Spring Lake May 2024

Page 1

Spring Lake

Also Serving Sea Girt


Volunteers The Heart of the Race

May 2024

As a realtor and local resident I offer all my clients a high level of expertise, knowledge and confidentiality for both buyers and sellers. My years on Wall Street allow me to negotiate confidently on your behalf and my expertise in design, renovation and custom home building will assist in your acquisition of the perfect seaside home for your family.

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4 | SPRING LAKE Contents MAY 2024 FEATURES 12 Volunteers: The Heart of the Race We’re turning the spotlight on the hundreds of volunteers who make the Spring Lake Five a huge success each year. 16 The Wipeout Seen Around the World On December 18, 2023, New Jersey was hit by the biggest surf of the century. Nobody got a closer look than Brendan Tighe. IN EVERY ISSUE 6 Publisher’s Note 8 Dining Guide GRAB A BITE CLOSE TO HOME 10 Local Tastes RED-HOT SPANISH WINES 22 Life Outdoors GARDENING, ELEVATED 26 Book Nook START YOUR SUMMER READING 28 Better Living HIGH-TECH DISHWASHERS 30 Home Front PERFECT OUTDOOR FURNITURE 32 Photo Op HONORING THE BRAVE ON THE COVER
left: Tom Burrus, Michele Degnan-Spang, Luann McGraw, Walter MacGowan and Patty McBride Burrus
longtime committee heads
the Spring Lake Five.
16 12 10 22
2.08% 4.76% Spring Lake Sea Girt Months Supply Median Sales Price Median List Price Days On Market YTD 2024 YTD 2023 YTD 2024 YTD 2024 4.29 2.55 68.24% $3.16 mil $3.29 mil 4.15% $3.04 mil $1.67mil 49 DOM 48 DOM 2.11 2.89 26.99% $3.52 mil $3.27mil 7.65% $2.59mil $2.30 mil 12.64% 22 DOM 21 DOM Realtor®-Broker-Associate Office: 732-867-8617 Cell: 908-814-1690 heatherarchercoastalnjhomes.com 1218 3rd Ave, Spring Lake, NJ 07762 Want a more in depth analysis of where your home stands in today’s market? Call me today at 908.814.1690 to schedule a complimentary no pressure consultation. 82.12% Would you like to start receiving a monthly market report for your neighborhood? Scan the QR Code for your town to register! Spring Lake Sea Girt

Publisher’s Note

Dear readers,

May is a special time in Spring Lake and Sea Girt—it feels like the world wakes up and the sun shines on us all. I hope everyone has a wonderful Mother’s Day weekend. This month’s issue is special, as we are featuring an organization that is important to my own mom, the Spring Lake Five committee. For as long as I can remember, she has been waking up long before dawn on Memorial Day Saturday to prepare for The Race. The volunteers work so hard for the year before the race, we wanted to be sure to give them a

shout-out and honor them for all their behind-the-scenes hard work.

This month, as you prepare your garden, consider building a raised bed with the help of Mike Laracy’s tips in our Life Outdoors section. We also have compiled a dining guide for you and hope it comes in handy over the next couple of months as everyone emerges from their winter hibernation to explore the shore area.

This past month, I was contacted by so many readers to offer story ideas or send photos and let us know how much the magazine means to them and their families. It has been so nice to chat and connect. The content we publish is for you and we deeply appreciate the feedback! I would love to invite readers to submit their summer memories for a future story. If you would like to participate, please email me at editorial@springlakemagazine.com. As we gather this month to celebrate Mother’s Day, the kickoff to summer, the Spring Lake Five and the opening of the beaches, let’s pause to remember and honor the brave men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice in service to our country. We hope you have a wonderful May.


Spring Lake MAGAZINE

Editor & Publisher

Brynn Coleman

Group Publisher

Jodi Bruker

Art Director

Sue Park

Copy Editor

Nancy Fass


Kate Czyzewski

Cynthia A. Murray

Judith Jones Ambrosini

Michelle Garay

Jay Russell

Chris Baldi

Lead Photographer and

Editorial Coordinator

Michelle Wolfe


Michael Scotto

Vinnie Dicks



Carroll V. Dowden

President and CEO

Mark Dowden

VP, Group Publisher, Regional

Thomas Flannery

VP, Content Strategy

Maria Regan

Creative Director

Kijoo Kim

Advertising Services Director

Jacquelynn Fischer

Operations Director

Catherine Rosario

Production Designer

Chris Ferrante

Print Production Manager

Fern Meshulam

Advertising Production Associate

Griff Dowden

Spring Lake magazine is published by Wainscot Media. Serving residents of Spring Lake and Sea Girt, the magazine is distributed monthly via U.S. mail. Articles and advertisements contained herein do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the publishers. Copyright 2024 by Wainscot Media LLC. No portion of this magazine may be reproduced in any form without written consent.

