Let’s Dance January Swell Gallery

January 15, 2016 • Swell Gallery

Whether we know it or not, David Bowie influenced everybody. As The New York Times wrote in his obituary,

“Mr. Bowie wrote songs, above all, about being an outsider… His music was always a mutable blend — rock, cabaret, jazz and what he called ‘plastic soul’ — but it was suffused with genuine soul… Yet throughout Mr. Bowie’s metamorphoses, he was always recognizable. His voice was widely imitated but always his own; his message was that there was always empathy beyond difference.”

What does this have to do with surfing, you might ask? Well, as East Coasters, we’re perpetual outsiders in the California, Hawaii, and Australia-centric surf industry complex. Given the vagaries of our wildly diverse coastline, our waves are constantly shape-shifting, mutable blends of fun and perfect, rippable and off the Richter scale, so-so and insanely good (sometimes in the space of one session). Every East Coaster worth his or her salt knows we have more soul than most of our surfing brethren — but like David Bowie, we never feel the need to talk about it. Whether in the Caribbean or Canada, our lineups are always recognizable. And although waveriders in Florida and New England might share very little similarities on the surface, deep down we know that anyone from the East Coast shares an unshakeable bond that transcends all boundaries.

So maybe it might seem tenuous to connect the death of David Bowie on Sunday, January 10th with the fantastic run of swell felt in all East Coast corners from roughly the 8th through the 12th. But we choose to believe otherwise — perhaps the longtime New York resident was thinking of us as he passed gently into that good night. As he said in his 1977 hit “Heroes,” “We can be heroes, just for one day.” If you ride a surfboard and live on the East Coast, you probably felt like a hero at some point over the last few days. So let’s dance and embrace that — honoring David Bowie the best way we know how.

