Dick’s Picks # 7: New Jersey Archive Dive Part 1

May 8, 2020 • Dicks Picks, Photos, Swell Gallery

Presented by Wave Riding Vehicles https://www.waveridingvehicles.com

I’m not going to lie and I’m not going to whine either but… I miss home.

I miss New Jersey.

She’s deep into the marrow of my bones and still flowing in my DNA as in, you can take the boy out of Jersey but ain’t no way to take the Jersey out of the boy.

Ever.

Just ain’t possible.

December ’77 winter storm set approaches Manasquan inlet river mouth as viewed from the Point Pleasant Beach side Definitely the biggest waves I ever saw in my home state and home town. This one still impresses the hell out of me how big it was, 15 -20 wave faces on the biggest bombs this morning. A trawler flipped over later that day make a run for safe harbor and 4 lives were lost trapped in side. @mezapixels

I think about where I come from often enough, especially this time of year. Right now, this month and week, I would be kissing my wife Tonya goodbye then jumping in my 4-Runner headed north – Jersey bound, hammer down – on I-95 to cover the Eastern Surfing Associations Northeast Regionals at 16th Ave. in Belmar, less than 10 miles from Point Pleasant Beach where I was born and raised til I turned 40 and pulled up stakes to move to Florida in December of 1989, 40 years ago.

This is the sandbar, circa Fall of 1975, at the end of Carter Avenue where I lived 2 blocks away and where I learned to swim, fish, ride surf mats, skimboards and, eventually, surfboards when I was 12. Many a solo sesh here and always worth the 20 + hour drive from Florida. @mezapixesl

For obvious reasons that ain’t happening right now and it’s saddens me greatly but, as we say back home, it is what is is and you deal; be Jersey Strong.

And I don’t really have it that bad. Everybody in my circle of family and friends – both by both blood and through surfing – are healthy and that is the important thing right now.

Hi, my name is Mez ( I am also still known as “Dickie” to family, friends and surf buds back home ) and I will be your photographic guide here today. Please realx and enjoy the views to come below. Photo: Mike Vuocolo @mikesshoreshots.

Don’t know how long before I can return but Jersey will most assuredly be there (speaking of Jersey Strong) and I will eventually get to travel without peril to myself or others back to the state of my birth and the best effing pizza, Taylor pork roll, egg, cheese sang’wiches and buttered hard rolls anywhere.

This “Dicks Picks” is for you Jerz.  I won’t be seeing you til who knows when but you’re in my heart and mind and I will miss you all til then. – Mez –

*** Please come back Monday for Part 2 and share!

Growing up along the Jersey Shore you had a lot of summer season regulations, rules and laws you had to break, bend, willfully ignore or otherwise give the finger to if you wanted to surf between Memorial Day and Labor day. @mezapixels

Peering through the 8 foot high cyclone fence erected in the Beacon Manor Hotel parking lot in Point Beach to keep the surfing riff-raff out and away from the Osborne Ave. jetty on the north end of Bayhead. Didn’t stop us; we had our ways. @mezapixels

My first ever published and paid for surf mag shot of Bayhead local, Greg “Smooch” Spurgat. It ran in Surfing mag as a 4×6 inch black and white in 1972 that I got $10 bucks for . It felt like I had scored the cover when I first saw it and I was officially a “surf photographer”! @mezapixels

Seaside Park by Casino Pier. This is what you would call Jersey Attitude but, if you wanted to surf Casino Pier, you needed to have a lot of it. That crew were not to be trifled with back in the day. @mezapixels

Jeff “Bevs” Beverley surfing Bayhead August 1988. Jeff is still charging it well into his 60’s on shortboards. All winter. Last of the OG Bayhead / Jenks Mohicans still hard at it. Much respect. @mezapixels

I grew up in a resort town with a good sized fishing fleet that was post card perfect. I loved to shoot photos all around the docks and had quite a few published in non endemic pubs and that sold as stock back when stock photogarphy was a great supplemental income. The fleet, photographed in the summer of 1983, does not look like this anymore nor does stock photography. @mezapixels