Transform Your Home’s

Drab Exterior into a Stunning Masterpiece

Are you tired of your home’s outdated and lackluster appearance? Do you cringe at the thought of its worn-out siding, dated colors, and drafty windows?

You’re not alone. Many Spring Lake homeowners find themselves frustrated with the dull façade of their aging properties and wish they knew how to get started on a modern and stylish upgrade. Right now, let’s co-imagine how refreshing your siding, windows, and doors could impact how you feel about your home.

A House Isn’t Just a House

It’s something much deeper. Your home’s exterior reflects your personality. Its character and charm should give you a sense of pride when sipping a glass of wine on your front porch or hosting a birthday celebration or barbeque on your back deck. It should be a canvas for the memories you create and the moments you cherish with loved ones. That’s why it is essential to invest in a design that resonates with your tastes and enhances your everyday experiences.

Higher Resale Value

A siding makeover isn’t only a cosmetic upgrade; it’s a wise financial decision. While other home interior improvements might seem tempting, a siding replacement consistently offers substantial returns. According to Remodeling Magazine’s “Cost vs. Value” Report, siding replacement is among

the most cost-effective renovations. In the mid-Atlantic region, homeowners typically see a significant increase in property value—up to $18,366 for siding replacements. Our customers in New Jersey often experience even higher appraised values, ranging from $20,000 to $30,000, thanks to our meticulous craftsmanship and attention to detail.

Procrastination Costs

If you delay a kitchen remodel for a year, you will likely pay a slightly higher price based on the cost of materials and labor. Worn siding, however, can create hazards that go far beyond aesthetics.  We’ve seen this time and time again. If you delay a siding replacement for a year, and you have an unidentified leak, you could end up with extensive damage due to mold, rot, and pests, resulting in higher repair or replacement costs and risks to your family’s health and wellbeing.

Love the House You Live In

Reach out to B&B Siding and Roofing for a consultation. Our expert advisors are here to co-imagine your unique vision and turn your house into the envy of the neighborhood.

Patrycja’s core focus is to elevate the home exterior industry to a style-guided experience where our advisors work with you to co-imagine your dream exterior. She inspires our design team to discover and incorporate the latest style trends while honoring timeless remodeling approaches. She is the voice of the customer, drawing on our core values of transparency, integrity, and lasting quality.

Over the last 30 years, we have transformed over 5,000 homes with siding, roofing, windows, and doors and have earned hundreds of 5-star reviews. We offer $0 down financing and industry-leading lifetime material and labor warranties.

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Patrycja Maras Owner B&B Siding and Roofing

Grab a Bite Close to Home


Fratello’s Italian Restaurant & Lounge

810 The Plaza, Sea Girt (732) 974-8833

Italian fixture in Sea Girt with a wide-ranging menu of steaks, seafood, and wines. Early bird dining is available every day.

www.fratellosnj.com @fratellosrestaurant

Harrigan’s Pub

703 Baltimore Boulevard (732) 449-8228

Neighborhood Irish pub offering over 25 craft beers and happy hour specials. Give the house-specialty Sizzling Sliced Steak Sandwich a try the next time you pop in.

www.harriganspub.com @harrigans.pub

Little Dom’s

529 Washington Boulevard, Sea Girt (732) 449-2917

A new bring-your-own spot, where traditional family recipes take form through pizza, pasta, and more. Perfect for informal dining or takeout!


Ray’s Cafe

523 Washington Boulevard, Sea Girt 732-449-1717

Cozy atmosphere serving classic breakfast and lunch favorites. Blueberry pancakes are a can’t-miss!

www.rayscafenj.com @rayscafe

Rod’s Tavern

507 Washington Boulevard (732) 449-2020

Channeling a refined seaside energy throughout, Rod’s is a friendly, indoor-outdoor place for all. Find an escape on the expansive deck or within one of its two bar areas.

www.rodstavernnj.com @rodstavern

Scarborough Fair Restaurant 1414 Meetinghouse Rd, Sea Girt (732) 223-6658

A former working farmhouse, Scarborough Fair’s captivating atmosphere is great for romantic date nights and casual gatherings alike.

www.sfseagirt.com scarboroughfairnj


Amelia’s By The Sea 1505 Ocean Avenue, Spring Lake (732) 769-5700

Situated inside the Grand Victorian Hotel, Amelia’s By The Sea pairs fine dining with Atlantic Ocean views. The intimate space is a great venue for a variety of celebrations, too.

