that it brings to ride down that line with nothing but thoughts of pleasure. The feelings produced by riding waves with no one out but a couple of your closest friend. It clears your mind, relieves your stress and it’s good for the soul. As Dorian ‘Doc’ Paskowitz would say, “Some of the most profound realizations that I came to about health did not derive from medicine, but derived from surfing.” Therefore, never let people bring you down, or tell you that “you shouldn’t do something” that makes you happy.
We at Kona Surf Company are proud of who we are, what we are and where we live, and we will never change. With that, I will leave you with another quote from Doc Paskowitz in saying, “There is a wisdom in the wave – high-born, beautiful – for those who would but paddle out.”
Written by Ron Simone