Long Beach Early Session

Summer is winding down. If you want to catch the last warm-weather waves, you've got to paddle out early. Here's some morning session photos shot last week (before Irene ravaged the beach) on the same waves the pros will hit starting next week.


More from Long Beach Surf City

Here's some more shots of the Quiksilver Pro build out in Long Beach. Hurricane Irene is forecast to make landfall for this coming weekend. I suppose they should batten down the hatches...



Last week, I had the pleasure of visiting the United States Merchant Marine Academy (King's Point, Long Island). Wow, to say I was pleasantly surprised by the place would be an understatement.

From the USMMA website: A glimpse at a map of the United States shows us that we are a maritime nation. To the east is the Atlantic Ocean; to the west, the Pacific; off our southern border, the Gulf of Mexico; in the north, the Great Lakes; and crisscrossing our states, great rivers like the Mississippi and other inland waterways.

Every hour of every day, ships of all types ply the waters in and around our nation. They leave our ports laden with U.S. goods bound for foreign markets, or arrive in our harbors with merchandise and materials for American consumers.

There are tankers traveling along the west coast with raw petroleum for our refineries; Great Lakes vessels loaded with iron ore, coal or other minerals for America's industry; huge containerships in Eastern ports, their box-like containers filled with manufactured goods; general cargo ships in the Gulf unloading pallets of coffee and crates of fruit; tugboats pushing and pulling barges carrying the Midwest's grain.

These kinds of vessels, owned by U.S. companies, registered and operated under the American flag, comprise the U.S. merchant marine. This fleet of highly productive ships is a major part of our system of commerce, helping guarantee our access to foreign markets for sale of our manufactured goods.

Moreover, in time of war or national emergency, the U.S. merchant marine becomes vital to national security as a "fourth arm of defense." Our merchant ships bear the brunt of delivering military supplies overseas to our forces and allies. The stark lessons of twentieth century conflict prove that a strong merchant marine is an essential part of American seapower.

The nation's economic and security needs met by the U.S. merchant marine are compelling. Today, the United States imports approximately 85 percent of some 77 strategic commodities critical to America's industry and defense. Although we, as a nation, account for only six percent of the world population, we purchase nearly a third of the world's output of raw materials. Ninetynine percent of these materials are transported by merchant vessels.

A ship at sea does not operate in a vacuum. It depends on a framework of shoreside activities for its operations. This industry includes companies which own and manage the vessels; ports and terminals where cargo is handled; yards for ship repair; services like marine insurance underwriters, ship chartering firms, admiralty lawyers, engineering and research companies; and increasingly today, intermodal systems of trucks and railroads to distribute goods around the country.

But the most important element in a productive merchant fleet and a strong transportation industry is people - men and women who are intelligent, dedicated, well-educated and competent.

The purpose of the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy is to ensure that such people are available to the nation as shipboard officers and as leaders in the transportation field who will meet the challenges of the present and the future.


Quik Pro Build

Have you heard? The surfing world is coming to NYC!---er, I mean Long Beach, Long Island! Massive construction is underway on the beach for the soon to blow your mind Quiksilver Pro. Shipping containers(!), tents, stages, ramps, tracks--by the looks of things, they're building a mini-city out there. People are buzzing about it. This is the biggest thing to come to town since the Atlantic Ocean. Bonus: looks like there will be some interesting architecture. Consider this your first look and fair warning! As picked up by Gothamist, Surfspots and Surftweeters.


High Liners

As you know, the High Line is like a second home to me--I love it up there! Here's some photographs of folks enjoying everyone's favorite new NYC park.