  • You call it sea smoke, photographer Brian Nevins calls it fire water. No matter what, as Nevins said, “The life New Hampshire never gets old.” Photo: Brian Nevins
    You call it sea smoke, photographer Brian Nevins calls it fire water. No matter what, as Nevins said, “The life New Hampshire never gets old.” Photo: Brian Nevins
  • Jordan Heaselgrave, barrel, Soup Bowl, Barbados, Caribbean. Photo: Alan Burke
    Jordan Heaselgrave, about as slotted as you can get at Soup Bowl. Photo: Alan Burke
  • Maybe it's because we're in the dead of winter, or maybe it's because the waves the last few days were so consistent. Either way, most of the emails we received this week contained succinct phrases like this one from photographer Nick Tribuno: “It's been going off in Delmarva the past few days!” Photo: Nick Tribuno
    Maybe it's because we're in the dead of winter, or maybe it's because the waves the last few days were so consistent. Either way, most of the emails we received this week contained succinct phrases like this one from photographer Nick Tribuno: “It's been going off in Delmarva the past few days!” Photo: Nick Tribuno
  • Although this winter has been relatively mild so far, if you find yourself getting cold anytime soon, just remember that Puerto Rico is a quick plane ride away. Jake Stiles, jumping all over this open face. Photo: Matty Slentz
    Although this winter has been relatively mild so far, if you find yourself getting cold anytime soon, just remember that Puerto Rico is a quick plane ride away. Jake Stiles, jumping all over this open face. Photo: Matty Slentz
  • Believe it or not, Marley Puglielli actually left Puerto Rico in search of conditions like this in South Florida. Good call, my friend. Photo: Greg Panas
    Believe it or not, Marley Puglielli actually left Puerto Rico in search of conditions like this in South Florida. Good call, my friend. Photo: Greg Panas
  • Yes, you can believe your eyes — New Jersey did look like a coldwater paradise this week. Photo: Matt Degreff
    Yes, you can believe your eyes — New Jersey did look like a coldwater paradise this week. Photo: Matt Degreff
  • “It's been a pretty fun run of swell,” said Outer Banks photographer Jon Carter. “Sunday the waves really turned on right before dark and it was really warm, hitting 70 degrees. On Monday, it was still fun but it only hit 40 degrees. Crazy weather! Which didn't slow Max Lingg down one bit.” Photo: Jon Carter
    “It's been a pretty fun run of swell,” said Outer Banks photographer Jon Carter. “Sunday the waves really turned on right before dark and it was really warm, hitting 70 degrees. On Monday, it was still fun but it only hit 40 degrees. Crazy weather! Which didn't slow Max Lingg down one bit.” Photo: Jon Carter
  • Sebastian Inlet doesn't turn on the way it used to very often. But when it does, you can bet Chauncey Robinson will be all over it. Photo: Tom Dugan
    Sebastian Inlet doesn't turn on the way it used to very often. But when it does, you can bet Chauncey Robinson will be all over it. Photo: Tom Dugan
  • “The waves were a bit better on Tuesday than Monday,” said New Jersey native and regular Dominican Republic staple Daniel Stockdale. “Mostly rights since the swell angle changed with more east in it. East Coast transplant to Hawaii Jerry Burdine is here with his 10-year-old kid, and they were surfing before the sun came up higher. The kid was getting burned at first, but after he made a couple of drops on waves like these he got all the respect he needed.” Photo: Daniel Stockdale
    “The waves were a bit better on Tuesday than Monday,” said New Jersey native and regular Dominican Republic staple Daniel Stockdale. “Mostly rights since the swell angle changed with more east in it. East Coast transplant to Hawaii Jerry Burdine is here with his 10-year-old kid, and they were surfing before the sun came up higher. The kid was getting burned at first, but after he made a couple of drops on waves like these he got all the respect he needed.” Photo: Daniel Stockdale
  • Remember kids, never look directly at the sun — keep your eyes trained on peaks like these instead. Photo: Sean Hoffman
    Remember kids, never look directly at the sun — keep your eyes trained on peaks like these instead. Photo: Sean Hoffman
  • Does it get any better? Matt Oberman's crystalline South Florida cavern says, “Probably not.” Photo: Ben Hicks
    Does it get any better? Matt Oberman's crystalline South Florida cavern says, “Probably not.” Photo: Ben Hicks
  • Puerto Rico went XXL a few times this week, even attracting the attention of big-wave chargers like Will Skudin, who made Tres Palmas the final stop of his heavywater trifecta after packing the biggest paddle wave ever in Portugal right before Christmas and then booking it to Jaws last week. Photo: Micah Weaver
    Puerto Rico went XXL a few times this week, even attracting the attention of big-wave chargers like Will Skudin, who made Tres Palmas the final stop of his heavywater trifecta after packing the biggest paddle wave ever in Portugal right before Christmas and then booking it to Jaws last week. Photo: Micah Weaver
  • Loose lips might sink ships, but thick lips make for radical trips. Just ask Vero Beach's Logan Hayes. Photo: Jared Blais
    Loose lips might sink ships, but thick lips make for radical trips. Just ask Vero Beach's Logan Hayes. Photo: Jared Blais
  • “I went up to New England on Monday with some friends and scored,” said Garden State photographer Dave Nilsen. “I figured I would do something different since I'm sure there were a million submissions from New Jersey. I shot mostly lineups because they were so mesmerizing, but I did link up with Sam Seeland and Sam Hammer on a couple.” Photo: David Nilsen
