I'm from Beach Haven, New Jersey, it's on a small barrier island called Long Beach Island. My hometown is touristy and busy in the summer, and pretty empty in the winter - the town even turns the traffic lights off during the cold season. I've also lived in Wilmington, North Carolina, Charleston, South Carolina, north county San Diego, Ca, and spent time in Puerto Rico.
I grew up a few houses away from the beach so my childhood was filled with bodysurfing and boogie boarding. Once I was a teenager I bought a shortboard and stubbornly taught myself to (poorly) ride it. Years of lifeguarding and being on 12' prone paddle boards guided my interest to single fin longboards and feelings like trim, glide, and being high up on the water. Eventually I moved to San Diego, learned how to make boards, and that's when I really fell in love with logging - I must've surfed every day for the first two years I was there. There are just so many good longboard waves in San Diego and I was getting inspired from watching people like Mele Saili, Mick Rodgers, Ryan Burch, Joel Tudor...I was just hooked and knew I found my passion.
I ride single fin longboards the most frequently. The Continental has been my daily driver since I got it a year ago. It's been a goal to improve technical parts of my surfing, and that board has been instrumental in leveling up my noseriding I like vintage longboards from the 60's and you'll catch me on those heavy boards all the time, even though east coast waves add an extra challenge to the experience. I find inspiration and a meaningful connection to surfing through riding boards that are 60 years old and made by some of the legends. Our swells at home don't last very long, so there are times where I ride a midlength while it's bigger and barreling, go bodysurfing during low tide, then ride a log when the swell drops.
My favorite guys from the East Coast are Justin Quintal from Florida, Dean Randazzo and Sam Hammer are like hometown heroes in N.J., Tony Silvagni from N.C., and Slater the G.O.A.T. I've seen clips of Chase Lieder from N.Y. and he's a young guy that's ripping on logs which is exciting. At home I'm regularly inspired by my friends and family like Tucker McGrath and my brother Greg Melega. My top 5 influences worldwide are Joel Tudor, Tyler Warren, JJ Wessels, Tom Curren, Dave Rastavich.
My home break Wooden Jetty is a fun left that's next to a nature reserve and has a cool view of Atlantic City. Wilderness in Puerto Rico is beautiful. OBX in North Carolina is really fun to explore with friends. There are also plenty of empty sandbars around home that all work throughout the year. Globally my favorite spots are Chicama in Peru, San O, and Malibu. Being from Jersey, the quality surf at point breaks just blows my mind.
The infrequency and short duration of swell is the big issue here. Some swells are surfable for half a day, it'll be overhead in the morning and knee-high and blown out by the afternoon. It's very cold for half of the year where I live, so your mentality has to be "I NEED TO SURF" sometimes or it can be hard to motivate. As a teenager I would get days off from high school for snow storms, so I would suit up with 7mm gear at home and ride my bike, with my board in hand, a half mile to the surf spot in the snow. The ride home was usually brutal and this is how I learned the stages of frostbite. There are not many other loggers and traditional style surfers where I live, especially at pro levels. Classic single fin style surfing is growing in popularity a bit more now and I hope for our locals and year-round surfers to get into it. There aren't too many longboard contests here, and even fewer that reward traditional style and boards, so I'm hoping to see and help that change with the popularity of single fins growing.
Riding for Bing has been a goal since I rode my first model. The boards are magic and Matt's designs are next level. Being a part of the team is a dream come true! Getting invited to Mexi Logfest and other pro level events has been a great experience as well. I started competing only two years ago, and it turns out I love it. I'm not an aggressive person but I've always liked pushing myself physically and my skills, and you learn so much from others at these events, so it fits my interests really well. Teaching surfing and lifeguarding helps me to realize that I'm contributing to our local surfing community in a positive way and it can really help others. I love the feeling of passing on the stoke.
I'm still progressing and learning so I want that to be my focus, & alongside with the Bing family I can dial in boards and equipment to keep advancing. There haven't been too many longboarders from the north east that have gotten to that level, I want to represent NJ to move things forward and make a name for myself and my home in a positive light. Surfing is about having fun and I don't ever want to lose sight of what makes this my favorite thing to do.
I'm excited to dial in equipment! The Bing team makes the best longboards I've ever ridden. It's a dream to be able to work with such good board builders and shapers like Matt. Being in NJ, I hope to elevate the level of logging in my community and inspire others, the same way I get inspired when I go to California, Puerto Rico, or Mexico and surf with guys like Miguel Sinclair or Israel Preciado. I'm happy to team up with Bing not only because of the quality of the boards, but the quality of the people behind them. It is a family, rather than people just working, and everyone that is a part of this family is someone you'd be happy to chat with in the lineup. I'm very lucky to be joining the ranks of such skilled and kind people.
Mexi Logfest '22, Sayulita Mexico. I was invited last year and I met the Bing team through that opportunity, so I'm excited to go back and represent! It's a huge celebration of logging, art, music, good vibes, and has a positive impact on the talented Mexican surf community. Puerto Rico is the east coast surfers escape for when it gets cold at home, and there are some amazing waves there. San Diego/Southern California feels like a second home and I love to spend time there, San O is pretty special particularly. I would love to do a road trip to surf Maine, RI, and hopefully meet up with Bing team rider Dean Petty in Nova Scotia. There are so many good waves all over the east coast and it can be uncrowded if you don't mind wearing the rubber.
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