* A continuing, semi-regular photo blog of random photos, accompanying thoughts, insights, observations and some good ol’ Tomfoolery now and again *
Sometimes life just hands you a wonderful gift when you least expect it. My advice to you from someone who has seen his life flash before his eyes is to recognize it, grab it up, hold onto it tightly and for as long as you can be it a minute, an hour or a day. That bit of arm chair philosophy is at the heart of this Phlog as I travel up coast to my home state of New Jersey for the last of the ESA’s 2019 Regionals next weekend along with the New Jersey Surfing Hall Of fame induction to celebrate and honor fellow Jerseyians receiving that high honor on May 31st.
I got two gifts yesterday, my last day of a 12 day stay on the Outer Banks of North Carolina,by spending it with an old, dear friend, Jesse Fernandez a remarkably excellent sharper and a top east coast competitor who could hold his own with anybody back in our prime.
Jesse is battling cancer – and I seemed to have hopefully gotten through my own war with it recently – so we had a lot to talk about on a variety of topics including fighting and enduring some pretty heavy physical and mental shit along with some great reminisces of our glorious times together surfing, shooting, traveling and just hanging in between the aforementioned. I never took those times for granted but they seem all the more precious to me now.
After a tasty, wonderfully greazy breakfast at Henrys served with a long, winding, coffee fueled convo filled with hope, humor and positivity we decided to go check the surf in Nags Head where rumors – and photos – are surfacing about some interesting, man made sandbar configurations.
It was kinda shitty outside but I like that kind of weather truth be told with some light rain and a cool, breezy northeast wind blowing in off the ocean creating fun looking 3-4 foot waves just looking for a proper piece of sand to break over but, hanging out with Jess, the sun was shining bright and warm in my mind and spirits and Jesse was equally as stoked too.
We had done our fair share of road trips together back in the day including a memorable one up to Nova Scotia in 1989, but this felt just as fun and familiar as the others and we fell right back into it like we were in Canada driving blind looking for waves in a world before GPS and Surfline just a few weeks ago.
After a few dead-ends we finally rolled up to “the spot”, spocked the waves for a good half an hour frothing on some crazy looking, micro shore break / mini-Chopes barrels wondering if the it would ever come correct and line-up proper or just disappear tomorrow under thousands of cubic yards of sand. We guessed it would be the latter and we walked off back towards the car stoked, shivering and laughing against the chilly breeze.
This is where gift number two popped up out of nowhere and all alone in the form of of a broadly smiling Jesse Hines, one remarkable pro surfer in his day who still rips the shiitake out of it and is now the proud co-owner of the Surfin’ Spoon yogurt ice cream parlor in Nags with his wife Whitney. I had done some trips with him as well along with many photo shoots so randomly bumping into him at this spot was just the cherry on top of a Surfin’ Spoon deluxe sundae as far as I was concerned.
Jesse Hines was looking to go for a surf and Jesse Fernandez and I were looking for a way to extend our little local adventure and it seemed like watching “the kid” paddle out and take some pictures was as good a reason as any.
It wasn’t the best surf we’d all seen but we all recognized a magic moment when we say one – randomly meeting up at this particular place, day and time – and seized on the serendipity and fellowship like the special moment it was.
And, when you recognize one yourself because they often come disguised as a rather ordinary moment or are cloaked in your own personal hurriedness, don’t ever let it pass you by but revel in it as gifts like these don’t come often enough in life. To help Jess out and give a gift of your own to help this surfing legend and warrior win his fight with cancer please visit in GoFundMe page at: https://www.gofundme.com/jesse-fernandez-needs-your-help
Jesse puts a cherry on top of this vicious lip bash. Photo: Mez
Jesse’s battle will continue, please help if you can at https://www.gofundme.com/jesse-fernandez-needs-your-help