www.ameliasbythesea.com @ameliasbythesea

Dune Donuts and Bagels 1408 3rd Avenue, Spring Lake (732) 359-8000

Freshly made every morning, Dune’s mini donuts are a sweet treat to always be welcomed. Don’t overlook the breakfast sandwiches, or the opportunity to have one delivered to the beach by Dune’s branded buggy! www.dunedonuts.com @dunedonuts

Honey Berry Cafe 1321 3rd Avenue, Spring Lake (732) 359-7700

Lively downtown cafe for breakfast and lunch. From Morning Classics to The Benedicts, there’s something for everyone at Honey Berry. www.honeyberrynj.com @honeyberrynj

The Sea Crest Grille 700 NJ-71, Spring Lake (732) 449-3666

The comfortably modern dining room is only the starting place for an excellent evening at The Sea Crest Grill. Pro tip: start your meal off with the Calamares Fritos. www.seacrestgrille.com @theseacrestgrillenj

Spring Lake Seafood 1300 3rd Avenue, Spring Lake (732) 449-4233

A vibrant, seaside-inspired destination that provides guests with fresh, sustainably sourced fish. The sushi menu is worth the exploration! www.slsnj.com @springlakeseafood

Spring Lake Tap House 810 NJ-71, Spring Lake (732) 282-1530

Spring Lake Tap House adds a dose of modernity to the typical sports bar. You’ll want to pencil in weekend brunch plans here!

www.springlaketaphouse.com @sltaphouse

Tom Bailey’s Market 1323 3rd Ave, Spring Lake (732) 282-0920

A New York-style deli in the heart of Spring Lake. Whether it’s a sandwich or full-service catering you’re after, Tom Bailey’s is the onestop shop for it all. www.tombaileysmarket.com @tombaileysmarket

The Sea Crest Grille

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Red-Hot Spanish Wines

Trending bottles from this classic growing region offer both high quality and outstanding value.

Spain is definitely having a moment. Whether it is a pure, lovely Rioja red, a racy, dry Basque white or a Champagneinspired Cava, Spanish wines are of the highest quality and authenticity in today’s wine market.

At the same time, Spain continues to produce some of the greatest values in the world, just as it did when we were growing up. So why are Spanish wines so good right now? Here are three reasons.

A return to roots: The Rioja region has always been the most renowned for reds, followed by Ribera del Duero and Toro. The classic style is one of finesse, balance, silky textures, red fruits and flowers. At one point, there

was a shift to bigger, bolder, heavier reds—and higher prices. In the last three to five years, we have:

• Seen more wineries go back to their roots of elegant reds

• Discovered a new crop of artisan organic estates making delicious, fresh reds and not caring so much about reviews

• Seen prices become super reasonable with cool wines in the $15 to $20 range and very impressive wines in the $25 to $50 range.

Great, inexpensive whites: For years we’ve been saying that unoaked whites will become more popular, and Spanish whites like albariño are perfect for this trend. Everybody loves Sancerre (unoaked sauvignon

blanc) and Chablis (minerally chardonnay), but everybody also loves a bargain. Spain gives you that.

The best whites can be found for under $25, and you can even stumble onto an elusive $9.99-er with character. Lately we’ve been vibing on a txakoli made by a woman winemaker with green pear, lemon and saline notes. Even Cameron Diaz is producing an organic, no-sugaradded white from Spain under her Avaline label.

Bubbles: We cannot live without them. Fresh, fun, palate-tickling…who doesn’t love Champagne? Our first instinct is always to tell prosecco lovers about cava from Spain. Years ago, we curated an


• Viña Ardanza Rioja Reserva

• Marques de Murrieta Rioja Reserva

• Arizcuren Rioja Gatún

• Chatxo Rioja

• Pingus ‘Psi’ Ribera del Duero

• Fariña Lagrima Toro

• Zuri Txakoli

• Paco & Lola Albariño

• Marqués de Cáceres Verdejo

• Yá! Cava Brut Reserva

organic, vintage-dated, nosugar-added cava for just $19.99 and have turned legions of bubbly lovers onto it.

If you prefer French Champagne, there are really well-made, fascinating cava wines at higher price points. Made just outside of Barcelona in Penedès, cava wines are dry, crisp and simply wonderful. Spring and summer are around the corner—it’s time to celebrate!

Cynthia A. Murray is co-owner of The Bottle Shop, a second-generation wine and spirit merchant in Spring Lake.

