The reason I like being a New Englander is because of the friendly, mellow vibe and how everybody is nice. I like how there aren’t a lot of big cities. In my home town of Kennebunkport, I have gotten to know most of the kids around my age. I like how it it is not always warm and not always cold in New England and I appreciate how beautiful it is. I love to surf when it snows in the winter. I also think its cool that I can go snowboarding one day and surfing the next. I love hanging with my friends all summer long at the beach I also love the seafood, especially the tuna
There are some New England surfers that just plain live for big, gnarly cold water surfing...and that's Eric. He is one of those "hardcore" surfers that would rather surf with pine trees than coconuts.
During the summer months you might see Eric longboarding his local breaks on Cape Cod. But when the surf gets big and monstrous, you will find him searching all over New England to charge some slab or big wave. He's that crusty guy who comes out of hibernation when the waves get big.
I usually start seeing more of Eric around September, when he comes into my shop to gear up with round pin step up boards for double-overhead barrels and to stock up on multiple 5mm suits for mid winter surf sessions.
I once asked him if he had plans to go away for the winter. His reply: "Why would I leave New England in the middle of our surf season? We wait all year for our back yard to fire! All these guys spend thousands of dollars to go to Indo and other warm places and surf with a thousand dudes. I stay home, get a day of work in, and make some money. Then I get barreled off my ass in bigger, gnarlier waves with no one around, and then go home to my warm wood stove."
Eric is the guy I call when I want to find a friend to go charge 20 degree double-overhead barrels. If it's closing out, he will still go out just to see what his body can handle.
I would say he is kinda nuts, but if you've ever seen him surf these conditions, well...you can tell he feels right at home.
By Peter Pan
When ESA officials came up with the idea of doing a Thanksgiving Day Standup Paddleboard Race in the Atlantic Ocean over one month ago, the air temperatures were in the low 60's and the surf was calm at the Narragansett Town Beach. There was a lot of enthusiasm for the race, from both local and out-of-state paddle boarders. Unfortunately, the unpredictable New England weather did not exactly cooperate, as raging seas with surf up to 20 feet forced postponement on Thanksgiving Day. Icy 11- degree air temperatures and stinging northeast winds greeted the small group of hardcore winter SUP racers on Saturday, the makeup day for the race.
"You have to outfit yourself with the right gear if you want to paddle board in the winter," said ESA Competition Director, Mario Frade. "It was so cold on the morning of the race, that anyone who had brought a drysuit with them, put it on. Everyone wore winter gloves and boots, because that strong side chop made it even colder."
Although the surf was small and easy to paddle through at the start of the race, the northeast winds kicked up a 2-foot channel chop that slowed paddlers down as they headed south to Monahan's Dock and around a buoy. The 2K race went from the south end of the town beach to a buoy off Monahan's Dock and back, while the second race did the loop twice.
In a strange turn of events, it was SUP speedster Mike Nunnery of Saunderstown beating the entire field, prone paddling on his stomach. Mike beat out the first SUP racer, to come across the finish line by nine seconds. "I have been prone paddling more during the past two months, because I felt that I was losing my speed and endurance when I surfed on a traditional surfboard," said Mike after the race. "Prone paddling up wind on the way back from the dock was definitely an advantage. Dealing with the northeast winds on a standup paddleboard was much harder than laying down and cutting off all the wind resistance."
From left to right: Nunnery, Grainger, and Preece
In the first race, the 2K course that went only one lap to the dock and back, it was Nantucket's Karen Alence wining the 2K Open Women's Division with a time of 25:05. Narragansett's Peter Pan took the Open Men's Title in a time of 24:05.
The Open Prone Division winner and overall champion was Mike Nunnery, with the fastest time of the day in the distance race of 40:32. Kim Gross of Narragansett won the 5K Women's Open Division in 59:55, while Jack Egan of Stamford, Connecticut won the Open Masters 5K in 40:41.
David Grainger of New London, Connecticut won the Senior Men's title in a time of 45:17. Mark Preece of Warwick, R.I. took second in 47:22.