    “I went up to New England on Monday with some friends and scored,” said Garden State photographer Dave Nilsen. “I figured I would do something different since I'm sure there were a million submissions from New Jersey. I shot mostly lineups because they were so mesmerizing, but I did link up with Sam Seeland and Sam Hammer on a couple.” Photo: David Nilsen
  • You know things are going alright in the wave department when a beautiful seascape such as this elicits lines like, “Little swell on the Banks today in Buxton.” Photographer Allen Harcourt keeps it understated. Photo: Allen Harcourt
    You know things are going alright in the wave department when a beautiful seascape such as this elicits lines like, “Little swell on the Banks today in Buxton.” Photographer Allen Harcourt keeps it understated. Photo: Allen Harcourt
  • Icah Wilmot, backside barrel in Jamaica. Photo: Ishack Wilmot
    Don't sleep on Jamaica as a warmwater winter surf destination. And if you decide to go, don't sleep on the local knowledge of standouts like Icah Wilmot. Photo: Ishack Wilmot
  • The wave might not be huge, but damn if this isn't one of the most stunning photos we've seen in 2016. Photo: Christor Lukasiewicz
    The wave might not be huge, but damn if this isn't one of the most stunning photos we've seen in 2016. Photo: Christor Lukasiewicz
  • Sorry, bro. Storm Portman asserts her local status and gets one back for the ladies. Photo: Dugan
    Sorry, bro. Storm Portman asserts her local status and gets one back for the ladies. Photo: Dugan
  • “Just insane waves all day on Monday,” said New Hampshire photographer and filmmaker Ralph Fatello. “I'm calling it the Bowie Swell. By the way... It was FREEZING!” Check out Ralph's epic edit from the day set to David Bowie's “Ashes To Ashes” at EasternSurf.com. Photo: Ralph Fatello
    “Just insane waves all day on Monday,” said New Hampshire photographer and filmmaker Ralph Fatello. “I'm calling it the Bowie Swell. By the way... It was FREEZING!” Check out Ralph's epic edit from the day set to David Bowie's “Ashes To Ashes” at EasternSurf.com. Photo: Ralph Fatello
  • New Jersey photographer Mike Incitti ventured south this week and raved not only about the emerging talents of 15-year-old Maryland charger Simon Hetrick but also about the wide-open possibilities of the Delmarva Peninsula. Which just goes to so: a little exploration goes a long way. Photo: Mike Incitti
    New Jersey photographer Mike Incitti ventured south this week and raved not only about the emerging talents of 15-year-old Maryland charger Simon Hetrick but also about the wide-open possibilities of the Delmarva Peninsula. Which just goes to so: a little exploration goes a long way. Photo: Mike Incitti
  • Peter Mendia lays down his patented frontside power gouge only a few miles from home on the first proper South Florida swell of the winter. Photo: Tony Gately
    Peter Mendia lays down his patented frontside power gouge only a few miles from home on the first proper South Florida swell of the winter. Photo: Tony Gately
  • “I got a call from Jamie Risser on Sunday as he was checking the swell,” said Rhode Island photographer Tripp Burman. “But due to the winds, everything was blown out. So we agreed to talk before sunrise on Monday to try to get some shots before I had to be in the office at 8:00 AM. At 6:00 I met up with Jamie and Greg Levy at one of our less familiar beachbreaks, and Greg was already paddling out when I got there. I was able to grab a couple of shots of them before I had to head to work, but they were lucky — it was firing and they were the only two out.” Photo: Tripp Burman
    “I got a call from Jamie Risser on Sunday as he was checking the swell,” said Rhode Island photographer Tripp Burman. “But due to the winds, everything was blown out. So we agreed to talk before sunrise on Monday to try to get some shots before I had to be in the office at 8:00 AM. At 6:00 I met up with Jamie and Greg Levy at one of our less familiar beachbreaks, and Greg was already paddling out when I got there. I was able to grab a couple of shots of them before I had to head to work, but they were lucky — it was firing and they were the only two out.” Photo: Tripp Burman
  • Todd Elder, barreled deep in the Outer Banks. Photo: Ben Gallop
    Looks like Virginia Beach native Todd Elder made the right call heading down to Dare County on Sunday — you can't get more barreled than this. Photo: Ben Gallop
  • “I'm spending the month of January down in Puerto Rico,” says St. Augustine, FL, photographer Cody Coleman. “The swell that hit on Sunday was a good one, and I shot with Bryan Laide and Leif Engstrom but missed the early morning session. However, Monday was mental — Bryan was absolutely charging, Seth packed a few as well, and then Hector Santamaria showed up and threw down a rodeo on his third wave.” Photo: Cody Coleman
    “I'm spending the month of January down in Puerto Rico,” says St. Augustine, FL, photographer Cody Coleman. “The swell that hit on Sunday was a good one, and I shot with Bryan Laide and Leif Engstrom but missed the early morning session. However, Monday was mental — Bryan was absolutely charging, Seth packed a few as well, and then Hector Santamaria showed up and threw down a rodeo on his third wave.” Photo: Cody Coleman
  • Artie Seaman may have snapped his trusty Phil Taylor longboard at the end of this go-out in New Hampshire, but it sure looks like it was worth it. Photo: Cory Ransom
    Artie Seaman may have snapped his trusty Phil Taylor longboard at the end of this go-out in New Hampshire, but it sure looks like it was worth it. Photo: Cory Ransom
  • Think Kyle Busey was jealous of all the barrels scored by surfers north and south of his Folly Beach, SC, home? Maybe — but blasting an air like this is one way to forget about all that noise. Photo: Matt Drobnik
    Think Kyle Busey was jealous of all the barrels scored by surfers north and south of his Folly Beach, SC, home? Maybe — but blasting an air like this is one way to forget about all that noise. Photo: Matt Drobnik
