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Posts Tagged ‘lightning Storm’

Kooky Kyle takes the cake on the last UCB of the quarter with the topic “lightning”.  Him and I were actually discussing this topic while cruising around the streets of NYC on my most recent jaunt back east (see blog: A Trip Back East for those deatails). Out of all of my friends he was the only one to come see my performance in the East Village and for that I was rather stoked.  He had never heard me play before and I think was left a bit awestruck good or bad I do not know.  He gets one point for his efforts.  Sorry Kooky no double points for you.

I have two interesting stories to tell about lightning and although rather far fetched I can vouch for both and actually have witnesses for both.  When it comes to something as crazy as lightning anything is possible.  A fellow psychotic die hard surfer gave me some wise advice when I was a teen “There are two things you should never mess with, sharks and lightning”.  I have yet to heed his warning.  I fuck with both.  Surfing in some of the most shark infested water to surfing through full on lightning storms.  That brings us to our first story.

The Flaming Barrel

 About seven years ago or so I was out surfing in front of the Lost Castle (nickname given to my run down beach bungalow I lived in on 2nd Ave, Manasquan, NJ.  Currently we call my abode in Santa Barbara the Lisanti Palace although it is far from a palace and more like a run down crack house.).  It was mid August and the surf had been down for nearly two weeks.  We finally got an inkling of a tropical swell with a very short window.  I am talking hours here.

Conditions were trash with heavy onshore winds thanks to the extremely hot weather.  In the summer NJ on such days as a result of all the humidity is garnished with intense thunderstorms.  The storms bring a good deal of thunder and lightning. They also bring offshore winds with them.  The catch is the offshore winds usually only last while the storm is hitting.  This makes for perfect yet dangerous surfing conditions.

We like to call these surf sessions, electric sessions for obvious reasons.  My buddy Sorbo and I had paddled out at Sea Watch beach and were making the most of the crowded chest high blown to shit conditions.  As we are sitting out there we noticed the ominous black clouds on the horizon, which could only mean one thing, bad weather.  As always when adverse weather arrives on the beach there is a mass exodus of fleeing beach goers to escape the rain and lightning.

The storm cleared the line up and the wind began to pick up turning absolute garbage into perfect little cylinders.  Immediately we found ourselves getting shacked off our ass.  Then it started to rain, torrential down pour.  It was raining so hard it made it hard to see.  Still using my surf senses I was grabbing good tube after good tube.  The lightning started and we could tell this was not going to be one of these thunderstorms where the lightning stayed up in the clouds or hit far away.

Sorbo and I could see it hitting all around us and at one point even felt the heat from the strokes.  At this point we thought of leaving, but my justification for staying out was that it was most likely more dangerous to get out and run up the beach for cover.  Lightning loves to get people on the beach. Sorbo was a tough sale, but I told him I read it somewhere.  Rule of thumb when attempting to convince a person on anything tell them “you read it somewhere or saw it on the news”.  Nine times out of ten they will take your word for it.

Right after we made the decision to stay and surf I ended up snagging a solid head high bowl and backed doored the thing.  While in the barrel all I could see was yellow and orange and it was hot in there.  Then I came out and there was a huge crash of thunder.  I was all disoriented and Sorbo was sitting on the shoulder with a crazed look in his eyes.  According to his account a bolt of lightning hit the wave as I pulled in and all he saw was a bright flash of light and then me coming out of the barrel.

I believe that because I was in the tube the voltage went all around me with the water but never touched me.  I came out griming with no idea what happened or how close I had come to be fried.  Shortly after the storm cleared, the wind went back onshore and the crowd showed back up.  By far it was one of the strangest surfing experiences I have ever had.

The Circle of Death

It was the summer of 2002, mid August. Like I said that is peak thunderstorm season.  A group of my close friends, including my old roommate Cory, Mookie, CH, Brian M. and a few others were helping out with this free one day surf clinic at Manasquan Inlet courtesy of Quicksilver.  This was before all the surf camp mambo jumbo of today.  I was working at Ocean Hut Surf Shop at the time and was let out early to go represent the shop as another instructor.  I got there just as the thunderstorm was beginning to roll in and everyone scurrying off the beach for their lives.

I was standing under this cabana type thing they have up on the ocean walk there (Manasquan does not have a board walk, but an asphalt paved walk way along its beach front) slyly filling my pockets with Quicksilver promo gear.  I heard one of the loudest crashes of thunder I have ever auscultated in my entire life.  Upon looking up I saw all of my friends lying on their backs on the beach.

I wanted to go running to their aid, but then checked myself.   The lightning was not letting up and if they got hit they were probably dead anyway and I was not nearly qualified to give the kind of aid they would have needed for survival anyhow.  I stood there momentarily horrified.  Then one by one they began to get up and stagger back to the cabana.  As it turns out a bolt of lightning struck the sand directly in front of them and the whole group was brought down by the excess shock. Cory claims it was one of the scariest moments of his life.  All I can say is it was nuts to witness.

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