Winemaker Javier Arizcuren harvests his old-vine, organic grapes.
Experience matters!
previous banking experience, talent
stress-free transaction. A
dedicated to her community and clients.
worldwide. Susan
Coldwell Banker Realty Susan Bastardo Realtor Associate, SRES C: 732.245.5848 | NJShoreEstates.com Spring Lake Office: 732.449.2777 1122 Third Ave., Spring Lake, NJ 07762 susan.bastardo@cbmoves.com 2023 Client Testimonial- ”You’re the best realtor on the planet!” Coldwell-Bastardo_1-3SQ_SL_0524_GD.indd 1 4/15/24 2:11 PM AVAILABLE FOR PRIVATE PARTY CRUISES Welcome Aboard the All New 85’ QUEEN MARY! Fishing Daily 6:30 am - 1:30 pm FRIDAY & SATURDAY LIVE MUSIC SUNSET CRUISES 6:00 - 9:00 PM Family Atmosphere Separate Restrooms Large Comfortable Cabin Spacious Sun Deck Rods | Tackle Fish Cleaning Services Docked at Spike’s Fishery | 415 Broadway | Point Pleasant Beach 732-899-3766 www.NJQUEENMARY.com Voted#1 onthe JerseyShore QueenMary_1.3S_MB_0723_GDrev2.indd 1 4/8/24 12:51 PM Become a contributing writer or photographer for Spring Lake magazine. Get in Here! Also Serving Sea Girt Spring Lake To contribute, contact Brynn Coleman at Brynn.Coleman@springlakemagazine.com or 908-472-3384.
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The Heart of the Race

While runners get most of the attention on race day, we’re turning the spotlight on the hundreds of volunteers who make the Spring Lake Five a huge success each year.


The Spring Lake Five is an event that commands attention. It is one of the largest 5-mile road races in the country, with more than 12,000 registrants. Whether you’re participating in the race or simply there to witness its grandeur, the smooth execution of the event is apparent to all. This is in large part due to the efforts of hundreds of volunteers who work diligently at the start and finish and along the course. What often escapes notice is

the immense yearlong effort invested behind the scenes in the lead-up to race weekend.

Working alongside race director Ed Hale is a core group of 40 to 50 volunteers, collectively known as “the committee.” Arriving predawn on race day, each committee member demonstrates unwavering commitment, rain or shine. Members serve on one, if not multiple, subcommittees responsible for various aspects of the race. Whether

it’s managing food and drink, coordinating entertainment along the course, overseeing race merchandise or handling shirt pick-ups in the weeks before the event, there’s a dedicated committee for every task. Some committees are comprised of a handful of individuals, while others demand a larger team effort.

The Kids Race, which is held the evening prior, numbers more than a thousand participants, so it has its own committee.

MAY 2024 | 13
Volunteers at the start of the race in 2014.

Kicking off Summer

Some committee members have been involved for most of their lives. Tom Burrus, Trustee of the Board, with about 40 years under his belt, views the race as the start of summer. “I truly enjoy the camaraderie of working together to provide the best experience for the runners as we kick off summer in Spring Lake,” he says. He recalls one rainy race day in the 1980s when the crew comically walked the t-shirt tent up the street to the Boyan’s annual Memorial Day party to shield them from the rain.

Outside of being the official start of summer for Spring Lake, the race raises money for many causes. Patty McBride Burrus has been involved for 27 years, serving as a trustee for the last 22 years. “I love that the race gives all net proceeds to deserving charities in our area,” she says. “We have donated more than $2.2 million to charities in Monmouth County. It is a wonderful feeling to be a part of a group that makes a difference in so many lives.”

There are many types of volunteers for the race. The “committee” dressed in the red on race day is one, but there are dozens of local high school students who do lots of heavy lifting the night prior and the morning of the race. There are also race-day volunteers, local scout troops, church groups and many other groups that organize and set up water tables along the race course.

In addition, many spectators can be viewed as volunteers as well! Residents have become known for their contributions to the race, whether it be a nice cold sprinkler or a blast of Bruce Springsteen as runners turn a corner. Everyone contributes!

Train station volunteers, race day volunteers and committee members over the years have all contributed greatly to the overall success of the race.

One vital committee focuses on liaising with the borough regarding logistics, coordinating with police, first aid teams, borough workers and security personnel. This includes collaboration with state police and Homeland Security to ensure a safe environment for all. The security committee shoulders a significant responsibility, deploying measures such as blocking access roads with army trucks and implementing stringent safety checks, overseen by agencies ranging from Homeland Security to the local police department led by Chief Ed Kerr.

Clockwork Cleanup

Once the main event is over, one of the most remarkable facets of race day is the swift post-event cleanup. Despite catering to roughly 10,000 finishers, the race typically concludes by 11:30 a.m., allowing Ocean Avenue to reopen and the holiday weekend to commence.

As special as the race is to the runners and spectators, it is just as memorable and exciting for the volunteers to see their yearlong efforts come to fruition. Michele Degnan-Spang, who has more than 15 years on the committee, says, “One of my favorite parts is the half-

hour leading up to the start when runners line up. For some it’s their first race, for others, one of many; either way, there is nothing like the excitement and energy you feel from this group.”

