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A Surf Book You'll Love: "I Heard There Were No Waves in New Jersey"

As an author myself, I'm completely biased, but I love surf books and surf literature because it chronicles the sport we hold so dear. I especially enjoy surf books that tell stories that have never been told before — and that's what drew me to "I Heard There Were No Waves in New Jersey".


The book, written by authors Danny Dimauro and Johan Kugelberg and published by Rizzoli, chronicles the eclectic New Jersey surf scene, showcasing stories and imagery that you probably didn't know. But not just that; it's a book that's undoubtedly earned its place permanently in the bookshelf of surfing lore.


We chatted with Johan to hear more about the massive undertaking of creating the book — and what he learned about the New Jersey surf culture along the way. — Cash Lambert


Photo courtesy Rizzoli


ASM: What was the genesis/origin story of the book? How did it come to be?

 

Johan Kugelberg: Danny is a lifelong NJ surfer and an old friend of Mark. He is also my neighbor in Montauk.


I have edited a lot of books over the years, eight for Rizzoli, and the New Jersey surf narrative seemed such a delicious underdog story, especially with the scoop of Bunker Spreckles great aunt surfing a wave at Asbury Park in 1888!


When we got to see via Danny and Mark all of this exceptional unseen photography including the bona-fide masterpieces shot by Dan Mittelman as a teenager the book started to come together.


Photo courtesy Rizzoli


ASM: How were you able to compile so much historic imagery?

 

Johan Kugelberg: Through the glorious and kindly assistance of the NJ Surf Museum and the NJBSurfing Hall of Fame!


That and some rather obsessive research from Mike May who broke the story of Emma Spreckles at Asbury Park Pier to the world. 


Photo courtesy Rizzoli


ASM: What was the biggest challenge with this book?

 

Johan Kugelberg: To balance the picturesque with the sublime. Same as ever with illustrated books! 

Photo courtesy Rizzoli


ASM: What was it like to go through these archives and see how much surfing has evolved? 

 

Johan Kugelberg: The romanticism and surges of awe one feels for a time which seems gentler, less fragmented and with better menswear!


And that longboards are more aesthetically pleasing.


Photo courtesy Rizzoli


ASM: What's the one big thing you want readers to take away from the book and the New Jersey surf scene as a whole?

 

Johan Kugelberg: That surfing happened on the East Coast almost simultaneously as it happened on the West Coast. 


Photo courtesy Rizzoli


ASM: What's one thing you discovered by doing the book that was new to you?

 

Johan Kugelberg: Just how much surfing activity took place on the New Jersey shore from 1888 to 1920!

You can buy "I Heard There Were No Waves in New Jersey" by clicking here.

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