VIDEO: Surfer’s Airdrop of Death in Worst Wipeout from Historic New Jersey Swell

by Matt
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New Jersey went nuclear on December 18th, 2023.

A swell clocking in at around 16 feet and 14 seconds slammed the Garden State, sending what some surfers are calling the biggest ever in the state’s history.

Historic stuff. Big, scary stuff.

But with the good also comes the bad. It wasn’t all tubes and glory and high fives on the beach. Like, for instance, the utterly brutal airdrop of death – undoubtedly the worst wipeout from the entire swell – from 33-year-old Point Pleasant Beach native, Brendan Tighe.

“The wave stood up, I opened my eyes, and it had gotten too vertical to put my board down to face the wave so I had no choice but to leap,” Tighe told News 12 (via Patch).

He continued:

“My foot yanked up like this and my whole body went sideways. I landed sideways on the flat part of the water — we call it the flats — and then the lip came down, landed on my body.”

Tighe also called it:

“Wipeout from hell.”

As videographer Ryan Simalchik told local news:

“I think the general consensus on what the size of the waves were on Monday was in the 15-to-20-foot range, with some sets up to 25 feet.”

And here’s the description from his Numb Skulls edit surrounding the swell:

“Best ever day in Jersey?? Definitely in the conversation. One claim though we are totally comfortable throwing around was definitely the biggest surf I’ve ever seen here. Some of the heaviest too.

“While I definitely saw empty waves as big and perfect as you can ask for at a beach break it was definitely a challenge with the size of the waves, the outgoing tide all day and the 14 sec period. None the less, having the rare opportunity to experience energy like that so close to home made for a really memorable day. Stoked to get after with a good crew of young east coast chargers!”

Could there be another historic pulse this season with the supposedly super El Niño churning up the oceans? Keep an eye out. 


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