The exhilaration of the Spring Lake Five doesn’t start on race day itself; it begins long before— committee meetings for the next year’s race starting as early as June.

At a post-race general meeting, committee heads present summaries of their responsibilities, highlighting any challenges they encountered. In turn, subcommittees begin meeting independently to initiate planning, coinciding with the commencement of monthly general committee meetings around the start of the year.

Even with this gargantuan effort, does everything run perfectly on race day? Certainly not. However, Ed Hale and his team have mastered the art of troubleshooting on the go, adjusting and improving each year so the tradition of The Spring Lake Five is upheld for future generations.

Jay Russell, a retired committee member and current race day volunteer, has been involved with the race for more than 40 years.
MAY 2024 | 15
Teen volunteers, department heads and committee members all play an integral role in making sure race weekend runs smoothly.

The Wipeout Seen Around the World

Dave Nilsen took the now-iconic shot of Brendan Tigue’s epic wipeout, which went viral within hours.

On December 18, 2023, New Jersey was hit by the biggest surf of the century. Nobody got a closer look than Brendan Tighe.

By now, just about every surfer in the state of New Jersey, along with millions of people around the world, has seen the image of Brendan Tighe’s wipeout. It’s an image that instantly went viral: Tighe in his wetsuit, perched atop a wave two stories high, arms outstretched as his board slips away from him. Almost everybody who sees it has the same two initial reactions: “That can’t be New Jersey.” (It was.) And “Did he survive?” (He did.)

Tighe is alive and well, but the story behind Dave Nilsen’s photograph and the details of that epic storm are still being told. Within hours of that picture being taken, Tighe was contacted by Surfline, CBS News, News 12 and countless friends and family members. Back in December, Tighe was politely guarded about what he told people. The truth was scarier than he initially let on. This is the complete story of his Big Monday.

The Swell of the Century December 18, 2023: A lowpressure system that originated in the Gulf of Mexico was intensifying as it moved up the East Coast, where it encountered an exceptionally powerful high-pressure ridge over the Atlantic. The result was the biggest surf that New Jersey

had seen in decades, according to just about every metric.

One of those metrics is the Delaware Bay buoy, found 26 nautical miles southeast of Cape May, used by experts to gauge swell height and wave direction.

“Only a handful of days on the Delaware Bay buoy registered a wave height exceeding 6.3 meters, and that record goes back to the 1980s,” says Surfline’s Vice President of Forecasting Kurt Korte. “There was only one swell bigger than Monday’s combined peak of 6.3 meters at 15 seconds: January 1992.”

Ocean City’s Rob Kelly, a three-time state champion professional surfer, put it more simply: “These were the biggest, heaviest waves I’ve ever surfed in New Jersey.”

Across the Jersey Shore, waves were breaking as far as a half-mile out to sea, with 40 to 50 mph offshore winds— conditions that made surfing virtually impossible at most beaches. By mid-morning, conditions at Bay Head and Mantoloking were slightly cleaner than other breaks, and even then, the massive waves were only borderline rideable. Most surfers stayed out of the water. Only the toughest and most skilled attempted to paddle out, as hundreds watched from the beach.

MAY 2024 | 17

A Wall of Water Tighe, 33, of Point Pleasant Beach, has been surfing since he was eight years old. Before getting his real estate license, he was a professional surf instructor with Summertime Surf School for fifteen years. He’s not flashy or fame hungry; he’s a guy who simply loves the sport.

“I’m not one to go search for where the photographers are shooting,” says Tighe. “I put my ego in my pocket a long time ago. I do it for myself, and my mentality has always been to find the black double-ups; the biggest, hollowest, most dangerous barrels around, whether they’re closing out

or not. Even if nine out of ten waves are unmakeable, that’s my heaven.”

Tighe hit the swell of the century riding his 6’4” quad fin Rozbern. The power and velocity of the swell was unlike anything he’d ever seen in New Jersey.

“The waves resembled a break called Puerto Escondido that I’d only seen in Mexico,” he says. With one big difference: The ocean temperature in Bay Head on December 18 was 47 degrees.

He’d been in the water for less than a half-hour when that two-story wall of water began taking shape.

“What I look for in a wave is a clean

runway. And that wave had drawn all the energy off of the smaller wave that came before it. If you look at the first frame of that video sequence, there’s so much water drawing up the face, it looks like it’s going to be one of the best waves of my life. It just all changed in the second and third frame to a completely unmakeable wave.”

Tighe paddled into the wave, but when he stood up to make the drop, the wind held him back. He tried to jump straight down, in a maneuver that he has used many times before: Pencil diving to the ocean floor and then kicking off the bottom once the wave has rolled past.

