Watch: "Am I Actually Gonna Ride A 7'0...In New Jersey?" - Stab Mag

Live Now: Episode 3 Of Stab In The Dark With Kolohe Andino

"It was the first time I was under-gunned in New Jersey," said Rob Kelly. Photo: Benjamin Currie

Watch: “Am I Actually Gonna Ride A 7’0…In New Jersey?”

East coast’s best tackle NJ’s biggest swell of the 21st century.

cinema // Dec 20, 2023
Words by August Howell
Reading Time: 2 minutes
Film/edit by Ryan Simalchik

Rob Kelly, who before this swell held the title for the biggest tube in New Jersey history and loves east coast surf enough to don boardshorts in a blizzard, said Monday delivered the best waves he’s ever seen in his home state. 

That’s not to say it was easy. With obnoxiously offshore gusts, a retreating tide and shifty 15 to 20-foot faces, New Jersey’s most regular barrel hunter unironically compared his local beach break to Puerto Escondido. According to Surfline, the swell peaked at 20 feet @ 18 seconds on the Delaware Bay buoy early Monday morning, the biggest readings it has recorded since 1992.

Robbie Goodwin, not in a casino but still rolling dice. Photo: Benjamin Currie

“It was your normal New Jersey swell day, with rips sucking up and looking good from the beach but hard to get into — except it was 15-20 feet,” Rob said. “I want to say I saw a 25-foot face.”

Another contingent of east coasters headed to a mythical break further north. Balaram Stack, Sam Hammer and Mike Gleason were in attendance (Bal even wrangled Tosh Tudor into the cold again). Word is they’re holding onto footage for an edit.

Just dust off the step-ups already. Photo: Benjamin Currie

Surprisingly, this once-in-three-decade swell was underhyped, according to Rob. No weather warnings on the local news. No tropical cyclone nor howling nor’easters. Just a solid low-pressure slamming into Garden State sandbars. Because it was so big and wild, there were more wipeouts than spit-takes, though Owen Moss (riding a 6’10), Robbie Goodwin, and Ryan Huckabee made a few gems (see above).

Mr. Kelly rode a 6’2 after his 6’4 “exploded into pieces” on a lefthand close-out. Despite the size, he couldn’t bring himself to ride the 7’0 in his car (“Am I really gonna ride a 7’0 in New Jersey?”). So when Rob’s wave of the day came through, he had to find the chipshot.

“I knew it wasn’t gonna let me out. But at my age, there’s a good chance that’s the biggest wave I’ll ever catch in my life in New Jersey,” Rob said. “So I had to go.” 


Comments are a Stab Premium feature. Gotta join to talk shop.

Already a member? Sign In

Want to join? Sign Up


Most Recent

How Much Credit Does The WSL Deserve For The Female Progression In Hawaii?

Reflecting on a monumental winter of women's surfing with Keala Kennelly, Jon Pyzel, Coco Ho,…

Feb 29, 2024

It’s Surfboard Sponsorship Bingo On The 2024 CT

Who rode who in Hawaii, and what's it mean for the rest of the year?

Feb 27, 2024

Watch: Harry Bryant And Dav Fox’s “Motel Hell”

Guzzle milk, hit play. 

Feb 27, 2024

7 BTS Full Frames From ‘Motel Hell’

"He got flogged on the takeoff and pushed into a underwater cave for a long…

Feb 25, 2024

This Week, 272 Surfers Will Battle Through 20 Rounds For 18 Remaining Olympic Spots

Your 2024 ISA World Games preview.

Feb 24, 2024

With Two Events Down, What Story Is The CT Leaderboard Telling us?

We plugged past and present Pros, and an official surfing odds setter, for their post-Hawaii…

Feb 24, 2024

John Florence Would Have Submitted A Different Pyzel For Stab In The Dark?

Plus, Jon Pyzel reflects on his Episode 03 cameo and predicts our 2024 SITD champ.

Feb 23, 2024

A Rare Glimpse Of Caity Simmers And Jordy Smith In The Same Freesurf Edit

Watch the #2 and #4 ranked CT surfers share an Indonesian playground with some Stab…

Feb 23, 2024

“The Grom’s In Her Place” — Molly Picklum And Jack Robinson Win 2024 Hurley Pro Sunset

A clean sweep for Australia's gen Z!

Feb 22, 2024

Checking The Mail With Our SSOTY Winners

Gallery: "And the wooden block goes to..."

Feb 21, 2024

Why Did Sawyer Lindblad Get A Paddling Interference Today At Sunset, If Jack Robbo Didn’t In 2019?

A critical analysis of WSL judging past and present. 

Feb 21, 2024

Brisa Hennessy Has The Best Sunset Rizz, Caity + BLSJ Sample New Sticks

Day three recap of the Hurley Pro.

Feb 21, 2024

Stab In The Dark With Kolohe Andino, Episode 3

Five boards face off for two Finals spots and Jon Pyzel infiltrates the set to…

Feb 21, 2024

Can We Reverse Engineer The 100-Foot Wave?  

We calculated the buoy reading for the surf to reach triple digits.

Feb 20, 2024

Stab High Site + World Surfing Reserve Playa Hermosa Is Under Threat

What’s happening in Costa Rica?

Feb 20, 2024

Brazil + San Clemente Crumble, Florence Puts The Mandoline To Work

Ewing, Slater and Medina sliced on day two of the Hurley Pro @ Sunset.

Feb 19, 2024

Soupy Sunset Skewers Three Wildcards, Jordy Smith Nicks Top Score Donning A Single Bootie

Day one recap of the Hurley Pro.

Feb 18, 2024

The D-Bah Session Heard Around The Internet

Cue the arrival of Dane Henry.

Feb 17, 2024