Surfers eager to ride Bill’s waves at Long Beach

Photo credit: John Dunn/John Dunn | A wave crests and breaks near the shore. No Swimming signs have been posted Saturday, Aug. 22, 2009, at Gilgo Beach in Babylon, NY. The effects of Hurricane Bill are causing high surf and rip currents across the area. (Photo by John Dunn)

A wave crests and breaks near the shore. No Swimming signs have been posted Sat, Aug. 22, 2009, at Gilgo Beach in Babylon, NY. The effects of Hurricane Bill are causing high surf and rip currents across the area. (Photo by John Dunn)

August 22, 2009 By ARIELLE BRECHISCI. Special to Newsday

Surfers rolled out of bed early and sprinted to the Long Beach sand Saturday to enjoy a taste of waves they might normally have been able to ride only off San Diego or Maui.

Brandon Fyfe, 21, hit the water at 7 a.m. and planned to head out even earlier Sunday.

“There’s definitely a lot more power,” said Fyfe, of Long Beach, a 10-year surfing veteran who works at Unsound Surf Shop in Long Beach and surfs there every single day.

“Surfing is pretty much my life,” he said, shortly before joining his friends in the water with his Pesce short board.

Andrew Kaplan was also out surfing all morning. “This is the best storm in years,” said Kaplan, 28, of Manhattan, who surfs at Long Beach every weekend during the winter and less frequently in summer.

“This is unreal,” Kaplan said, pointing to breaking 8- to 10-foot swells. “These are the best waves I’ve seen here.”

Kevin Smith grabbed his Al Merrick custom-designed short board – his favorite of nine boards he owns – to ride the swells generated by Hurricane Bill, better conditions than the wind-generated waves he usually encounters at Long Beach.

Smith, 32, a Long Beach pharmaceutical sales manager, surfs a few times a month and would love to go more often, but “unfortunately, the real world gets in the way.”

Not everyone was impressed with the swell. “They’re bigger, but it’s not perfect. It’s got a ways to go still,” said Travis Child, 34, of Brooklyn. “It’s waves for a place that never has waves.”

Even if the conditions worsen, the beach “more than likely” won’t be shut down to surfers, said Jones, 20, of Long Beach. “I mean, the waves are big, but they’re not ridiculous,” he said.

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