While I was in Montauk I got to meet up with local slider babe Jamie and go for a little sunrise session. I know Jamie through our mutual friend, Quincy Davis, another Montauk-native and badass surfer babe. Jamie was born and raised in Montauk and seen all the crazy changes in her hometown. During the summer months she moves into the trailer park on the beach and works at the Ditch Witch [usually 6-7 days a week.]
I think it is important to recognize the locals anywhere you go. It can be so easy to visit a place and fail to recognize the community around us. We just want to surf their waves, drink their coffee, party at their bars, use their natural spaces, than leave and say we had a great time [taking photos and sharing it with the world the whole time.] But Billabong Australia was cool enough to give us the opportunity to share from a local's perspective.
If you don't know anything about Montauk it has become a bit of a playground for New Yorkers in the summer time. Situated at the east end of Long Island it used to be overlooked by most who were headed to the Hampton's. Although Montauk used to be a blue collar fishing town [and a lot of residents still remain the same] there has been a wave of the New York Hamptons scene sweeping into the community. And by sweeping.. I mean overrun by a madhouse of people looking to unleash their city-dwelling torment and consume as much alcohol [and drugs] every weekend from Memorial Day to Labor Day. So you can imagine the kind of town it has become..
I sat down with Jamie [kind of.. we texted back and forth but I thought "sat down" sounded better] and got to hear a little bit about her story. *Special note: Some of the Q&A still need to be filled in.. but due to time sake.. they haven't been answered yet. And this kinda needed to be posted! Terrible, yeah? So stay tuned for additional insight but until then:
LS: What makes Montauk so special?
JS: Whether you are from Montauk, visited once, or spend summers there, it is clear that Montauk is an extremely special place. Growing up in this little beach town was the best! Its hard to say specific things that make Montauk special, and I think this is because it special to each person for different reasons. To me, Montauk is where I was raised; it’s where I met all of my closest friends; and it is where some of my favorite memories were made
LS: Describe the perfect day in your hometown.
JS: The perfect day in Montauk would most likely take place in the summer and involve a bunch of friends, tons of beach time, and lots of running in and out of the water surfing. Of course there would have to be an afternoon tubing session which would automatically lead to laughs for the people on the boat and bruises and soar bodies for the people on the tube! After boating, it would only be right to load everyone into the car and head to the Montauket to watch the most beautiful sunset!
LS: What are your thoughts on Montauk and the changes it has seen over the years?
JS: It’s a double-edge sword. Put bluntly, Montauk has become terribly overcrowded during the summer months. Locals are easily out-numbered, lines get longer, and personal space dwindles. But at the same time, businesses thrive. It is a short season – memorial day to labor day – and you kinda just have to suck it up and know that come tumbleweed Tuesday things will settle down some.
LS: If the crowds aren't going to go away, what kind of changes do you want to see happen in Montauk?
JS: Over time places are bound to change. Montauk is changing in many ways and although many locals may not like these changes, they are, in some ways, out of our control. I just hope that as visitors come and go, they keep Montauk clean, respect it, and all of the beauty that it has to offer, like the locals do.
LS: When did you start surfing?
JS: I started surfing when I was really little. My dad and brothers surfed so I started young. But, when I was about eight years old I decided to stop surfing. At ten, I started again and haven’t really stopped since.
LS: What do you ride [surfboard]?
JS: All of my boards right now were shaped here in Santa Barbara, where I am currently living and going to school. This guy in Goleta named Jeff shaped them. They’re Custom Fabriques and are pretty magical. I have a 9’0, a 9’2”, and a 9’6”.
LS: Do you remember that moment you fell in love with surfing? Or the best wave you’ve ever got? What did it feel like?
LS: Where do you enjoy being the most?
JS: Hmm.. I’d probably have to say the lineup back home. Although the waves aren’t always the best, or even existent, and the crowd in the summertime is pretty insane, it is my favorite spot. The fact that every time I paddle out, I see friends, may have some influence on my choice too!
LS: Oh, one more thing.. Favorite Billabong suit? Why?
JS: My favorite billabong suit is Cali Top and Vintage Shorts! This suit is beyond comfortable, doesn’t fill up with water when you go under, and it stays on! Not to mention it is so cute!!! I especially love surfing in warm water so, this suit is my perfect—it covers just enough!
Local Slider, Local perspective.