“Life Before Sandy” A shot by Thor Larson

New York Surfers are known to fly south in the winter. TJ Gumiela, Leif Engstrom, Cliff Skudin and Tyler Maguire headed south after hurricane season came to an end, or what they thought. After a couple weeks surfing fun waves, Hurricane Sandy popped up. The crew was faced with the “should I stay or should I go ?”  NYSEA caught up with TJ Gumiela for a few questions:

NYSEA- When you saw Hurricane Sandy, what were your thoughts?

TJ –  “First I was thinking of heading home. All our local friends told us we were crazy for leaving, so last minute we all decided to stay in PR. As the waves built we drove around checking spots and its kind of ironic the best place we found to surf was Sandy Beach. We ended up getting some fun bigger waves. After we got out of the water, We started hearing how bad it was getting back home in NY and then nothing. No calls, no messages, nothing. We couldn’t get in touch with our families. I have never felt that feeling before, just waiting by the phone for someone to call. It was nerve raking. Finally, I got through to my mom, she told me everyone was fine, but the water destroyed my house and our cars. Surfing then took a back seat to everything else and we started focusing on getting home to help.”

“Its amazing to see the way everyone has come together and help each other,  it will take time but we will be back to “Life Before Sandy”.

Cover shot by Matt Clark