Pencil Dive, Foiled

“I was trying to execute that pencil dive, but my board got stuck in the lip of the wave. The wave pulled my board so hard that it snapped my leash, and the force of that snap sent the trajectory of my body sideways. At first I didn’t penetrate the water; the momentum just whipped my body and smacked my head across the surface.”

As the wave closed out around him, Tighe’s body was so out of control that he couldn’t feel his limbs. For a few terrifying moments, he thought he was paralyzed. His board was already long gone, creased at the middle, missing a fin, flailing behind the crashing wave.

When Tighe finally recovered the use of his legs and found the surface, the next twenty-footer crashed down on top of him. He estimates that he took another four waves on the head while the current swept him about 200 yards.

Tighe finally made land near the first Bay Head jetty, and eventually collapsed on the beach. The whole session had lasted a little over 30 minutes. He returned to his truck and stared at the steering wheel for about 40 minutes.

At this point, Tighe’s phone was already ringing. Word of the wipeout had reached his wife, Kerry. “Two or three of my friends had called her to check on me after they saw me crossing the beach with my eyes glazed over.”

Tighe didn’t want to alarm his family, so he glossed over certain details in his initial accounts. In reality, he was suffering from a minor concussion and a significant case of whiplash. “Over the next few weeks, I had eight visits to a chiropractor trying to get my neck back in place.”

Top: Surfer Tommy Ihnken, awed by the massive swell. Bottom: Brendan Tighe: “I went from being non-existent on social media and not using my phone to getting 500 calls a day.” (Photograph courtesy of Brendan Tighe.)

The View From the Sand

Dave Nilsen spent about an hour shooting pictures from the Mount Street beach, near the intersection of Bay Head and Mantoloking. In that hour, he saw only one or two successful rides in between a lot of vicious close outs. “After all the videos came out, there were maybe three or four guys the whole day who actually made waves and came out of the barrel without getting closed out.”

As Nilsen was shooting, the water was getting dangerously shallow. “By the time Brendan went for that wave, the tide had gotten so low that the waves were standing straight up. Some of the guys who made the drop, I couldn’t believe they even attempted it because it was so vertical.”

Nilsen has been shooting surf photography since 2009 but had never seen a swell that size in Bay Head. “Brendan’s wave was just gigantic. One of the biggest waves I’ve ever seen in New Jersey. I’ve never seen Bay Head get that big and actually clean up.”

Higher Power

Prior to The Swell of the Century, Tighe hadn’t been in the water for about three months. For the preceding 30 days, he’d

been off the grid on a mental health break. He hadn’t used his phone, looked at social media or checked the surf report for a solid month.

When he finally returned to the grid and clicked on Surfline, he was stunned to see the next day’s forecast calling for 20-to-25-foot waves.

“I spent 30 days with no phone, working out every day, and I came back in the best place of my life. When I saw that forecast, I said, ‘I’m gonna get the biggest heaviest wave and get the barrel of my life. My higher power had other ideas and said, ‘Nope, you’re gonna eat shit from the top of a two-story building, and then I’m gonna put you on CBS.’”

The photo went viral within hours. Tighe was inundated with messages from friends, family and news outlets. “I went from being non-existent on social media and not using my phone to getting 500 calls a day. My phone was literally dying from everybody calling.”

In a few short days, Tighe’s image was viewed millions of times across various formats. For years, he had been known around the Jersey Shore as a guy with nerves of steel; now the entire worldwide surfing community learned his name.

But in private, a conversation with his wife would change his entire approach to surfing.

“After that day, Kerry said to me, ‘please stop looking for the black double ups.’ And her words really hit me. I’ve gotten pretty good at wiping out over the years, and I’ve learned to fall with control. But that wave opened my eyes.”

The Swell of the Century was followed by a series of smaller, more manageable swells. Tighe made a full recovery and returned to surfing regularly.

But ever since that record-breaking Monday in December, he’s become more selective about the waves he chases. He still lives for a good storm, but he’s more focused on his professional career than ever before and was recently named the top producing local realtor with Keller Williams. Most importantly, he never hits the water without thinking of his wife and children.

“I still hunt the crazy double-ups,” he says, “but only if they have an exit. I have a beautiful family that I want to come home to.”

Christopher Baldi is the editor of Manasquan + Brielle magazine.
MAY 2024 | 19
Brendan Tighe, seen here in Mantoloking in 2017, in the pocket of a slightly more manageable swell.
Untitled-4 1 4/4/24 3:40 PM MICHELLE WOLFE PHOTOGRAPHY Family |  Lifestyle |  Celebrations |  Branding |  Headshots www.michellewolfephotography.com | michelle@michellewolfephotography.com | 917.558.3923
1 2/9/24 11:12 AM

Gardening, Elevated

Plant lover Mike Laracy specializes in raised beds that enhance beauty and abundance.


