By Courtney Hindle

In March of 2020, I left my tiny New York apartment to spend the week at my family’s Harvey Cedars home while the COVID-19 pandemic quickly came and went. As we all know, and as I write this from Harvey Cedars…it’s been slightly longer.

In those cold March days, I watched in awe as surfers ran fearlessly down my street, surfboards in hand to ride the winter waves and thought, That’s insane…but wait, I want to do that too! Seizing the unique opportunity of a remote work environment, I started my surf journey at thirty.

With lessons in Barnegat Light with the amazing surf instructor and sand guru, Seth VanDorn, I learned to ride the waves. Trading New York City bars for sand bars, lunch breaks for surf sessions, and early mornings for coffee and surfing with the self-titled, “Barnegat Ladies Surf Club.” I couldn’t get enough of it!

Through many, many (Did I mention many?) failed attempts, falls, and being humbled by 10-year-olds effortlessly crushing it out there, (Why must they make it look so easy?), I found my footing and my passion. I gained new perspectives, new connections, a new community, and new friends. I also gained a reset on life. The months I spent on LBI during the COVID-19 shutdown gave me time and cause to reevaluate my priorities and set new goals.

Surfing opened up the Island to me. I learned more about LBI, its history, and unique waters that surround it.

Learning to surf gave me a completely new connection to the ocean. Being out on the water, there’s a different level of awareness, you become part of the environment.

Looking back at the Island from my surfboard I gained a new perspective of the Island. The view is quite different from the water. It is amazing to watch the sunrise and see the Island wake up.

Recently I surfed in the Coronado Beach area of San Diego. West coast surfing is fun. But I am an east coast surfer at heart. I’m proud to surf the east coast where you work for it, you work for your wave.

These days as we all transition to a new normal and I return to the office, I feel reenergized with knowledge that the LBI surf will always be there.

And looking out at the waves I’m reminded there’s nothing like that first wave, and the best wave is the next one.

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