08/26/2011 12:24 pm ET Updated Oct 11, 2012

How to Surf in New York

Who would guess that in New York City among the millions of people and
mazes of skyscrapers and highways a surfing subculture exists.
Thousands of New Yorkers have their beloved, delicate-as-eggshell
multiple-colored surfboards propped up against a wall or hanging like
a Jack Pierson chef d'oeuvre from the ceiling just pining for a

Of course it isn't Sydney but our East Coast barrier reef islands
a.k.a Coney, Long, and Fire Island as well as the Jersey "coastline"
serve up some delightful waves. Last hurricane season my friend
"scrubby" rode an 18 foot monster that would have made even Kelly
Slater think twice. All over NYC surfshops are popping up to feed the
need to surf.

Even Vogue's Jill Demling along with Karen Mulligan from Annie
Leibovitz studio made a fashion entry into the world of Blue Crush
bikini clads girls by founding Pret-a-Surf, a luxury swimwear line.
Mollusk in Billyburg is where I bought my first cobalt blue Pavel
board. Now Quiksilver is entering the fray offering a one million
dollar purse this September at the very first Long Beach invitational.
Surfing in NYC has morphed into a world class event.

Despite all the hype I find surfing a philosophic mix of physics,
water, wind, sports and courage. When you find yourself on a wave and
you can see Manhattan it changes everything! When I see surfers on the
Rockaway or Long Beach line, my heart pangs to drop everything and head
to the beach instead of battling with health insurances plans on
behalf of my patients. My best surf moment was on a full moon night
near the north coast of Haiti. The sun and moon just switched places
all of the sudden. And there I was with my brother Mark riding a big
wave on my Haitian made foam green board at 10PM. Those are moments
surfers live for.

So one day it occurred to me somehow to bring all my wave rider friends
together to do something good for our fair city. I called Paul
Caccamo the CEO of Coach Across America. They are an NGO that offers
coaching for inner-city kids. Paul hooked me up with Ms. Alex Gomes
another surfer who works at Stoked. We boldly called Vogue's Jill
Demling and asked Pret-a-Surf along with New York Dermatology Group to
cosponsor an inner-city kids surf event as an intro to the Quiksilver
event. Boarders Surfshop owner Frank Cullen offered us $3000 worth
of rental equipment and young surf instructors. Then Karen Mulligan
from the Annie Leibovitz studio chimed in with signed photo books from
Ms. Leibovitz for the budding young female surfers. We decided to
throw in a skin cancer talk since I am a dermatologist and finally an
afternoon barbecue after we surfed. We want as many New York surfers
as possible to show up on beach 67 in the Rockaways at 9 am on august
31. The train stops a block from the beach. Our goal is to raise
enough funds to sponsor another coach for inner-city kids via Coach
Across America . My friend Karma surfs and she will be at the event.

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