  • George Drazich may not be well known outside of Central Florida. But on the Space Coast, he's revered for always charging RC's when it gets big. ESM Photo Editor Nathan Adams said that this was the biggest set he saw all day — and that George was on it as soon as it appeared on the horizon. Photo: Nathan Adams
    George Drazich may not be well known outside of Central Florida. But on the Space Coast, he's revered for always charging RC's when it gets big. ESM Photo Editor Nathan Adams said that this was the biggest set he saw all day — and that George was on it as soon as it appeared on the horizon. Photo: Nathan Adams
  • Looks like the cloudy curtains matched the saltwater carpet on this picture-perfect day in New Jersey. Photo: David Nilsen
    Looks like the cloudy curtains matched the saltwater carpet on this picture-perfect day in New Jersey. Photo: David Nilsen
  • We're gonna go ahead and claim that those new Hurley white wall bootie prototypes helped Colin Herlihy get so deep on this backbreaker of a wave on the Delmarva Peninsula on Monday. Photo: Ethan Kleinstuber
    We're gonna go ahead and claim that those new Hurley white wall bootie prototypes helped Colin Herlihy get so deep on this backbreaker of a wave on the Delmarva Peninsula on Monday. Photo: Ethan Kleinstuber
  • Leif Engstrom, steep and deep on Isla del Encanto. No surprises here. Photo: Darren Muschett
    Leif Engstrom, steep and deep on Isla del Encanto. No surprises here. Photo: Darren Muschett
  • Rhode Island? Maine? Nova Scotia? Try the Great Lakes, where pointbreaks abound and snow is a way of life after November. Photo: Brian Tanis
    Rhode Island? Maine? Nova Scotia? Try the Great Lakes, where pointbreaks abound and snow is a way of life after November. Photo: Brian Tanis
  • It took us a few hours to finally ID him (thanks Andrew Fletcher!), but everybody in the water at Sebastian Inlet on Sunday had their eyes glued on Daniel Calloway. Photo: Dugan
    It took us a few hours to finally ID him (thanks Andrew Fletcher!), but everybody in the water at Sebastian Inlet on Sunday had their eyes glued on Daniel Calloway. Photo: Dugan
  • “I opted to shoot from land since it was so sunny without really any barrels on hand,” said Long Beach Island,NJ, photographer Kyle Gronostajski.“I got just the one of Conor Willem, but I'm so glad there's finally a wintery feel around here with the waves and weather.” Photo: Kyle Gronostajski
    “I opted to shoot from land since it was so sunny without really any barrels on hand,” said Long Beach Island,NJ, photographer Kyle Gronostajski.“I got just the one of Conor Willem, but I'm so glad there's finally a wintery feel around here with the waves and weather.” Photo: Kyle Gronostajski
  • Meanwhile, in Massachusetts... Photo: Andrew Jacob
    Meanwhile, in Massachusetts... Photo: Andrew Jacob
  • “It was super foggy until about 11:30 AM this day before it finally cleared up,” said ESM Photo Editor Nate Adams. “So I went to shoot with Chris Tucker before the fog came right back and made it hard to shoot. I only focused on water since I've been feeling like crap and battling a cold. But I figured the saltwater would help!” Photo: Adams
    “It was super foggy until about 11:30 AM this day before it finally cleared up,” said ESM Photo Editor Nate Adams. “So I went to shoot with Chris Tucker before the fog came right back and made it hard to shoot. I only focused on water since I've been feeling like crap and battling a cold. But I figured the saltwater would help!” Photo: Adams
  • “I've been on the island in Puerto Rico for a little less then a month,” said Southern New Jersey photographer Sean Steger. “The surf at the beginning of my trip was a little small, so my dad and I and a couple of friends had to surf up north. But the swell the last few days was much bigger and more powerful.” Photo: Sean Steger
    “I've been on the island in Puerto Rico for a little less then a month,” said Southern New Jersey photographer Sean Steger. “The surf at the beginning of my trip was a little small, so my dad and I and a couple of friends had to surf up north. But the swell the last few days was much bigger and more powerful.” Photo: Sean Steger
  • When the waves look this good in New Jersey, you can bet everybody with a decent camera will be on the beach. Kudos to photographer Ben Currie for going above and beyond to capture a unique angle that showcased both the landscape and the human element of this swell. Photo: Ben Currie
    When the waves look this good in New Jersey, you can bet everybody with a decent camera will be on the beach. Kudos to photographer Ben Currie for going above and beyond to capture a unique angle that showcased both the landscape and the human element of this swell. Photo: Ben Currie
  • Never count the boogie crew out when the waves turn on like this. Here's Jeremy Meikle getting it done on Sunday in Kill Devil Hills, NC. Photo: Bob Hovey
    Never count the boogie crew out when the waves turn on like this. Here's Jeremy Meikle getting it done on Sunday in Kill Devil Hills, NC. Photo: Bob Hovey
  • Don't blame Chris Duff for copping a feel on this Central Florida gem. Calling all World Tour competitors — can we get more claims like this? Photo: Bill Cousins
    Don't blame Chris Duff for copping a feel on this Central Florida gem. Calling all World Tour competitors — can we get more claims like this? Photo: Bill Cousins
  • As David Bowie sang in his 1969 song “Memory of a Free Festival,” “The sun machine is coming down, and we're gonna have a party.” To which we say amen, RIP, and thanks for all the memories. Photo: Billy Ficke
    As David Bowie sang in his 1969 song “Memory of a Free Festival,” “The sun machine is coming down, and we're gonna have a party.” To which we say amen, RIP, and thanks for all the memories. Photo: Billy Ficke

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