Mike Laracy has held various roles throughout his career, including his work as Assistant Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Human Services and with the Annie E. Casey Foundation. He and his wife, Eileen, lived in the historic Harbourton Village Store before moving to Spring Lake in 2019.

In Spring Lake, Laracy chairs the Shade Tree Committee and indulges his passion for gardening, which stems from childhood.

He builds raised beds and greenhouse enclosures for growing vegetables, herbs and flowers. He also enjoys experimenting with different seed varieties each season, with staples including tomatoes, beans, peas and specialty vegetables.

Painterly Beauty

Laracy’s garden is a vibrant display of color and texture, featuring a sunflower garden reminiscent of a Van Gogh painting. He is also involved in the Garden Club of Spring Lake, serving as co-vice president and soon-to-be copresident alongside Joan Reil.

The Spring Lake Seaside Garden Tour, including Laracy’s garden, will take place on June 26. Visitors can experience the beauty of his organic garden and perhaps find inspiration for their own gardening endeavors.

Laracy continues to be an active member of the Spring Lake community, dedicated to cultivating enchanting gardens and fostering a love of nature.

Judith Jones-Ambrosini is a journalist, author and chef—and a new raised bed gardener.


Follow these simple steps from Mike Laracy to create your own raised bed for cultivating a variety of homegrown produce.

• Start with a manageable-sized raised bed such as 4 feet by 4 feet or 4 feet by 8 feet, and a depth of 12 inches to 18 inches.

• Use a mix of high-quality potting soil and garden soil.

• Opt for vertical-growing veggies such as pole beans, peas and staked tomatoes to save space.

• Choose flavorful vegetables such as tomatoes, lettuces, peas and potatoes.

• Plant two or three crops per year, starting with early spring items such as lettuce, peas and broccoli, then transitioning to summer and fall plants like tomatoes and peppers.

• For more advice, read “All New Square Foot Gardening” by Mel Bartholomew.

MAY 2024 | 23
Mike Laracy’s plots will be among the stops in this year’s Spring Lake Seaside Garden Tour.





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Start Your Summer Reading

Thunder Road Books recommends these noteworthy books to kick off the season.

“May is the month of promise and the sweet beginnings of summer.”

- Unknown

We couldn’t agree more! This month begins the unofficial kickoff to summer, and these books will have you beach-ready in no time.



By Mary Kay Andrews

We are kicking off summer with Mary Kay Andrews as she visits Thunder Road Books on May 18. Her latest book is a second-chance romance mixed with mystery that tells the story of a widow who restores an old hotel to glory and, in doing so, unearths scandal from long ago.


By Jessie Rosen

Books whose characters have a strong bond with their grandmothers?

Sign us up! Shea Anderson’s beloved Nonna had endless rules for a happy, healthy life: Avoid owls, never put a hat on a bed and never accept

a marriage proposal that comes with an heirloom ring. When Shea’s boyfriend proposes with an heirloom ring, Shea is determined to find the original owners, beginning an adventure that takes her from Los Angeles and New York to Italy and Portugal. The perfect travel companion for summer! Jessie Rosen visits Thunder Road on May 16.


By Simon Van Booey

In 2022, I was skeptical about reading “Remarkably Bright Creatures,” as the premise didn’t immediately sell me. Boy, was I wrong; it was my book of the year. I have been looking for a book to give me that feeling again, and “Sipsworth” is it. Taking place over one week’s time, a woman who is ready to die discovers a reason to keep going. After the loss of her husband and son, she retreats into her home, but one night an abandoned pet mouse she finds on the street strikes an unlikely friendship with her. Simon Van Booey visits Thunder Road Books on June 12.



By Eric Jay Dolan

We can’t get enough of maritime adventures! Last year’s “The Wager” burst onto the book scene and was a runaway nonfiction hit. “Left for Dead” is similar. It’s the true story of five castaways abandoned for over a year on the Falkland Islands during the War of 1812—a tale of treachery, shipwreck, isolation and the desperate struggle for survival. It’s a perfect read for history connoisseurs.


Just reading the title of this memoir reminded me that there is no better love than the love of your friends, especially your girlfriends. Author Dancyger had a cousin who made her feel this way. Unfortunately, this cousin was tragically murdered. After this loss, Dancyger held her female friendships closer than ever. The relationships she had into adulthood—as well as the influences of literature and pop culture—have shaped her worldviews.

Katherine Czyzewski is the events and store manager at Thunder Road Books.
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High-Tech Dishwashers Offer High Value

Advancing technology has transformed dishwashers from simple appliances to sophisticated machines that promise spotless dishes, more convenience and less environmental impact.

