Extending south from New York, New Jersey’s 130 miles of Atlantic coastline is home to a plethora of spots, which, on their day, boast some of the best sand bottomed barrels in the US mainland.
The regions has played host to a thriving surf community since Duke Kahanamoku first demonstrated the sport to an assembled crowd of hundreds in Atlantic City in 1912. Ever since surfing’s popularity along the cold and densely populated coastline has been booming, producing a steady stream of talented rippers.
Accompanying this enthusiastic bunch of shredders is an immensely talented crop of photographers, who regularly layer up and take to the snow dusted beaches to document days replete with icy brown kegs. We recently caught up with one such lensman, Tim Torchia, to find out more.
Who you are and how you got into shooting?
My Name is Tim Torchia, 42 years old from Monmouth County, New Jersey. As a life long resident living no more than ten minutes from the beach I’ve surfed for years and enjoy spending as much time as possible along the coast. As a kid I had a few cheap film cameras I would use to take photos of friends skateboarding. When digital photography took off I had a few point and shoot cameras and always took photos. In the Spring of 2015, after returning from a trip to Puerto Rico I wanted to do more, so I bought a decent DSLR and taught myself how to shoot action. I spent that summer shooting everything that moved and had my first published surf photo that September. Needless to say I was hooked from there, learning more each month and upgrading my camera quiver as often as possible.
What are the waves like in New Jersey?
AEach season throughout the year is different, based on how the swell is generated, specifically in the Mid-Atlantic region. This past summer, late August into the fall was unbelievable as we had numerous hurricanes that produced continuous swell for months. As we make the transition from the fall into the winter we look for developing south swells along with Nor’Easters that make conditions epic as seen last year with Winter Storm Stella. Pumping tubes are what guys froth over regardless of how cold it gets.
What’s your favourite thing about shooting there?
I enjoy shooting in New Jersey because every swell is different and the landscape changes. At times the beaches are packed with people but for a majority of the time they’re desolate spaces, especially during the off season. When people are around I always try to incorporate them into the photos. During the off months I focus on including some elements of the landscape in my lineup shots, whether it’s jetty rocks, grasses or a part of some other structure.
What is the surf community like?
There is a core group of pros that typically take the spotlight when the surf is pumping. Most of these guys have careers, are family orientated, give back to community, have surf camps and are positive role models for the youth that look up to them. I feel that there has always been a strong community but it’s more out there now with use of social media and public events that highlight our sport. The next event in our area will the “Cold War “, a contest featuring some of the best surfers from the East Coast battling against each other in a two team format for cash, titled “Winter Takes All”. This will be the second running of the event after a successful debut in 2016.
What has been your most memorable moment or session?
I can’t really put a finger on the most memorable session or moment because there have been a few. I honestly go into each session hoping to score at least one sequence that gets me and that surfer excited. I’ve been able to help some guys acquire additional sponsors, obtain features in outlets and provide them with exposure to ultimately further their surfing careers. When that comes together I feel like I have been successful with imagery.