Ocean City Today

Those bitten by ‘surf bug’ will seek out waves

Surf Report
By Dave Dalkiewicz | Jan 25, 2018

(Jan. 26, 2018) I’ve had the privilege of meeting quite a few people over the years through surfing and otherwise.

Once bitten by the “surf bug” it sort of becomes part of the fabric of who you are, even to the point of adjusting where you live and work. Some have even re-located a distance of what seems to be half way around the world.

It’s not too unusual to get out of town in the winter time. Most of us have obligations that can keep us close to home in the busy summer.

Even those that are more regularly attached will find blocks of time such as Christmas or Easter vacations and the like. To just escape the cold or even the craziness of summer, if that’s your schedule, can be rewarding and at times quite necessary.

Surfing seems to naturally gravitate to travel. To experience other locales, cultures, customs, or languages always seems to be worthwhile, whether its three hours or three days away. And surfing seems to be the perfect excuse.

One such young man, who has made it his business to gravitate and travel to warmer climes and larger waves, has become a good friend. Alex Emmer seems to have the wiring for large surf.

From the outskirts of Baltimore he’ll frequent this area and has made Oahu and areas of the Pacific part of his yearly calendar.

He dropped by with a few photos this past summer which are impressive by any standard. I dutifully placed them up on a wall and they lend a certain air to the surroundings.

We can get some challenging, formidable waves here at home from time to time, especially when the cold water and air are part of the formula, but this is another scenario.

Big is big, but these waves are placed on another scale. Telephone poles come to mind when thinking of a comparable size.

I’ve received pictures of his quiver and it starts at 8 feet 6 inches. More recent photos reveal a newly acquired 10-footer and a broken 9-foot 4-inch that seems to be only worthy of being a wall hanger once put back together.

These boards are what are known as “guns.” Fashioned for large waves, they are intended as such and not of the wider versions commonly known as “longboards.” Serious equipment for serious surf.

I asked how the 9-foot 4-inch met its fate. The reply, “Surfing maxed out sunset. Air dropped, board buckled on impact then the lip finished the job.”

This happened in surf of 10 to 15 feet. That’s 10 to 15 “Hawaiian” scale. Whenever this “scale” is used one can pretty much double the measurement and that will be the size of the wave “up the face,” from trough to the top of the wave just before it comes over.

Maybe Hawaiians have bigger feet?

For whatever reason this is how it’s spoken of on these islands. There seems to be various and sundry reasons for this “logic” and subject matter for another column all together.

I’ve often thought that if you could post up in a place long enough and had the desire, riding waves such as these would become more fun, more comfortable, not as terrifying.

Now I know that all of this isn’t just a walk in the park for Mr. Emmer. He seems to keep himself in decent shape and maybe more importantly has that keen desire.

I’ve read about traveling surfers that upon arrival would almost immediately go out in some big stuff just to get it out of their psyche. Take the drubbing, get it over with, and maybe then going forward wouldn’t be as difficult a task.

However it’s being accomplished, he seems to be doing it up. Go get ‘em Alex! And come back with more stories.

— Dave Dalkiewicz is the owner of Ocean Atlantic Surf Shop in Ocean City

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