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March 20, 2008

Snow Surfing

When the Surfrider Foundation’s winter offshoot — the Snowrider Project — was at Sugarbush last month, the hydrological cycle was a big topic of conversation. The Snowrider Project’s goal is to educate those living in mountainous areas about watershed stewardship and the connectedness of all the world’s H2O.

The idea is to create a sense of responsibility for the mountain creeks that flow into suburban rivers and eventually meander into the ocean, where the Surfrider Foundation does its most extensive work.


Now that the sizable Green Mountain snowpack is poised for a spring run, it’s a good time to consider what we’re sending downstream.

Because the Surfrider Foundation and Snowrider Project are environmental organizations and as such take global warming seriously, I asked the Snowrider representatives on hand last month (pictured below) about warming and how it might affect the surf.

My argument about warming helping skiing was shot to pieces this year with all the rain we’ve received, but the theory of heavier precipitation events — bigger storms — had to have an affect on the surf, right?

Remember that spot in Al Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth” where Gore ran footage of hurricane Katrina and juxtaposed the death and destruction with his climate change science? His point (made in a definitively political fear-mongering way that soured the whole movie for me): expect bigger storms in a globally warmed world.

Gore and his co-Nobel Peace Prize recipient, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, believe hurricanes will get bigger and more frequent as global temps increase.

Here on the East Coast, the best surfing occurs when storms are barreling up the coast. In the days before they touch land, they send swells to the coastline and surfers start to get that same buzz we snowriders do when powder is in the forecast.

So I’m thinking — just as I used to about skiing — this warming thing is going to be great for surfers.

Not so fast, I was told.

Along with the predicted bigger and more frequent storms, there is also a predicted sea level rise associated with global warming. The rising sea level has the potential to completely wash out the beach breaks along the east coast, I learned.

So while more storms might mean more swell, the swell won’t be breaking where it does now. Where will it break? Good question, but I inferred from our conversation that coastal homes might be involved.

The thing is, the IPCC has moved on to the idea of adaption — that is, whatever’s happening may be beyond our power to control it so it’s time to learn to live with it.


That is not at all to say conserving resources and developing renewable energy is not worthwhile. Even if the Earth’s climate is out of our hands, our pursuit of better energy use and production should be no less aggressive. If we can achieve that, we may eliminate our need for an Iraq policy or a business relationship with Saudi Arabia.

And if in achieving that we put a dent in climate change, and these mid-winter rain storms turn back to snow and surfer’s aren’t worried about their beach breaks washing out, so much the better.

March 20, 2008 at 01:54 AM | Permalink


I like this place! I love the idea and wish there was a place like this in Astoria, Queens. I am a surfer and found a "real surfer bar" in Point Break NYC. I am kinda jealous ;0PIts filled with surfers, people who like surfers, people who like the beach and people who don't want to live close to town. I really like this place. You know what they have these real Proctor and Channel One surfboards on the wall. It's nice for coming any day of the week and eating a late brunch. The food was outstanding. The brunch and sides were prefect and tasty. It is a perfect "escape" from city living. It is probably one of the only places where you can get a nice frozen pina colada or margarita. The service was on hit. They came up and checked on us so many times and made sure everything was up to par. It gets very active and the bartenders keep everybody having a good time. The bartender was very accommodating. He was nice enough to make a drink, that wasn't on the menu, for me :0) Did I mention the bartenders are nice eye candy. It was amazing to see their “das boot” which is shaped like a boot filled with beer. Don’t get me wrong, I am not drunk…it’s an actual boot shaped beer container ready to be emptied. Try it ..You will love it!! Oh. How can I forget, they even have a wheel o' shots where you just have to spin it and have to drink whatever shot it lands on!! Now call that bar creativity at its best!!! And when I spill a tray full of shots on myself, the bartender so kindly remakes them for me? Good music, too, and the decor helped us weather an otherwise overcast and rainy day. You know that old song "Brandy"? It goes, "Brandy, you're a fine girl, what a good wife you would be. But my life, my lover, my lady is the sea." I believe Brandy works here. No reason, I just do. And that song happens to be a guilty pleasure of mine, so that's a plus in my book. You can simply waltz over to this colorful and warm establishment, enjoy some drinks with friends, and walk home. The bar is right at the center, so you can walk to either side for drinks, and the bartenders are friendly and at your service. There is a variety of seating, good music, and friendly neighborhood people to make your time more enjoyable. Not pretentious, very cozy, I think Point Break is a fabulous place to spend some time with friends.

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