Monday, August 24, 2009

Bill's leftovers at Long Beach

This morning we woke early and headed south to see what was left of the swells created by Hurricane Bill. When we got to the jetty at Lindell we found some substantial surf. With a few people out it seemed like the sets were a solid 6-8', nice and evenly spaced, the wind keeping them clean for the time being. Anxious to get out there myself I shot these pics in a fury before and then in between surf sessions. They're all jumbled by this point.
Of course the pics I took show waves that don't seem as big as they were, but realistically I think any surfer tends to feel that way.
Either way, we knew it was big and burly out there today.

Even the little waves in between the sets had a good push to them and we were all psyched.

As is typical it got a lot more crowded as the afternoon set in, and as forecasted the swells began to slowly weaken. The woman catching the right was totally on her game and definitely making the most of the afternoon.
By the time we wrapped things up I'd say there were at least 25-35 people out at the small weekly break so we hit the road. ...but that's alright, big sets were seen, solid head-high waves were had, a fabulous afternoon followed, and once again life is good, life is good.

Krissy got the best shots of the day so you have to be sure and check out Felis Femina!
This is a video of yours truly she shot during the early afternoon session. I had never seen myself surf before, you know, except for a pic or two dad took when I was 15, so even though the takeoff was a bit wonky I was still giddy as a spazy little schoolboy. God I love surfing.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

surfing Hurricane Bill: a youtube gallery

a few clips I found this morning among the many things posted to youtube - I'm sure much more will be posted soon

I don't know what the typical break looks like, but this is Kitty Hawk, NC, looking pretty big:

and this is Long Beach, NY, yesterday. I can't wait to see what it looks like when we are there in person tomorrow! ...and yes, we will have our boards with us.

Bob Alexander is a man I have not yet gotten to meet but he has shot lots of great Long Beach footage over the years. This is his piece from today, 8/23/2009:

This is Spring Lake, NJ, shot by Steve Donohue this morning (great footage Steve!):

...and the surfers a little later on:

I was hoping to find Montauk footage, but apparently not yet. My friend Claire Lamond Condon took this great shot out there today:

ok, back to stretching and hydrating

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

nature bats last

In 1999, after a month a week and a day on the road in my old Explorer I made it from the eastern end of Long Island cross country to my new home in Half Moon Bay, California. There I would spend the winter and spring living with two dear friends from college on one of the most beautiful properties I have ever seen. I had always wanted to surf the Pacific and Bob and Annie were learning to surf and loving it. We would load up their beautiful west coast longboards and my little eastern shortboard in Annie's amazing old blue Subaru wagon. You might know the type. It was one of those cars that went forever, unsuspecting with the baby blue paint job and wagon shape, yet had a persona all it's own and was loved and respected by all who knew it. The back of the Subaru was covered with a sensational collection of bumper stickers. Each one I had never seen before, and I''mnot kidding, covered. Some, like "Millenium Schmillenium" were of course very apt for the time, and in fact got many positive honks, but ultimately you knew their wonderful datedness would cause them to fade. So over the winter months and the evening sessions at the jetty there was one that stuck out. It was yellow with text, not too fancy or ornate. It just said, "nature bats last". Clever, I thought, now that is a timeless statement. I can't tell you how many times I have said "nature bats last" in the 10 years since then, but most times I can tell you I still think about Annie's blue Subaru and that glorious Pacific winter in HMB.

So, on my way to work in the morning I walk through a bunch of NYCHA (New York City Housing Authority) houses between the subway station and Central Park. As I came out of the tunnel below the elevated train I stopped dead in my tracks. Whoa.

Usually I think the London planetrees around the houses are wonderful specimens, even though overplanted into monoculture status, and often I wish I had brought my camera. Today I clearly wanted my camera for another reason, but luckily the cell phone would suffice. It really looked like a bomb had gone off, through my arboreal eyes at least. Apparently the insane thunder and lightning storms that came through last night did one hell of a job from 90th Street to 110th Street in Manhattan. It was like nothing I had ever seen before, and I have seen plenty of storms and storm damage before. I love hurricanes. But what I would ultimately find made every thing else look like a tiny drop in the bucket.
Limbs down everywhere, pretty much every tree lost a limb or two.
Some limbs were huge and still hanging like this one above. In these situations after a major storm people want to go out and inspect, see what happened, it's part of human nature. The danger however is that people are often looking down at what has fallen and not looking up at what has broken and has yet to fall. ...that which could break and fall any minute. That's what us arbor geeks call a "hanger". You know what they call a big enough hanger? A widowmaker. no joke.
Seeing how many trees and how much wood was on the ground, I knew I was going to find plenty of new surprises. I think that's when it might have slipped out. Nature bats last. Before I left this scene and continued on my commute I took my own advice and looked up. Right above the entrance to the playground I saw three hangers, frighteningly well camouflaged.
Right away I saw a hole between the Conservatory Garden and the Mount facility where a maple and an oak, or two or three, had been. It's that area above the left staircase, that used to be all green.
I found where the maple landed soon after.
The stump in the foreground was a beautiful Japanese tree lilac that only yesterday was shading the woodland slope. The crabapple in the back was lucky, but didn't get away unscathed.
The Conservatory Garden was closed to the public for the day, and for good reason, the hazards were plenty and the space quickly limited.
I apologize I don't have an item in the shots for scale, because the sight of these huge trees so broken and scattered was mind blowing.
Above is the body of that maple I was talking about. This tree fell right above the space where the garden staff keeps their equipment. I was just so glad that the storm came well after dark, and hope that most people were out of the park by the time all this went down. Because that storm came fast and wasn't taking names.
So wild to look around and see trunks a foot in diameter, larger, splintered and snapped like they were toothpicks. The tree below easily had a 12" caliper.

