DUMBO — A year ago many people in New York City were evacuating their homes near the water. But Peter Frolich was headed directly towards the shore.
He had been tracking Hurricane Irene from its inception off the coast of Africa, waiting for it to arrive in the city. And a few days before it hit, he rode what he considers the best waves in recent New York history.
He remembers waking up, seeing the size of the surf online, and heading out into the storm.
“They were big and nasty and fantastic,” he said of the breakers that day. “New York City surfers pray for swells like that.”
Frolich is co-owner of the Aegir Boardworks, a new surf shop in DUMBO. Aegir is one of just a handful of surf shops in New York City, and the only one that sells high performance surfboards.
As the first anniversary of Hurricane Irene approaches, Frolich and his business partner, Shaun Tangen, wake every morning to track waves on magicseaweed.com. And when the big ones come, he’ll let his customers, the niche community of New York City surfers, know to grab their boards and head to the beach.
“We’re probably the only group of people who look forward to hurricane season,” he said of the local surf community. “It brings the best waves.”
Frolich sees the same people on the water most mornings. They get to know each other as they line up and wait for waves. Although the community is small, according to Frolich, it is definitely growing.
In fact, last year New York hosted the East Coast's first professional world tour competition in the wake of Hurricane Irene. The world’s best surfers descended upon Long Beach as thousands of spectators crowded the beach for a glimpse.
And Frolich believes that Aegir is well placed to meet the growing demand for surf gear, as New York becomes a destination for the high-adrenaline sport.