By Senior Correspondent Desirée Taylor
Rough surf may keep most beach-goers at bay, but not surfers.
“It’s very rare when we get good waves here in New Jersey so when you get them, you got to get them whenever — be it rain, snow, sleet, cold, hot, it doesn’t matter — we’re out here,” said surfer Jason Mitchell.
Mitchell was among the brave souls out just before Superstorm Sandy hit. Since then, he says surfing conditions have changed along the Jersey Shore.
“Things have changed for the better, but some have changed for the worse,” Mitchell said. “Some new breaks have formed where there never were waves but some breaks are just pretty much destroyed. You can’t really surf there anymore.”
The changes are due to a redistribution of sand along the coast says State Climatologist David Robinson. This natural process is common during the winter months, but Sandy wasn’t your typical storm.
“A lot of the sand on the beaches was pulled off shore and you had some sandbars that parallel the coast established. And what they do is grab the energy from the waves that are moving toward shore and curl them up into waves,” Robinson said.
Big, gnarly waves may be good for surfers, but they’re not for everyone.
“With that added sand off shore and the different … topography of the sea floor just off shore, it may result in more rip currents as we get into the summer, so that’s a problem,” Robinson said. “And of course the beaches have been reduced in size, which is at the detriment of most beach-goers, aside from the surfers.”
Beach replenishment projects have also changed the landscape. And post-Sandy, more are expected to help protect the Jersey Shore. With time, Mother Nature will likely move the sand back, until the next storm.