Q & A: Annie of NYC Urchin

Surfers in NYC still seem pretty shocking to most of the world, but Annie of NYC Urchin is out to change that.  Between her Q & A’s with some of NYC’s great surf brands to her up to date posts on current surf events going on in the city to her knowledge about the surfing community, it’s hard to believe Annie is fairly new to the surf culture in New York.  This fellow Jersey girl is out to make a name for herself in the blogosphere and hopes to educate readers along the way.

Where did the idea behind NYC Urchin come from?

I started NYC Urchin when I first moved into NY last year with my best friend (who now has a separate, arguably cooler blog: Crosby Cove) to show that it is possible to live a beachy lifestyle in the city.  We quickly realized that it takes an honest effort! But, it is possible and, because of the distance, the beach has become even more of a special destination for us.  “Distance makes the heart grow fonder” certainly applies to city living. Since then, NYC Urchin has become more of a platform to share local information regarding the sea…from a new swimsuit line in NY to an interview with the local rep of Boarding for Breast Cancer, to Surfrider beach cleanups and screenings.  I like to keep it all water-based, local and positive.

It’s hard for people to believe that there is a surf culture in New York.  Why do you think it’s so important to educate the world on surfing here in NYC?

The surf scene in NY is small, but against all odds it is quickly growing! It’s sort of a renegade community of like-minded people that truly value surfing and having access to the ocean. I think it’s necessary to share NY’s surf culture to show other city dwellers that it is possible to live a balanced lifestyle.  It’s such a great sport that I think everyone ought to try!  Imagine if everyone surfed in NY (recently voted one of the unfriendliest cities in the US)! People would be more conscious of the local waterways and environment and everyone would be a little healthier, happier and friendlier. Check out these groups that are embracing the transformative power of surfing: Stoked Mentoring, Boarding for Breast Cancer, Waves for Development, Surf for a Cause, etc etc.

How did you get so involved with the surf culture of the city? 

I’m pretty new to surfing, but it’s such a small group of enthusiastic surfers here that once you’re part of it, attending events, supporting other people’s projects, I guess you become part of the fam.

How do you feel that the surf culture differs from New Jersey and New York?

I grew up in NJ, but I’ve really only surfed in NY, so I’m not too sure! I bet pretty similar, except NYers are afraid to leave the state (it is a little harder to do without a car, so we sortof have an excuse). You will have to fill us in on what’s going on in NJ!

For a first timer in New York, what beaches do you recommend?

They’re all fun and very different. Some are eye-openingly strange like Coney Island, some are faroff and secluded like Breezy Point, and then there’s Long Beach which is bustling and full of surfers. I prefer Rockaway, because it’s just easiest to get to from Brooklyn and the scene is a little more rustic and laid back and there is a great selection of driftwood to choose from. But there is also a ton of trash to pick up along the way!

What are some great surf shops to check out in the NYC area?

There was a funny article in the NY Times recently comparing Manhattan’s Saturdays with Brooklyn’s Pilgrim and I kinda think it’s totally valid!  Saturdays is worth a visit, as it’s refreshing to pop into off the street and they have a great barista, but I’ve never met any good characters there and they have no women’s gear! On the other hand, go to one Pilgrim event and you will fall in love with the crowd and have some solid conversations over an enjoyably lukewarm PBR.  I mean, I had the chance to eat tacos with Mitch Abshere after the last one! Heaven. There’s a new surf/skate shop in DUMBO called Aegir that I have not checked out yet (they have an art event going on tonight), and Lost Weekends in Soho has a nice vibe and cafe! I think there will be more and more popping up…

What are some essentials for the surfer in the city?

An ugly backpack that won’t be stolen off the beach while you’re in the water.  If you have roommates, a vacuum is necessary to get all the loose sand (not great at this –sorry roomies!), somewhere to hang a wetsuit that won’t leak water through the floor below, snacks and good music for the long drive/subway, plus a waterproof bag to keep all your wet gear in on the subway and if you have to run straight to work. Oh and definitely some NYC Urchin accessories (coming soon to Etsy)!

You always seem to be in the know about upcoming surf events in the NY area.  Are there any you’re attending in the future that you’re excited for?

I’ve just joined Rockaway Beach Surf Club (a cool new spot – I recommend a look!) and they are premiering Taylor Steele’s film “Here and Now” this Saturday. Bummed to miss it, but you should go! There’s a Surfrider event coming up on the 15th at Lucky Strike. And apparently it’s Surf Week next week. Later this summer NYC Urchin and NY apparel line Ohlas line will be organizing a community surf event in Brooklyn – it’ll be fun, stay tuned!

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