Surfers catch a break after a two-week drought

Friday, August 21, 2009
By Brandy Dolce

2996866250058529597wloQOw_fsBob Duerr and T.R. Deveney stare silently out at the peaking swells pumping forth onto Manasquan’s Inlet Beach. It’s 6:35 a.m., clear with a warm baby-soft breeze that casts the comments of the two long-time surfers into the wind as they stand, arms akimbo, judging the crashing breakers just beyond the coastline.

The southernmost beach in the borough is one of the Jersey Shore’s premier surfing spots, thanks to a craggy protrusion of jetty that keeps the wind from blowing the waves apart.

“It’s been the most publicized break in the Northeast,” says 36-year-old Deveney, a former Manasquan resident now living in Brielle. “Plus, how much better a view can you get?”

The sight almost causes the eyes to water with blinding vertices shimmering like a million shards of crystal in the sun’s light. The watery fingers then crumble into fists sweeping lone surfers forth within their propelling clutches.

It’s been two weeks without waves, and the swelling effects of Hurricane Fabian are shattering the dismal flat of the sea like an ax hurled through a glass pane.

Deveney and Duerr, 49, Brielle, gather with other curious surfers under the boardwalk’s dilapidated paint-chipped pavilion and watch the prime peaks slam into the shoreline.

“It looks like it’s gonna be good,” says Manasquan resident Bruce Chrisner, 47. The light in his eyes is unmistakable. “Think of the party.”

While the hurricane swirls violently up the Atlantic Ocean, threatening Bermudians with a roiling siege, the land-bound congregation here watches the 15 or so surfers presently straddling their boards along the rippling coastline currents, and wonder the best time to cash in on the storm’s fury.

To surfers, waves are like Egyptian idols of old, something to be respected and quite possibly worshiped.

“The wave is the star,” says Deveney, who owns the Third Avenue Surf Shop in Spring Lake.

But they can also be the villains.

While the morning forecasts warn of imminent rip currents invading the increasingly turbulent brine, surfers embrace the caveat as a coveted invitation.

“I don’t care,” says Duerr, dismissing the warnings. “We’ll go out.”

The Asbury Park Press

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