You know how when it rains it is easier to weed? Have you ever noticed that? After a strong rain when the ground is wet or saturated pulling up the roots of weeds becomes much easier. So you can correlate that to near-hurricane force winds and stormwater and how those sails of foliage quickly and almost effortlessly tear out of the ground entire rootmasses, as tall as you and then some.
This guy below was the biggest I saw, but that was just the tip of the iceberg according to others in the park.

Finally, here is the root system of the maple that we saw the head of in front of the south building and the body of on the south terrace. You can see how this seedling had grown up right beside the concrete base to the fence that surrounds the garden. And why not. With the natural freezing and thawing of the seasons the concrete provided the roots of the maple with two things they love most, namely moisture and fresh air. The one thing it didn't help provide however was grip into the surrounding terrain.

customer: "Taste the soup."
waiter: "Sir, what's wrong with the soup?"
customer: "Just taste the soup."
waiter: "Is it too spicy, too salty, sir, I can get you another..."
customer: "I don't want you to get me another, I want you to taste the soup."
waiter: "Okay, sir, if you insist, I'll taste the soup. Wait, where's the spoon?"
customer: "Ah, haa!"

Nature: 1
Humans: 0

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Rich and Sue Feleppa celebrate 40 years...

On Sunday, August 16th, 2009, Richard and Sue Feleppa celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary at their home in East Hampton, NY. Married in 1969 in a small ceremony in sweltering Manhattan heat, where they met and courted, Sue and Rich soon relocated out to Amagansett, NY, to a small 20' x 20' shack on Hedges Lane which they bought for $15,000. They soon surrounded themselves with local artists and writers and themselves became active and conscientious citizens within the local community. Between Hedges Lane and Indian Wells they raised three boys, Timothy Richard, born to Ellie Cox Feleppa in 1963, Gian Carlo, born in 1971, and Alexander Edward, born in 1977. Locals and tourists alike still warmly remember their success with The Royale Fish Restaurant, from 1972-1980 in Amagansett, and 1980-1985 in East Hampton with the accompanying Theatre in the Round. Sue would move on to real estate while Rich would go on to own and operate Florence and Son, a quaint boutique on Newtown Lane in the village of East Hampton where he importing fine handmade Italian creations from 1997 to 2003. For their 40th anniversary us kids thought long and hard about what to do for them. In the end we decided to treat them to something they hadn't treated themselves too in a while because of their ever so active lives. Sue and Rich Feleppa celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary by taking a day off and sharing a fabulous swim in the ocean with their family.

The following pics are from that day. Click to enlarge and enjoy...
Wiborg's on a Sunday evening, all ours...

The newly appointed grandpa Rich and grammie Sue with Ea, born to Gian Carlo Feleppa and Jennifer Hoopes in 2008. A few moments of fuss, but overall they knew their first granddaughter would learn to love the ocean like the rest of us do.

They really hadn't been down for an ocean swim in quite a while so we were so happy to see them sunning and surfing and loving it.

Soon to be daughter-in-law Krissy and Alex, aka Felis Femina and Arbor Boy at your service.

Sand, water, pale, shovel, okay, we can get into this.

You can see how the new grandchild is so neglected.

How two Feleppa boys landed these two amazing ladies from PA the world may never know. Miss Hoopes and Miss Dunkle.

The ladies, and daddy Gian Carlo... of the cutest tushies ever!

Of course no proper Feleppa family celebration would be complete without a feast of mammoth and superior proportions. Enter lobster, cole slaw, sauteed veggies, fresh french fries, beer, and a whole lot of buttery goodness.

Warning: multiple pound lobsters can change a man!

Don't worry, as a family we decided for the 50th wedding anniversary we will plan more ahead and throw a huge party for everyone so we will keep you posted. And once again, Happy Anniversary Mom and Dad, we love you!!!

Summer Sessions: August Ea

Some pics of my niece Ea from our last visit out to the folks house in EH. click to enlarge. try and tolerate the almost unbearable cuteness...

Well "How-D-Do, neighbor!"

Ea LOVES her Aunt Krissy

...and crayons!
...and gabbin!
...and Uncle Alex!
Dad, you're so silly...
...and Alex, so serious.

Ah, the suffering, I know Ea, it's terrible.