My good friend and travel partner on some early surf trips, Robbie Morris ( RIP ) surfing Manasquan inlet during hurricane Emmy circa August 1976. Robbie was the Silent Assassin in our crew. A low key, quiet, super intelligent human being who lived to charge the biggest waves he could find. Could have been anything in life but found his way to Kauai and got into the construction business so he could chase waves. HUGE waves. Before he passed from cancer a few years ago but he was towing into gargantuan surf at Queens at outside Hanalei Bay in welcomed obscurity until he could no more. Hero status. This photo ran as a double page spread in Surfing magazine and a harbinger to the purist, big wave surfer he would become. @mezapixels

Matt Kechele made many a promo visit for his Kechele Surfboards and later as Quiksilver’s East Coast team guy. Matt had a great relationship with the Jersey crew from one end of the state to the other, was always respected, welcomed at any break and always crashed at my pad. One year he brought a 13 year old Kelly Slater along with him and touted him to me as a definite a future world champ. Good call Kech! Kech surfing Ocean Beach in August of 1986. @mezapixels

One of my first water shots at Jenks circa 1976 of John “Johnny Jenks” Chambers. He ran the joint and helped keep the line-up free and clear of non-local, drop in jerkoff’s when the break started getting well known. Nobody messed with John unless they did not know him and learned quickly that it was not the thing you wanted to do. Walked softly, charged hard didn’t take shit off anybody, Jersey Legend. @mezapixels

The Jenks set-up with the old, beat up rubble jetty circa winter 1974 before the re-build that altered the old line-up forever and not for the better either. If you never surfed this place before they “fixed” it, you will never know or understand how good it was. @mezapixels

Jenks after the re-build. It held it’s cove-like, cobblestone point break-like characteristics for awhile but, inexorablly, the long, long roping barrels became something else altogether as the doloss style concrete jacks did their job and held and built the sand bank back around it. @mezapixels

Legend Steve Hatch ( RIP ), circa 1975, was a super talented, in demand carpenter / craftsman ( so he could call the shots and surf when he wanted too like most surfer-carpenters do ) and a surfing mentor when I was younger and not old enough to drive. He was a few years older, had a bitchen’ VW van and took me to surf Belmar, Manasquan, Spring and, eventually, Jenkinsons when only 3 other people knew about it. Steve also was a big wave, barrel charging hellman and, in my younger days, I’d like to think at least a little of that rubbed off on me. One cool dude and still missed by the OG crew. This ran as a spread in Surfing. @mezapixels

Me surfing Jenks, circa October 1988, the year before I moved to Florida. Hey, had to put the camera down once in awhile! Photo: Bruce Chrisner @brucechrisner1

Scotty Duerr is a legend and really opened the door to being a pro surfer from Jersey, especially in the “freesurfer” department. At this time, circa mid 80s, nobody from the Garden State had been published in magazines more than SD. He paved the way for every NJ surfer to follow, period end of discussion. Scotty and all his natural talent would have gotten him to his professional zenith without me just fine but, rest assured, getting to point my lens at him on days like this most definitely helped elevate my game and my status in the surf photography game. He was as key to career as  Greg Loehr was for Larry Pope ( although I would never compare myself to Larry Legend I would Scotty to G-Lo as far as surfing abilities go with all due respect ) and he helped me make my bones at a key time in my professional life. Scotty drawing a line at ‘Squan like only he could, December 1987. @mezapixels

Deadmans Beach circa 1979. This ran in Surfing mag as a half pager. @mezapixels

Steven Lenches, circa August 1985, followed Scotty Duerr in our area as the guy who took it next level by going pro, gaining sponsors, working with the photogs and was the missing link to Sammy Hammer, Mike Gleason and that crew. Stevie Boy, like me, ended up in Florida close by to me in Melbourne Beach in the late 80’s / early 90’s and did quite well as a pro during the 90’s surf boom. And kid could rip! @mezapixels

Sea Smoke, December 1987. I pre-planned this shot the day before knowing a brutal cold front was coming in and the ocean temps were still in the high 40’s and perfect for sea smoke possibilities. I remember this morning because it was so cold that it was hard to compose photos with the northwest wind howling and the wind chill  in the low teens making my eyes water and sting. It was so cold even my dog Raggs ( lower left ) wanted no part of it and could not wait to get back to the car. But we got the shot and it ran half page in Surfer mag. @mezapixels

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

  • Good stuff, Mez! Started surfing in “70 in Va Beach and remember many of these pix. Especially the Scotty Duerr one. You’ve had a nice run- keep it up.

  • James Rishavy

    Hey Dickie nice piece and pics !priceless

    Still here north shore DR

    Jimbo Rishavy

    look me up some time