Today, upgrading your kitchen with a new dishwasher goes beyond merely picking a model that fits your space. You’ll have the opportunity to select from a range of impressive features, sizes and energy efficiency ratings. And, you’ll be able to choose a dishwasher that matches your home’s aesthetic and meets your lifestyle requirements.

High-Tech Evolution

Today’s dishwashers are designed with user experience at the forefront. Brands like Bosch, GE, Whirlpool, Frigidaire and Samsung lead the way, offering models that boast up to eight wash

cycles for varying degrees of soiling, energysaving modes to reduce electricity and water usage, and quiet operation technologies to minimize noise. Adjustable racks and zones for intensive cleaning allow for flexible loading, while sensor technology assesses dirt levels to optimize cycle settings, ensuring effective cleaning with minimal resources.

Seamless Integration

These modern appliances are engineered for seamless integration into kitchen workflows, boasting features that promote efficiency and ease of use. These dishwashers offer flexible installation options, including builtin, portable or freestanding, and drawer

designs, to optimize kitchen space. Most built-in and freestanding models are 24” wide, 24” deep and 35” high, while more compact models are 18” wide. Their capacity is tailored to meet diverse needs, while panel-ready options ensure seamless integration into the cabinetry.

Eco-Friendly and Economical

The latest dishwasher models boast impressive energy efficiency, meeting—or even exceeding—Energy Star standards, which can significantly reduce electricity usage and lower utility bills. Innovations like soil sensors adjust water and energy use based on the load’s dirtiness, ensuring optimal cleaning without waste. Efficient drying technologies like CrystalDry and Zeolite eliminate steam quickly and dry faster, further contributing to their ecofriendly credentials.

Enhanced Usability

As technology advances, so do the capabilities of dishwashers. Options now include controlling and monitoring via smart devices, voice assistance, load sensing, leak detection and prevention, and customizable cycles. Those features add up to unprecedented convenience. From starting a cycle while away from home to receiving maintenance reminders, the integration of smart technology enhances the user experience and ensures the longevity of the appliance.

The perfect dishwasher is an investment in the kitchen’s functionality. With these guidelines, your choice will prove that modern convenience and sustainability can indeed go hand in hand.

Daniel Kraftmann is chief marketing officer at Town Appliance, a leading retailer of luxury and ordinary appliance brands. Visit Town Appliance at 10 S. Clifton Ave. in Lakewood or online at www.townappliance.com.

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Finding Perfect Outdoor Furniture

These expert tips can help you tailor your space to both the elements and your personal style.

When it comes to outdoor furniture, the right choice can transform your space into a sanctuary of comfort and style. Here’s a comprehensive guide to help you navigate the process and find furniture that seamlessly integrates with your home.

Consider the environment: Living near the shore can significantly impact the durability of outdoor furniture. The salty air, strong winds and sunny summers of Spring Lake’s climate can take a toll. Opt for materials like marine-grade polymer, ipe wood,

aluminum and Sunbrella fabric, known for their resilience in these conditions. Investing in products designed to withstand the elements year-round can save you the hassle of replacements.

Think about functionality: Consider how you intend to use your outdoor space. Whether you’re entertaining, enjoying family dinners, lounging by the pool or cozying up around a fire pit, think about the number of people you expect to accommodate, the amount of shade required and the available space. Choose designs that meet your needs while maximizing functionality.

Reflect your style: Express your personal style with a variety of materials, from classic wicker and timeless wood to sleek metal, available in vibrant finishes and fabrics. Coordinate your furniture choices with the colors of your landscaping, the architecture of your home or the theme of your outdoor decor for a cohesive look.

Try before you buy: Take the time to sit in the furniture and feel its texture to ensure it meets your comfort standards. Visiting a local showroom such as Fitness Lifestyles allows you to assess different options firsthand. Plus, relying on a dependable local provider offers the convenience of delivery, installation and ongoing customer support.

By following these guidelines, you can confidently select furniture that not only withstands saltwater living but also enhances the beauty and functionality of your outdoor living space. Make your home the ultimate destination for relaxation, entertainment and cherished moments with loved ones.

Established in 1984 by Spring Lake resident Leo Clark, Fitness Lifestyles is a familyrun hub for fitness gear and outdoor furniture, designed for longevity. Call them at 732-775-1630 or email Liz Clark for a free in-home consultation: liz@fitnesslifestyles.com.


A sea of flags lines the Sea Girt boardwalk in this photograph by Vincent Dicks, paying tribute to those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our nation. As we gather to remember and reflect on Memorial Day, let us never forget these veterans’ courage and commitment, and the enduring spirit of freedom they defended. Have

Honoring the Brave
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